Shirley MacLaine Joins Season 3 'Downton Abbey' Cast

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Shirley MacLaine attendS Variety's 1st Annual Power of Women Luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on September 24, 2009 -- WireImage
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Shirley MacLaine attendS Variety's 1st Annual Power of Women Luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on …

Shirley MacLaine is joining the cast of runaway PBS hit "Downton Abbey," ITV and Carnival Films confirmed on Monday.

The legendary actress and Oscar winner will play Martha Levinson, the American-born mother of Elizabeth McGovern's Lady Grantham.

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"My late grandfather directed Shirley MacLaine in 'Gambit' in 1966 so it is a delight for me that she will be joining us on 'Downton Abbey,'" Carnival Films' Managing Director Gareth Neame said in a statement. "Julian [Fellowes] has written another brilliant character in Martha Levinson, who will be a wonderful combatant for Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess and we are excited at the prospect of Shirley MacLaine playing her."

Season 2 is currently airing on PBS. Season 3 - which will feature Shirley - begins filming next month.

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