Kenzo Tribouillard/Getty Images
Laura Hertzfeld
January 30, 2012 AT 09:07 PM EST

Shirley MacLaine is set to join the next season of the popular Julian Fellowes-helmed PBS show Downton Abbey, Masterpiece on PBS and Carnival Films announced today. MacLaine, 77, will play Lady Grantham’s mother, a new character named Martha Levinson. Lady Grantham is played by Elizabeth McGovern.

“Shirley MacLaine is a great actress and she’s as American as the day is long,” Masterpiece executive producer Rebecca Eaton said in a statement. “I can’t wait to see her go toe-to-toe with Maggie Smith’s Lady Violet.”

The first season of Downton Abbey won six Primetime Emmy awards.

Read more:

Craig Ferguson spoils ‘Downton Abbey’?

‘Downton Abbey’ react: All’s fair in love and war

Photo Gallery: Elizabeth McGovern

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