maggie smith birthday 2013 downton abbey 'Downton Abbey': Best Dowager Countess GIFs for Maggie Smith's birthdayMaggie Smith turns 79 years old on Saturday (Dec. 28) and in those years, she’s had a storied Hollywood career. She won the Best Actress Oscar in 1970 for “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” and took home the Best Supporting Actress Oscar nine years later for “California Suite” — both of which are worth a watch for the Smith fans out there.

More recently, she was a prickly (but hilarious) Mother Superior in the “Sister Act” movies and brought Professor Minerva McGonagall to life in the “Harry Potter” adaptations. But perhaps nothing has been more delicious to watch than Smith as Lady Violet, the Dowager Countess of Grantham on period drama “Downton Abbey.”

To salute Dame Maggie on her special day, here are Lady Violet’s best quotes — in GIF form. Happy birthday, Maggie Smith.

Season 1, episode 2
Isobel: What should we call each other?
Lady Violet: Well, we could always start with Mrs. Crawley and Lady Grantham.

downton-abbey-lady-violet-GIF-season-1-episode-2.gifSeason 1, episode 2
Lady Violet: Wh-What is a week-end?

downton-abbey-lady-violet-GIF-season-1-episode-2-2.gifSeason 1, episode 4
Matthew: The question is, what do I say to cousin Violet?
Robert: Don’t worry about that, I can handle her.
Lady Violet: Really? Well, if you can, you must have learned to very recently.

downton-abbey-lady-violet-GIF-season-1-episode-4.gifSeason 1, episode 5
Lady Violet: You are quite wonderful, the way you see room for improvement wherever you look. I never knew such reforming zeal.
Isobel: I take that as a compliment.
Lady Violet: I must have said it wrong.

downton-abbey-lady-violet-GIF-season-1-episode-5.gifSeason 1, episode 7
Lady Violet
: What have I done wrong now?
Isobel: Oh, please. Don’t pretend Mary’s sudden reluctance can’t be traced back to you.
Lady Violet: I shall pretend it. I told her to take him. Your
quarrel is with my daughter Rosamund, not me. So put that in your pipe
and smoke it.

downton-abbey-lady-violet-GIF-season-1-episode-7.gifSeason 2, episode 1
: Matthew’s driving down in Lavinia’s car. They won’t meet on the train.
Lady Violet: Oh, that’s a relief. I hate Greek drama, when everything happens off stage.

downton-abbey-lady-violet-GIF-season-2-episode-1.gifSeason 2, episode 1
Lady Violet: So, that’s Mary’s replacement. Well, I suppose looks aren’t everything.

downton-abbey-lady-violet-GIF-season-2-episode-1-2-2.gifSeason 2, episode 3
Lady Violet: I say good. If someone’s to manage things, let it be our creature.
Isobel: Why? Are you planning to divide his loyalties?
Lady Violet: … I wouldn’t say I was planning it.

downton-abbey-lady-violet-GIF-season-2-episode-3.gifSeason 2, episode 3
Lady Violet: She’s an obstacle to your happiness, dear, and must be removed. When it’s done, you can feel as sorry as you wish.

downton-abbey-lady-violet-GIF-season-2-episode-3-2.gifSeason 2, episode 5
Lady Violet
: Mr. Travers, can I remind you William Mason has served our family well? At the last, he saved the life, if not the health, of my son’s heir. Now he wishes, before he dies, to marry his sweetheart. You cannot imagine that we would allow you to prevent this happening, in case his widow claimed her dole. I have had an interest in this boy. I tried, and failed, to save him from conscription, but I will certainly attend his wedding. Is that an argument in its favor? Finally, I would point out your living is in Lord Grantham’s gift. Your house is on Lord Grantham’s land. And the very flowers in your church are from Lord Grantham’s garden. I hope it is not vulgar in me to suggest that you find some way to overcome your scruples.

downton-abbey-lady-violet-GIF-season-2-episode-5.gifSeason 2, episode 8
Lady Violet
: Don’t be defeatist, dear. It’s very middle class.

downton-abbey-lady-violet-GIF-season-2-episode-8.gifSeason 2, episode 9
Sir Richard
: I’m leaving in the morning, Lady Grantham. I doubt we’ll meet again.
Lady Violet: Do you promise?

downton-abbey-lady-violet-GIF-season-2-episode-9.gifSeason 3, episode 2
Lady Violet
: Do you think I might have a drink? Oh, I’m so sorry — I thought you were a waiter.

downton-abbey-lady-violet-GIF-season-3-episode-2.gifSeason 3, episode 3
Lady Violet
: Sybil, vulgarity is no substitute for wit.
Lady Sybil: Well, you started it.

downton-abbey-lady-violet-GIF-season-3-episode-3.gifSeason 3, episode 4
Lady Violet
: Edith dear, you’re a woman with a brain and reasonable ability. Stop whining and find something to do.

downton-abbey-lady-violet-GIF-season-3-episode-4.gifSeason 3, episode 6
Dr. Clarkson
: So you want me to lie to them and say there was no chance at all?
Lady Violet: “Lie” is so unmusical a word.

downton-abbey-lady-violet-GIF-season-3-episode-6.gifSeason 3, episode 7
: I’ll do it on one condition – no, two. First, Matthew must agree … Second, you will both admit it when you realize you were wrong.
Lady Violet: Oh, well, that is an easy caveat to accept, because I’m never wrong.

downton-abbey-lady-violet-GIF-season-3-episode-7.gifSeason 3, episode 8
Lady Violet
: My husband was a great traveler, so I’ve spent many happy evenings without understanding a word. The thing is to keep smiling. And never look as if you disapprove.

downton-abbey-lady-violet-GIF-season-3-episode-8.gifSeason 3, episode 9
Lady Violet
: We don’t always get our just desserts.

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."