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'Downton Abbey' stars got their start in the '80s



downton_abbey.jpgDownton Abbey is to this decade what Dallas was in the '80s. Well, that might be a stretch. But much like in Dallas, a handful of the stars there got their start in acting decades earlier. With Downton Abbey, which returns to PBS on Sunday at 9, that decade was -- quite often -- the '80s.

MAGGIE SMITH (Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham): Don't even mention Harry Potter. Maggie, whose career dates back to the 1950s, starred in several '80s flicks, including A Room With a View and Clash of the Titans.

baby.jpgELIZABETH McGOVERN (Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham): Probably the biggest '80s face on the cast, McGovern starred in She's Having a Baby, Racing With The Moon, Once Upon a Time in America, Lovesick and Ordinary People.

PENELOPE WILTON (Isobel Crawley): Wilton took the serious route through the '80s, appearing as the wife of South African newspaper publisher Donald Woods (Kevin Kline) in Cry Freedom and as Sonia in The French Lieutenant's Woman.

dejavu.jpgJIM CARTER (Mr. Carson): Do you have the feeling you have met Jim Carter before? Of course, he played "Deja Vu" in Top Secret. He's also one of the Azurian men in Flash Gordon. (He'll save every one of us!)

[Last modified: Friday, January 4, 2013 2:47pm]


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