Judi Dench’s daughter, Finty Williams, shares her mother’s passion for acting
As a small child in William Shakespeare’s hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon, England, Finty was surrounded by show business. Dench was part of the Royal Shakespeare Company at the time, and she and Michael starred in a sitcom called A Fine Romance in the early 1980s.
Finty is a huge fan of the iconic Shakespeare in Love star. “I take huge inspiration from her,” she shared during an October 2020 interview with Matthew Rolland. “Huge. Vast.” The actress called her mother “extraordinary” and noted that trying to follow exactly in her footsteps would be “a ridiculous thing to do.”
Instead, she learned to make her own way in the industry and has found a lot of success doing so, scoring various roles in films, series, plays, audiobooks and more. She’s also collaborated with her mother a few times on projects like Angelina Ballerina and Ladies in Lavender.
So who is Judi Dench’s daughter? Here’s what to know about actress Finty Williams.
She grew up in Surrey, England
Tara Cressida “Finty” Williams grew up near Shakespeare’s hometown, Stratford-upon-Avon, where Dench was a part of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and where Dench’s mother and Michael’s parents lived.
The family moved to Surrey, England, when Finty was 12 years old. “If she wasn’t at home, I’d be in the theater with her,” Finty recalled of her mother to Time and Leisure in 2023. “Fortunately, she was never away for hugely long periods of time. And if she was away — my dad would be there. They took it in turns.”
After they moved to Surrey, Finty’s parents were able to work in London and still get home at a reasonable hour. She described the county as a “lovely, adventurous place” to the BBC.
Finty also told Time and Leisure that her mother still lived in Surrey. “I love the fact that it’s so close to London and yet it feels like you’re in the country,” she said. “It just feels like going home.”
She’s an actress
Like her parents, Finty is a talented actor and has a variety of films, TV series, plays and audiobooks on her résumé.
She discovered her love of acting at a young age. “I grew up with my parents both being in the theater all the time,” she said in an IAMPRO interview in 2023. “I spent a lot of time with them and got to know the people and the plays and the atmosphere … and the joy. And I loved it.”
Finty left school at one point after booking a children’s TV series — and that was the start of her successful decades long acting career. She’s known for her roles in movies like Gosford Park (2001) and Ladies in Lavender (2004), as well as TV shows like Born and Bred, Cranford and Angelina Ballerina.
Dench has said she understands that it wasn’t easy for her daughter to pursue a career in the same business as her famous parents. She described it as an “absolute nightmare” to BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. “I think that people compare and say things,” the Belfast star said. “I don’t think it’s kind when people do that at all, I think it makes it very, very difficult, and nor do I think there’s a necessity for it.”
She and Dench have worked together several times
The mother-daughter duo have joined acting forces on a number of occasions. They both voiced main characters in Angelina Ballerina (2001–2006), a children’s television series based on the books by Katharine Holabird. Finty voiced Angelina, a young mouse with a passion for ballet, and Dench voiced her ballet teacher, Miss Lilly.
Finty and Dench also worked together on the films Mrs. Brown (1997), Ladies in Lavender (2004) and The Importance of Being Earnest (2002). The pair also appeared in the 2015 play The Vote.
“Working with her is so nice because I get to see her,” Finty told the Evening Standard, noting that she didn’t get to spend a lot of time with Dench, who is always working.
She has a son
The Gosford Park star is the proud mother of her son Sam Williams.
“He is just a really great human being,” she told the Daily Mail in 2022. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sam moved in with Dench, and they enjoyed the extra time together — and made lots of TikTok videos.
“The relationship that they have is wonderful," Finty noted. "We are like Velcro, the three of us — if you can have such a thing as three-way Velcro."
Finty’s son often gets mistaken for one of his favorite artists, Ed Sheeran. During a 2021 interview with This Morning, the social media star recalled Sheeran’s fans swarming around him when he attended one of the singer’s concerts. Fortunately, security stepped in. “We met [Sheeran] a few days later, and he was like, ‘Oh, I saw you, you were being crowded round, so I sent out my security to you,’ ” Sam recalled.
On June 6, 2023, Finty posted a series of photos of her son to celebrate his 26th birthday. “HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY DARLING SAMMY!!!!” she wrote. “You are the absolute best. And I love you with all my heart and soul.”
Finty, Dench and Sam went viral on TikTok
When Sam moved in with Dench during the pandemic, he turned her into a TikTok star.
Although she described his process as “very strict” to This Morning, their hard work did pay off: In June 2020, Sam posted a video with his mother and his grandmother dancing to Jawsh 685’s “Laxed (Siren Beat).”
The clip, filmed in celebration of their family reuniting, garnered more than a million views on the app. “When Bojo lets you film a family TikTok,” Sam wrote, referencing the pandemic stay-at-home order from then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Sam has more than 250,000 followers on the platform and recruited his mother for another dance video and a comedic video shortly after the first success. He’s also played a few games of “Guess the Lyric” with his grandmother, and in November 2022, the trio reprised their “Laxed (Siren Beat)” dance with the BBC’s Louis Theroux.
She’s dating an actor
Finty met her fellow actor boyfriend, Joseph Timms, in 2010, when they both performed in Nell Leyshon’s play Bedlam, according to The Times. Their professional relationship quickly turned romantic, and the two have been together ever since.
Finty told the outlet that she “won the lottery” with Timms, who has appeared in a variety of plays and television shows, including the BBC’s Atlantis.
Over the years, she’s shared bits and pieces of their romance on Instagram. On Aug. 28, 2022, Finty posted a photo from a Backyard Cinema performance of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet. “Perfectly perfect date night with Joseph Timms ❤️,” she wrote.
Timms appears to have a close relationship with Sam, too. “These two… oh my heart,” the actress captioned photos of the duo in September 2020.
She loves tattoos and convinced Dench to get one
Even though they can be tricky to deal with in her profession, Finty has 11 tattoos. “They’re really hard to cover but you’ve got to before you go on stage,” she told Time and Leisure. “But I wouldn’t get rid of any of them. I love them.” She noted that her favorite is an acorn she has tattooed on her left wrist. “My son’s middle name is Oak,” she explained.
Finty also has some body art to honor Timms. During her interview with the Evening Standard, she revealed that she got the word “havoc” tattooed on her wrist back when she met her boyfriend.
The actress has even shared her love of tattoos with Dench. On her mother’s 81st birthday, Finty took her to get a tattoo. “She has ‘carpe diem’ on her wrist,” Finty told the outlet. “The tattooist asked if she was absolutely sure and she said, ‘Just do it.’ ”
In April 2020, Finty shared a photo of her newest tattoo, a sound wave, and wrote, “I have 11 tattoos and they are all extremely special as they all mean different [things].”
She and Dench are fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race
When they’re not working in film and television themselves, Finty and Dench both love to watch the drag competition series RuPaul’s Drag Race. Finty told the Evening Standard that she got her mother into the show, and now, Dench thinks it’s “wonderful.”
The duo even made a cameo on the season 10 finale in 2018, per Billboard.
She looks up to her mother
Finty has a close relationship with Dench and has always admired her talent. As she forges her own path in the industry, she hopes to make her mother proud along the way. “I would love to have as much talent as she has probably in her little toe,” she told Matthew Rolland. “I have to just be satisfied and hope that what I do is okay.”
Outside of their professional lives, Finty and her mother have a special bond — in fact, Finty, Dench and Sam call one another about six times a day. “She has an amazing sense of humor,” Finty said about Dench. “She just makes us laugh all the time.”
For Dench’s 88th birthday, Finty posted a tribute alongside a photo of her mother with a lemur on her shoulder. “It’s this beauties birthday today. (Ma not the lemur),” she wrote. “Happy Birthday to my darling Mama.”
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