You wouldn’t know it from her performances, but, at 79, Judi Dench’s eyesight is failing. The actress—nominated for seven Oscars throughout her career, including for her most recent film, Philomena—announced in 2012 that she suffers from age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Yet Dench has only now, in an extensive profile in The Hollywood Reporter, revealed the extent of her illness.
“I never want to make much of it, but it is difficult — very, very difficult,” Dench revealed to THR. “I can’t read anymore. I can’t paint like I used to. I try to watch movies, but it’s quite difficult. But these are all of the negatives. I don’t want to really think about all that. What I can do, I do. And I somehow get by.”
Dench also explained that she has others read her film scripts to her, as Steve Coogan did when they were making Philomena together, though she has long preferred it that way. “I think somebody coming around and telling you a story is irresistible.”
But there’s no need for Dench fans to worry. Though she’s no longer playing M, James Bond’s boss in the spy franchise, Dench says she has no plans to retire. “It’s the rudest word in my dictionary, ‘retire,’” she said. “And ‘old’ is another one. I don’t allow that in my house.”