Imelda Mary Philomena Bernadette Staunton, OBE (born 9 January 1956) is an English actress. She is perhaps best known for her performances in the British comedy television series Up the Garden Path, the Harry Potter film series (in which she plays Professor Dolores Jane Umbridge) and Vera Drake. She drew critical acclaim as Vera Drake, earning her a Best Actress Oscar nomination and a number of wins including the BAFTA and Venice Film Festival Awards for best actress in a leading role.
Staunton was born in Archway, north London, the only child of Bridie (née McNicholas), a hairdresser, and Joseph Staunton, a road-worker and labourer. The family lived over Staunton's mother's hair dressing salon while Staunton’s father worked on the roads. Both of her parents were first-generation Catholic immigrants from County Mayo, Ireland, with her father coming from Ballyvary and her mother from Bohola. Staunton's mother was a musician who could not read music, but could master almost any tune by ear on the accordion or fiddle and had played in Irish showbands.
Staunton attended La Sainte Union Convent School, an all-girls Catholic school on the edge of Hampstead Heath, from years 11 to 17. Her talent was spotted by Jacqueline Stoker, her elocution teacher. Before long she was starring as Polly Peachum in a school production of The Beggar's Opera. Staunton studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.