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Sophie McShera

Sophie McShera

Born in 1985 in the West Yorkshire county borough of Bradford, England, Sophie McShera was part of a large Irish family headed by her financial advisor father and teacher mother. She spent her childhood in Bradford's Eccleshill Ward, where she attended St. Joseph's College before joining the Footsteps Theatre School, which launched her interest in acting. McShera's big break came soon after, when at the age of 12, she landed a role in a production of "The Goodbye Girl" at the London Palladium. A national tour of "Annie" preceded drama studies at Brunel University, where she also launched a boutique confectionary company, That Sweet Feeling. After graduation, McShera began her TV acting career with minor roles on the soap opera "Emmerdale" (ITV, 1972- ) and the apocalyptic drama "Survivors" (BBC One, 2008-2010). In 2009, she gained her first notable role on "Waterloo Road," a drama about the lives of students and teachers at a comprehensive school in Manchester. McShera played Ros McCain, a model student whose veneer of capability became unraveled when she began to explore her own sexuality.The following year, she was cast as scullery maid Daisy Mason on "Downtown Abbey." A timid girl from a large family, Daisy contended with not only her forceful superior, Crawley house cook Mrs. Patmore, but also her naiveté in regard to worldly matters. She became embroiled in a one-sided romance with footman Thomas before accepting the affections of William, another footman who believed her to be in love with him shortly before shipping off to fight in World War I. After being gravely wounded in combat, William asked Daisy to marry him shortly before succumbing to his injuries. She subsequently found comfort and support from William's kindly father, as well as an unlikely maternal figure in Mrs. Patmore, who helped her advance to kitchen cook. The worldwide success of "Downton Abbey" led not only to a 2013 Screen Actors Guild nomination for Best Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama, but also a plum role in Jez Butterworth's acclaimed play "Jerusalem" opposite its Tony-winning star, Mark Rylance, in a 2011 production in London's West End. By Paul Gaita
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