Downton Abbey Casts Shirley MacLaine as Lady Grantham's Mother

Maggie Smith’s acid-tongued Countess will no doubt have something delightfully bitchy to say about this: Oscar winner Shirley MacLaine is joining the cast of Downton Abbey as the mother of Elizabeth McGovern’s American-born Lady Grantham.

According to The Daily Beast, MacLaine will appear during the international phenom’s third season, which begins production next month (just as Season 2 winds down on PBS.)

“My late grandfather directed Shirley MacLaine in Gambit in 1966,” said executive producer Gareth Neame in a statement, “so it is a delight for me that she will be joining us on Downton Abbey.”