Born in Birmingham, England, Walters first became known as the occasional partner of comedienne Victoria Wood. Their series, Wood and Walters, appeared on television in 1982, and they have continued to perform together frequently over the years. One of Julie Walters' best-known roles is as "Mrs Overall" in Wood's spoof soap opera, Acorn Antiques.
Her first serious acting role on TV was in the classic Boys from the Blackstuff in 1980, and she broke into films with her sensational performance opposite Michael Caine in Educating Rita (1983), a role she had created on the West End stage.
Julie Walters has won numerous acting awards, and was made an OBE in 1999 for her services to the theatre. In 2001, she won a Laurence Olivier award for her performance in Arthur Miller's All My Sons. She often plays older women, and in 2002 she won the BAFTA Best Actress award for her performance as Paul Reiser's mother in My Beautiful Son.