"Shirley MacLaine is a great actress and she's as American as the day is long," Masterpiece Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton said in a statement. "I can't wait to see her go toe-to-toe with Maggie Smith's Lady Violet."
Carnival Films' Managing Director Gareth Neame said: "My late grandfather (Ronald Neame) directed Shirley MacLaine in 'Gambit' in 1966 so it is a delight for me that she will be joining us on 'Downton Abbey.' ['Downton' creator] Julian [Fellowes] has written another brilliant character in Martha Levinson."
DISCUSS AND COMMENT ON THIS STORY Reality TV World now offers Facebook Comments on our stories. To post a comment, log into Facebook and then 'Add' your comment. To report spam or abuse, click the 'X' in the upper right corner of the comment box.