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Downton Abbey's Shirley MacLaine Greets The Dowager Countess

Veteran actress Shirley MacLaine spent several weeks working with the talented cast on Downton Abbey this winter, playing Cora’s (Elizabeth McGovern) mother Martha Levinson. While Season 3 of the hit period drama is not expected to air on PBS in the States until early 2013, MacLaine’s tenure on the show has been highly anticipated, exacerbated by tweets from the celebrity herself.

The 78-year-old actress was honored last night with an AFI Life Achievement Award. The ceremony aired on TV Land and featured celebrities like Julia Roberts, Jack Black, and Downton’s Elizabeth McGovern all aboard to say eloquent things about MacLaine’s long and lustrous career. McGovern’s speech was particularly heartfelt, noting the wisdom the elder actress had imparted on her.

AFI Life Achievement Award

Get More: About Shirley MacLaine,Video,Airs June 24 9PM/8C

McGovern’s introduction leads to an actual clip from the upcoming season, which shows us the moment Martha greets the Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) at Downton. Unfortunately, the above video cuts off before McGovern introduces the clip, but some good sleuthing from TV Line unearthed the moment, below.

As you can see, the Dowager Countess may have met her match. Catch more when Downton Abbey premieres on PBS in 2013.