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She is the recipient of several accolades, including one Golden Globe, one BAFTA, and two Academy Award nominations.

Blethyn pursued an administrative career before enrolling in the Guildford School of Acting in her late 20s.

Her mother, Louisa Kathleen (née Supple; – 1992), was a housewife and former maid, who met Blethyn's father, William Charles Bottle (5 March 1894–c.

1984) in approximately 1922 while working for the same household in Broadstairs, Kent.

After winning the London Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Best Supporting Actress (for Steaming) in 1980, Blethyn made her screen debut, starring in the play Grown Ups as part of the BBC's Playhouse strand.

Directed by Mike Leigh, their first collaboration marked the start of a professional relationship which would later earn both of them huge acclaim.

Since 2011, she has played the title role of DCI Vera Stanhope in the British crime drama series Vera.

Born in Ramsgate, Kent, Blethyn was the youngest of nine children in a Roman Catholic, working-class family.

She made her big-screen debut with a small role in Nicolas Roeg's 1990 film adaptation of Roald Dahl's The Witches.

The family lived in poor circumstances at their maternal grandmother's home.

It was, however, not until 1944, after an engagement of twenty years and the births of eight children, that the couple wed and moved into a small rented house in Ramsgate.

She experienced a major career breakthrough with her leading role in Mike Leigh's 1996 drama Secrets & Lies, for which she received multiple awards, including Best Actress at Cannes, a BAFTA, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award nomination.

She earned her second Academy Award nomination two years later, for her performance in Little Voice (1998).

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