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Shirley MacLaine Makes Her 'Downton Abbey' Debut (VIDEO)

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Shirley MacLaine makes her
Shirley MacLaine makes her "Downton Abbey" debut

When "Downton Abbey" returns for Season 3 in 2013, viewers will finally get to meet Lady Cora's (Elizabeth McGovern) mother, Martha Levinson, who is played by Oscar-winner Shirley MacLaine.

The American Film Institute recently honored MacLaine with its 40th "AFI Lifetime Achievement Award" (Sun., 9 p.m. ET on TV Land), during which stars paid tribute to the veteran actress.

Whetting fans' appetites for MacLaine's much-anticipated sparring with Maggie Smith, McGovern introduced a clip of the pair as their characters are reunited at the start of "Downton" Season 3.

Arriving at Downton, Martha came face-to-face with the redoubtable Violet, Dowager Countess of Grantham (Smith). "Oh dear," said Martha. "I'm afraid the war has made old women of us both."

When Violet asked Martha how she found Downton upon her return, she replied, "Much the same really. Probably too much the same, but then, I don’t want to cast a pall over all the happiness."

MacLaine told TV Guide that she loved working with old pal Maggie Smith. She teased that, "Our characters' relationship is probably not what you'd think ... Maggie and I are both so old, we have a lot of time on us to discuss."

"Downton Abbey" Season 3 premieres in January 2013 on PBS (check local listings).

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