"Eileen Atkins is the only Dame of the English theater who hasn’t been invited to lunch with the Queen at Sandringham House. All the other Dames — Judi (Dench), Maggie (Smith), Diana (Rigg) and Joan (Plowright) — have had the pleasure of Her Majesty’s grilled Dover sole, but not Atkins. Curious, she asked a friend who looks after the Queen’s horses why that invitation has yet to arrive.
“He looked at me and said, ‘Bit of a loose cannon, you are, Eileen.’ ” She laughs. “Well, I suppose that’s true.”
Atkins, now 85 and giving one of her customary brilliant performances in Broadway’s “The Height of the Storm,” has always been candid. In 1971, she told Alfred Hitchcock he was a misogynist. The great director wanted her to appear in “Frenzy,” about a serial killer who rapes his victims and then strangles them with his tie. Atkins read the script and told her agent to say no, because she found it offensive. During rehearsals for a play, she got a call from Hitchcock."
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