Maria Doyle Kennedy
Actress Maria Doyle Kennedy was born in Clontarf, Ireland - a suburb of Dublin - before moving with her family to Enniscorthy and then finally settling in Bray. She took to singing early on in life, but never considered it to be a career - let alone a stepping stone to acting - until she attended Trinity College, where Doyle Kennedy studied politics and economics. She developed friendships with musicians and soon began fronting bands, including an early incarnation of the acclaimed Irish rockers Hothouse Flowers, whom she left in the mid-1980s, prior to the band recording their first album. She then formed The Black Velvet Band with her husband, Kieran Kennedy, which released several forgettable folk-rock albums before fizzling out sometime in the mid-1990s. By that time, however, Doyle Kennedy had already started to act, making her film debut in Alan Parker's "The Commitments" (1991). In "Nothing Personal" (1995), she played the former wife of a Protestant paramilitant during Ireland's "Troubles" in 1975, who gets involved with an apolitical man (John Lynch) caught up in the aftermath of a pub bombing. She had small parts in "Moll Flanders" (1996), "The Matchmaker" (1997) and "The Break" (1997) before landing a meatier role as the wife of an up-and-coming mobster (Brendan Gleeson) in "The General" (1998). She next had a co-starring role in "Miss Julie" (1999), playing a cook whose fiancé (Peter Mullan) is taken in as the lover of the household's despondent heiress (Saffron Burrows). Doyle Kennedy finished out the millennium with "I Could Read the Sky" (1999) and "Gregory's Two Girls" (1999), then turned to television with a bit part as a shop assistant in the PBS production of Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist" (2000). She next landed on the UK (i.e. original) version of "Queer As Folk" (1999-2001), then starred in the Bravo miniseries, "Thursday the 12th" (2003), a dark murder mystery that spans one complete day and focuses on the murder of a member of the prominent Bannister family. Doyle Kennedy then portrayed Katherine of Aragon, first wife to King Henry VIII (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) who failed to give the monarch a male heir, in "The Tudors" (2007-10), Showtime's lavish 10-part series depicting a conflicted monarch prior to his split from the Catholic Church.