Oscar winning actress Shirley MacLaine will be joining the hit British television series Downton Abbey in its third season. The series written by Julian Fellowes, follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants. Season one follows the residents of Downton Abbey as they learn of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, and later the dealings of World War I in season two. The third season, which is set in the 1920's will feature MacLaine as Lady Grantham's (Elizabeth McGovern) mother, Martha Levinson.

MacLaine was nominated for her first Academy Award for playing Ginny Moorhead in Some Came Running. She received three more nominations for her roles in The Apartment (1960), Irma La Douce (1963), and The Turning Point (1977). MacLaine finally took home an Oscar for Best Actress for the 1983 film Terms of Endearment.

The period drama is part of PBS's Masterpiece Classic. Shirley MacLaine is a great actress and she's as American as the day is long, Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton told PBS. I can't wait to see her go toe-to-toe with Maggie Smith's Lady Violet.

The first season of Downton Abbey won a Golden Globe Award on January 15 in the Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television Category. Downton Abbey's second season is currently airing in the US on Sundays on PBS, and concludes February 19th. According to the Hollywood Reporter, American ratings for season two are up nearly 30 percent. Shooting for the third season is scheduled to begin next month, with the season slated to air in the UK in September, and the US in early spring.