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'Downton Abbey' star Maggie Smith: 'I've never watched the show'


Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess on "Downton Abbey" -- a role she's never watched herself play.

Dame Maggie Smith, who plays "Downton Abbey's" acerbic Lady Violet Crawley, aka the Dowager Countess, has never watched her own show.

In a rare interview airing Sunday on "60 Minutes," the 78-year-old actress stunned Steve Kroft with her response when he asked whether she was proud of her role.

"I haven't actually seen it," she admitted. "I don't sit down and watch it."

"Never?" asked the incredulous correspondent. 

"No, I haven't watched it," she replied.

Smith has won two Emmys and a Golden Globe for her portrayal of the cranky countess, beloved by fans for her signature zingers and secretly soft heart.

Even after 60 years in showbiz, she is surprisingly self-critical. "It's frustrating," she explained about watching her performances. "I always see things that I would like to do differently and think, 'Oh, why in the name of God did I do that?' "   

And like Lady Violet, Smith doesn't suffer fools gladly.

"I'm scary and I understand that totally," she said about her reputation as a perfectionist. "Old people are scary and I have to face it -- I am old and I am scary and I am very sorry about it, but I don't know what you do."

Although the British thespian has also won two Oscars and a Tony Award, she is most recognizable to audiences for her recent roles in "Downton Abbey" and the "Harry Potter" film franchise.

"I don't feel any different to the way I felt before, and I'm not quite sure what (being a star) means," she replied when Kroft asked about her new-found celebrity. 

"I am familiar to people now, which is what I was not before," she told Kroft.  "That is entirely due to the television set."

The season three finale of "Downton Abbey" airs Sunday night on PBS.

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