‘It has become impossible’: Actress Judi Dench reveals how deteriorating condition impacts her life

“James Bond” actress Dame Judi Dench, 88, has battled age-related macular degeneration for a decade, getting by with a photographic memory, but now the progressive medical condition has made it “impossible” for her to act because she can no longer read or memorize lines.

“It has become impossible,” she sadly commented on Friday’s episode of “The Graham Norton Show.”

“And because I have a photographic memory,” she noted, “I need to find a machine that not only teaches me my lines but also tells me where they appear on the page.”

Dench commented that she “used to find it very easy to learn lines and remember them. I could do the whole of ‘Twelfth Night’ right now.”

(Video Credit: Access Hollywood)

She said in a 2014 statement that she didn’t want her condition to be “overblown” in the media, and that “It’s something that I have learnt to cope with and adapt to – and it will not lead to blindness.”

The condition, however, does impact central vision and makes doing everyday tasks difficult or impossible because you can’t see clearly as Dench alluded to in her recent interview.

The actress’s sight deteriorated so much that by 2016 she could no longer travel alone.

“These days, I can’t really travel on my own, because I need someone to say, ‘Look out, there’s a step here!’” she said in a statement explaining her difficulty. “Or else I fall all over the place like a mad, drunk lady.”

Dench has been acting for most of her life. She began in 1957 at the historical Royal Court Theatre, where she played the role of Ophelia in “Hamlet.” She went on to work in theater on the UK’s prominent stages and then made her film debut in 1964, according to Fox News.

Since that time, Dench has acted in both films and on stage. She won an Academy Award in 1988 for her role in “Shakespeare in Love” as well as a Tony Award in 1999 for starring in the play “Amy’s View.”

Dench picked up an Oscar nomination in 2022 for her supporting performance in Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast.” She recently had a cameo in Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds’ Christmas musical comedy “Spirited” as well.

But she is best known and loved for her role in “James Bond” movies.

In 2021, The Guardian reported on a talk Dench gave benefiting the Vision Foundation revealing how she’s memorized scripts ever since she stopped being able to read due to the worsening of her sight.

“You find a way of just getting about and getting over the things that you find very difficult,” the actress asserted. “I’ve had to find another way of learning lines and things, which is having great friends of mine repeat them to me over and over and over again. So I have to learn through repetition, and I just hope that people won’t notice too much if all the lines are completely hopeless!”

Despite the condition, Dench has not given up on acting. Currently, she’s promoting her new movie “Allelujah” which is based on a 2018 Alan Bennett play that is set in a geriatric ward, according to People.

According to the Mayo Clinic Health System website, AMD is the most common cause of vision loss for adults over the age of 50 and specifically impacts the ability to read, recognize faces and view road signs.

Get the latest BPR news delivered free to your inbox daily. SIGN UP HERE


Please help us! If you are fed up with letting radical big tech execs, phony fact-checkers, tyrannical liberals and a lying mainstream media have unprecedented power over your news please consider making a donation to BPR to help us fight them. Now is the time. Truth has never been more critical!

Success! Thank you for donating. Please share BPR content to help combat the lies.


We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, profanity, vulgarity, doxing, or discourteous behavior. If a comment is spam, instead of replying to it please click the ∨ icon below and to the right of that comment. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain fruitful conversation.

PLEASE JOIN OUR NEW COMMENT SYSTEM! We love hearing from our readers and invite you to join us for feedback and great conversation. If you've commented with us before, we'll need you to re-input your email address for this. The public will not see it and we do not share it.

Latest Articles