Michelle Dockery

Michelle Dockery

Born in Essex, England, Dockery grew up in Romford, East London, England, where she was raised by her father, Michael, and her mother, Lorraine. She worked in a variety of after-school and weekend jobs to pay for her education at the Guildhall School of Music, where she graduated in 2004. Dockery also studied for 14 months at London's National Theatre. Early in her career, she earned rave reviews for her stage performances, including a portrayal of Eliza Doolittle in Peter Hall's production of "Pygmalion" (2008). Since then, she was often cast as the a girl or privilege in projects like the made-for-TV drama "Cranford" (BBC, 2007) and in "The Turn of the Screw," where she played a sexually repressed governess who believes she is haunted by the ghosts of a mansion's former tenants. In 2006, Dockery starred in the two-part TV movie "Hogfather," based on Terry Pratchett's Discworld (1983) series of fantasy novels. She played Susan Death, a schoolteacher who reluctantly battles various malignant forces after inheriting her grandfather's supernatural powers. Meanwhile, Dockery had several opportunities to play against type, including in two of three parts to the "Red Riding Trilogy" (Channel 4, 2009), where she had a supporting roles as a policewoman helping to track down a serial killer.In 2011, Dockery appeared in the feature film "Hanna," about a 16-year-old girl (Saoirse Ronan) who was raised by her father (Eric Bana) to be the perfect assassin and is being tracked down by a ruthless C.I.A. agent (Cate Blanchett). In the film, Dockery played Blanchett's ill-fated body double, who has the misfortune of being on the losing end of an encounter with the teenaged assassin. While the actress had certainly made inroads in her native country, she did not achieve international stardom until 2010 as Lady Mary Crawley on Julian Fellowes' drama series "Downton Abbey," a critically acclaimed costume drama about the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants that became a surprise hit in the U.S. As the eldest daughter of the Earl and Countess of Grantham (Hugh Bonneville and Elizabeth McGovern), Dockery's Lady Mary was a cold, refined and sharp-tongued snob who would not even mourn nor acknowledge her cousin and fiancé's untimely death. Playing the high and mighty Lady Mary suited Dockery to a tee, yet as the series progressed, audiences saw her character soften and reveal some of the reasons behind her tough exterior. For her efforts, Dockery earned Emmy, SAG and Golden Globe award nominations for Best Actress in a Drama Series.As "Downton Abbey" continued, Dockery co-starred in "Hanna" director Joe Wright's adaptation of "Anna Karenina" (2012) and the Liam Neeson action thriller "Non-Stop" (2014). By Candy Cuenco