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Maggie Smith: 'Downton Abbey' Season 6 will be my last one

Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess Grantham, is

Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess Grantham, is shown in a scene from the second season on "Downton Abbey." Photo Credit: AP

Dame Maggie Smith says whether "Downton Abbey" continues after its upcoming sixth season, it will be her last on the hit British period drama.

"They say this is the last one, and I can't see how it could go on," Smith, 80, told London's Sunday Times. "I mean, I certainly can't keep going," she said of her character, the acerbic Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham. "To my knowledge, I must be 110 by now. We're into the late 1920s."

Smith has won two Supporting Actress Emmy Awards for her role on the series, which aired its fifth-season finale in the United States on Sunday night.

Despite such accolades in a long and fruitful career -- as well as an additional Emmy Award, two Academy Awards and being made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1990 -- "Downton Abbey" has propelled her to a level of fame she finds uncomfortable.

"One isn't safe after doing 'Downton,' " she told The Times. "What's sad is I've gone through my whole life without any of that. I could go round galleries and things on my own and I just can't do it now. If someone decides to get at you, you can't get away."

Smith -- whose work encompasses the Harry Potter movie franchise as well as such independent films as "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" and its upcoming sequel -- assured that she intends to keep acting. "When you're not working it's scary, and when you are working it's scary, because you don't know if you've got the energy to get through the day," she said. "But the bleakness of not doing it, and missing out on the friendships that you make, is too much to bear."

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