Where Gosford Park stars are now from racy naturist confession to cancer battles

With its star-studded cast and stacks of movie awards, Gosford Park (2001) was a murder mystery like no other.

The satirical black comedy film, directed by Robert Altman and written by Julian Fellowes, takes place in the early 20th century at Gosford Park – a fancy English country house – where a group of wealthy Brits gather for a shooting weekend.

Soon enough though, a chilling murder occurs after a lavish dinner party which wreaks havoc on the manor house and its guests, and the film becomes an Agatha Christie-style 'whodunnit'.

The film featured an absolutely stunning superstar cast of acting legends like Helen Mirren, Maggie Smith, Stephen Fry and Michael Gambon – which is outstanding on its own.

However, the murder mystery comedy also proved to be a huge critical success and was nominated for a whopping 61 awards after its release, winning 25 of them.

Some fans of Downton Abbey might not know that Gosford Park actually spawned Downton, as it was originally planned as a spin-off of Gosford Park by Fellowes – who wrote and created Downton.

To celebrate the classy British mystery film premiering on Netflix this month, the Daily Star have tracked down the original cast to see what they got up to after their time at Gosford Park.

Charles Dance – Raymond, Lord Stockbridge

Before playing Lord Stockbridge in Gosford Park, Lady Stockbridge's snobby husband and a war veteran, Charles Dance was already an established actor on the screen and stage – making him a film veteran too.

The classy 74-year old star has taken on a bunch of high-profile roles since the film, including the strict and dutiful Tywin Lannister in HBO's Game of Thrones (2011-2015).

He also played Lord Mountbatten in the third and fourth seasons of royal family drama The Crown (2019-2020) – where he bagged an Emmy nomination for the latter.

Dance also played Scottish codebreaker Alastair Denniston in The Imitation Game (2014) alongside Benedict Cumberbatch before playing the titular role in Victor Frankenstein (2015) alongside Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe.

If you're a fan of video games, you might have spotted Charles popping up in major fighting games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.

More recently, Charles is set to star in The King's Man, a period prequel to the popular Kingsman spy film series – where he will star as real-life British Army officer General Kitchener.

Maggie Smith – Contance, Countess of Trentham

There's no denying it, Maggie Smith is one of Britain's finest actresses of all time.

The 86-year-old talent has won countless awards during her extensive career – including two Oscars, a Tony Award, and a record four BAFTA Awards for Best Actress.

After playing Lady Sylvia's aunt, the Countess of Trentham, in Gosford Park in 2001, she received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

One of her most recognisable roles came when she played Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham in Downton – which of course was spawned from Gosford Park – making Maggie a link between the two projects.

After starring Gosford Park, she went on to play one of her most famous roles – Professor Minerva McGonagall in the globally successful Harry Potter film series – a franchise that spanned a decade.

During her time as the stern Hogwarts professor, Maggie starred alongside her Gosford Park co-star Michael Gambon, who went on to play Dumbledore in the films.

However, in 2007 the Sunday Telegraph disclosed that Smith had been diagnosed with breast cancer – being diagnosed with the cancer during filming for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

Being the absolute hero that she is, though, she managed to struggle through filming as she underwent chemotherapy, and in 2009 she reportedly made a full recovery.

Michael Gambon – Sir William McCordle

Irish actor Michael Gambon played the wealthy industrialist in the murder mystery, and he had already worked with Helen Mirren in The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (1989).

But he's known worldwide as Albus Dumbledore from the Harry Potter film series, starring alongside his Gosford co-star Maggie.

Gambon took on the role of Dumbledore when Richard Harris passed away, first appearing in the third film.

In an interview he confessed that when working as Dumbledore, he didn't have to play anyone other than himself, saying: "I just stick on a beard and play me, so it's no great feat.

"I never ease into a role—every part I play is just a variant of my own personality. I'm not really a character actor at all…"

Gambon also appeared in the critically acclaimed historical drama The King's Speech with stars like Helena Bonham Carter and Colin Firth.

Bob Balaban – Morris Weissman

Bob didn't just help produce Gosford Park but he also starred as American film director Morris Weissman in the flick.

In fact, he was one of the producers nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.

If you're a film buff, you'll know Bob has gone on to star in some seriously artsy films, because he's known for his roles in Wes Anderson films like The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) – which racked up nine Oscar nominations (winning four).

He starred in Wes Anderson's coming of age drama, Moonrise Kingdom (2012), and science fiction comedy, Isle of Dogs (2011), and has enjoyed various stints on the Broadway stage with plays like A Delicate Balance.

But he's also directed three feature films, as well as television episodes – and is a children's author too.

Kristin Scott Thomas – Lady Sylvia McCordle

Kristin Scott Thomas played Sir William's wife, and she's achieved a whopping back catalogue of film and theatre roles over the years.

Among her stream of BAFTA and Olivier award nominations, the mum-of-three won the Olivier for Best Actress in 2008 after her time in Gosford Park.

The 61-year-old star, who holds a French citizenship, has clearly never been short of work and she's starred in a whole host of films, including French ones such as The Valet (2006) and Tell No One (2007).

She even won the European Film Award for Best Actress in I've Loved You So Long (2008), a French-Canadian drama film.

Kristin isn't afraid to get her hands dirty though, because more recently she's starred in gritty films like World War Two biopic Darkest Hour (2017) as Winston Churchill's wife Clementine.

She also turned her hand to the action genre when she took on the role of Ana Miller in Tomb Raider (2018).

Eileen Atkins – Mrs Croft

Eileen played Mrs Croft, the cook, who worked downstairs at the household.

After Gosford Park, she became a three-time Olivier Award winner when she won Best Actress for Honour in 2004 – so she knows a thing or two about theatre.

Her film career since has been rather impressive too, because she's racked up acting credits in Evening (2005), Robin Hood (2010) and Magic in the Moonlight (2014).

The 87-year-old tied the knot with her second husband, Bill Shepherd, back in 1978.

However, he sadly passed away in June 2016, after nearly 40 years of the pair being married.

She's also had some grueling heath battles too because in 1995, Atkins was diagnosed with breast cancer.

But luckily, she has since made a recovery after undergoing treatment.

Derek Jacobi – Probert

Before Gosford Park, Derek Jacobi was already a star – notably for his work on Shakespeare productions like Hamlet, Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet.

The renowned BAFTA-winning actor and stage director was also a founder member of the Royal National Theatre – so he's cemented his place in entertainment history.

Despite being a stage actor by trade, Jacobi went on to star in huge films like Nanny McPhee (2005), The King's Speech (2010) and Murder on the Orient Express (2017).

In television, Jacobi played the recurring Time Lord, The Master, in BBC's beloved sci-fi series Doctor Who in 2007.

In 2019, he also took on the role of the real-life Edward VIII, the Duke of Windsor, in series 3 of The Crown.

In his personal life, Derek was able to register for a civil partnership with theatre director Richard Clifford, his partner of 30 years, four months after civil partnerships were introduced in the UK.

He also became the Grand Marshall of the 46th New York City Gay pride March in 2015 along with Gandalf star Ian McKellen.

Clive Owen – Robert Parks

After playing Sir William's valet, Probert, who was raised in an orphanage, Clive won critical acclaim for his performance in the 2004 romantic drama, Closer.

In 2005, he bagged a Golden Globe and a BAFTA award, and an Oscar nomination for the role.

The 56-year-old also racked up lead roles in films like crime flick Sin City (2005) alongside Friends star Jennifer Aniston, and dystopian thriller Children of Men (2006).

He landed his first ever Primetime Emmy Award nomination for his role as famous writer Ernest Hemingway, starring alongside Nicole Kidman who played journalist Martha Gellhorn, his wife.

More recently though, he appeared in a psychological romance horror called Lisey's Story – a miniseries based on horror writer Stephen King's novel of the same name.

Helen Mirren – Mrs Wilson

The legendary Helen Mirren played Mrs WIlson in Gosford Park, the housekeeper trying to keep it all together.

It's hard to put into words just how prolific the 76-year-old's acting career has been, but for starters, she is the first and only person to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting in both the US and the UK.

In 2006 she won a BAFTA film Award and an Oscar for her performance as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen, a Tony and Olivier Award for the same role in The Audience.

She also nabbed three BAFTA Awards for her performance in Prime Suspect, which ran from 1991 to 2006, and four Primetime Emmys. Not bad then, Helen.

In 2003, she was appointed a Dame (DBE) for her services to drama in the QUeen's 2003 Birthday Honours.

She was also awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2013, winning the BAFTA Fellowship for lifetime achievement.

Mirren the Radio Times that she was a naturist – which might surprise some fans – a person who enjoys a lifestyle of non-sexual social nudity.

She said: "I'm a naturist at heart. I love being on beaches where everyone is naked. Ugly people, beautiful people, old people, whatever. It's so unisexual and so liberating."

Emily Watson – Elsie, the head housemaid

Emily played Elsie, the head housemaid in Gosford.

She went on to star in Russian play called Uncle Vanya where she received a 2003 Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress.

She turned her talents to the horror genre when she starred in Red Dragon, the 2002 sequel to Silence of the Lambs with Anthony Hopkins.

She also appeared in Tim Burton's animated film Corpse Bride in 2005, before roles in acclaimed flicks like War Horse (2011) and The Theory of Everything (2014).

In 2019, she played nuclear physicist Ulana Khomyuk in Chernobyl which led to her receiving yet more award nominations.

She married her husband Jack Waters, whom she met at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1995.

The pair live in Greenwich, London, and share both a daughter born in 2005, and a son who they welcomed in 2009.

Stephen Fry – Inspector Thompson

Brainy legend Stephen played Inspector Thompson in the murder mystery.

The Cambridge-educated star has a back catalogue of acting roles which is truly massive – finding success on the stage, in film and television, and even as a quiz host panelist on QI.

Some of his most notable projects include The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004), Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011), and The Hobbit film series.

From 2003 to 2016, he became the longtime host of BBC quiz show QI – where he received six BAFTA nominations.

Harry Potter fans may also recognise his vocal talents as the narrator of the Harry Potter audiobooks.

However, he's had his fair share of health problems too and in 2018 he announced that he had undergone an operation to treat an aggressive form of prostate cancer – which removed the organ and 11 lymph nodes.

He explained that early intervention had saved his life from the cancer.

Fry married his partner, comedian Elliot Spencer, on 17 January 2015 in Norfolk.

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