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Downton Abbey Lowdown: Which American Oscar Winner Is Joining the Cast?

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Downton Abbey
Downton Abbey Carnival Films

Downton Abbey is getting a new resident, and you can bet she'll bring more than enough dramatic baggage!

The hit British TV series about an aristocratic family circa World War I has already nabbed a bevy of awards, including an Emmy and a Golden Globe. No surprise, then, that it's now nabbed this Oscar-winning American actress for its next season.

And if there's one lady who knows a thing or two about stirring up highbrow histrionics, it's this grande dame.

So who is she?

MORE: Shirley MacLaine to Receive AFI Life Achievement Award

Shirley MacLaine Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images

It's Shirley MacLaine!

According to reports, the 77-year-old thesp will join the show's third season, which starts shooting next month. MacLaine will play the mother of American-born Lady Grantham, the character played by Elizabeth McGovern.

The six-time Oscar nominee won a Best Actress statuette in 1984 for her memorable turn in Terms of Endearment.

MORE: Best & Worst of the 2012 Golden Globe Awards

Over the last few years, however, she's kept a low profile, appearing in only a handful of films, including the 2008 TV movie Coco Chanel and the 2010 ensemble flick Valentine's Day.

Downton Abbey's producers are promising a wicked showdown between MacLaine's character and Maggie Smith's formidable Dowager Countess, and it's one we can't wait to see. After all, if Smith can whup some Snape butt as Professor McGonagall in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, then MacLaine better watch her back!

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