As the actress turns 79, a look back at her best Downton Abbey quotes

By Erin Clements
December 28, 2013 12:10 PM
Nick Briggs / Carnival Films for Masterpiece/PBS / Courtesy: Everett Collection

Maggie Smith turns 79 Saturday. And while the inimitable actress’s career spans six decades, she’s currently beloved for her meme-worthy one-liners as the caustic Lady Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, on Downton Abbey.

What better way to celebrate Smith’s birthday than with a look back at some of her funniest zingers? There’s sure to be plenty more to come when Downton Abbey‘s fourth season premieres on PBS Jan. 5.

“What is a weekend?”

Violet: “I’m so looking forward to seeing your mother again. When I’m with her I’m reminded of the virtues of the English.”
Matthew: “Isn’t she American?”
Violet: “Exactly.”

Isobel: “What should we call each other?”
Violet: “Well, we could always start with Mrs. Crawley and Lady Grantham.”

“Why does every day involve a fight with an American?”

“Is this an instrument of communication or torture?”

“I don’t even know what that means, but it sounds almost as peculiar as you look.”

Isobel: “I take that as a compliment.”
Violet: “I must have said it wrong.”

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