Leech at the London premiere of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, 2011.
18 May 1981
Killiney, County Dublin, Ireland
Allen Leech (born 18 May 1981), and known in his early career by his birth name Alan Leech, is an Irish stage, television and film actor. A native of Killiney, Leech made his professional acting debut with a small part in a 1998 production of A Streetcar Named Desire. He made his first major film appearance as Vincent Cusack in Cowboys & Angels and earned an Irish Film & Television Awards nomination in 2004 with his performance as Mo Chara in Man About Dog. Leech came to international attention as Marcus Agrippa on the HBO historical drama Rome and is best known for his role as Tom Branson on the costume drama Downton Abbey.
Early life and education
Leech was born in Killiney, County Dublin, Ireland, to David Leech, the CEO of a computer systems company, and Kay Leech, a housewife. He is the third of four children; he has an older brother Greg, an older sister Ali, and a younger brother Simon. He attended St Michael's College. He became interested in acting at 11 when he was given the part of the Cowardly Lion in a school production of The Wizard of Oz and found he loved being on stage. He recalled how he immediately decided to become an actor when Peter McDonald told him how acting is a profession on the last night of the production's run. Afterwards, drama became the "focal point" of his teenage years, apart from his family life, and drama and family support helped him through his school years. He became set on acting after winning a small role in a 1998 production of A Streetcar Named Desire at the Gate Theatre. He earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Master's Degree in Drama and Theatre Studies from Trinity College, Dublin, later noting that this was a "loophole" in his parents' stipulation that he earn a degree to fall back on if he failed to have success as an actor. He landed his first major roles in Cowboys & Angels and Man About Dog while at Trinity, and he has admitted that he did little schoolwork because he spent his time on auditions and acting.
Leech's first professional stage role was at the Gate in their production of A Streetcar Named Desire. "I was the gentleman caller to Frances McDormand's Blanche Dubois. The Coen brothers were walking backstage, and me a naive 16-year-old."
Leech's breakthrough film performance was in Cowboys and Angels, in which he played Vincent, a gay fashion student, followed by the 2004 cross country caper film Man About Dog, in which Leech plays Mo-Chara, one of three Belfast scallies who get in way above their heads.
Leech played the role of Shane Kirwan in the Ireland's RTÉ series Love Is the Drug, in which he received a Best Actor nomination from the Irish Film and Television Awards. He followed that up with the role of Willy in the television series Legend, which is the story of three different Irish families. He received a Best Supporting Actor nomination from Irish Film and Television Awards for his performance.
The film, Rewind, opened in Ireland on 25 March 2011.
In 2010, he appeared on the small screen in The Tudors as the doomed Francis Dereham, former lover of Catherine Howard. Leech also appears in ITV 2010s television series Downton Abbey as chauffeur Tom Branson, whose political ideologies clash with the upper class. He plays the role of officer Sam Leonard in television series Primeval in 2011 in series five. Leech also stars in the 2012 film adaptation The Sweeney.
|2000||Iníon an Fhiaclóra (English: The Dentist's Daughter)||Rory||Irish language short.
Credited as Alan Leech.
|2000||Yesterday's Children||Brian||TV film.
Credited as Alan Leech.
|2002||The Escapist||Policeman 1||Credited as Alan Leech.|
|2003||Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honor||British Officer||TV film.
Credited as Alan Leech.
|2003||Cowboys & Angels||Vincent Cusack||Credited as Alan Leech|
|2004||Battlefield Britain||TV series (1 episode: "A Clash Of Kings: The Battle Of The Boyne").
Credited as Alan Leech.
|2004||Man About Dog||Mo Chara|
|2004||Love Is the Drug||Shane Kirwen||TV series (4 episodes)|
|2006||Legend||Willy||TV series (6 episodes)|
|2007||Rome||Marcus Agrippa||TV series (8 episodes)|
|2007||Deep Breaths||Danny||Film short|
|2008||Heroes and Villains||Edeco||TV series documentary (1 episode: "Attila the Hun")|
|2008||Factory Farmed||Film short for the Sci-Fi-London 48hr Film Challenge|
|2009||From Time to Time||Fred Boggis|
|2009||Running Low||Bala Whedon||Web series for the RTÉ Storyland Competition (2 episodes)|
|2010||The Tudors||Francis Dereham||TV series (2 episodes: 4.04 "Natural Ally" & 4.05 "Bottom of the Pot")|
|2010–2014||Downton Abbey||Tom Branson||TV series (20 episodes)|
|2011||Primeval||Officer Sam Leonard||TV series (1 episode: 5.02)|
|2011||Black Mirror||Pike||TV series (1 episode: "The National Anthem")|
|2012||The Sweeney||Simon Ellis|
|2012||Assassin's Creed III||Thomas Hickey||Video game. Voice only.|
|2013||Hello Darkness||Mark Cooper|
|2014||The Imitation Game||John Cairncross|
|1998||A Streetcar Named Desire||Gentleman Caller||Gate Theatre||Performed as Alan Leech|
|1999||This Lime Tree Bower||Joe||New Theatre||Performed as Alan Leech|
|2000||The Queen and Peacock||Willie||Garter Lane Arts Centre||Performed as Alan Leech|
|2001||The Morning After Optimism||Edmund||Abbey Theatre||Performed as Alan Leech|
|2002||Da||Young Charlie||Abbey Theatre||Performed as Alan Leech|
|2008||Everybody Loves Sylvia||Harlequin||Project Arts Centre|
|2008||Zero Hour||Benny, Ensemble||Abbey Theatre|
|2010||Phaedra||Hippolytus||Project Arts Centre|
|2010||On Baile's Strand||Young Man||Abbey Theatre|
|2011||Ecstasy||Mick||Hampstead Theatre, Duchess Theatre|
|2004||The Panel||TV series (1 episode: "Episode #2.5")|
|2005||3rd Irish Film and Television Awards||TV documentary|
|2007||4th Irish Film and Television Awards||Presenter|
|2004||Irish Film & Television Awards||Best New Talent||Cowboys & Angels||Nominated|
|2005||Irish Film & Television Awards||Best Actor in Television||Love Is the Drug||Nominated|
|2007||Irish Film & Television Awards||Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Television||Legend||Nominated|
|2013||Irish Film & Television Awards||Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Television||Downton Abbey||Nominated|
|2013||Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series||Downton Abbey||Won|
|2015||Screen Actors Guild Award||Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series||Downton Abbey||Won|
- MacDonald, Marianne (22 July 2007). "Rome Sweet Rome". The Evening Standard – via Infotrac (subscription required). Retrieved 12 November 2012.
- Randall, Lee (15 September 2012). "Interview: Allen Leech on the return of Downton Abbey". The Scotsman. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
- Butler, Laura (3 November 2012). "'Downton' star Allen loves his role as rebellious Irishman". Irish Independent. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
- "Downton Abbey star Allen Leech denies being bullied as a child". The Sydney Morning Herald. 17 February 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
- Nolan, Emma (3 September 2006). "A cowboy and an angel wrapped up to make a legend". Irish Independent. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
- "Allen Leech". Troika Talent. Retrieved November 10, 2012.
- Presenter: George Hook (1 November 2012). "Allen Leech on the Thursday Interview". The Right Hook. Newstalk. http://media.newstalk.ie/newstalk/media_uploads/upload_mp3/011RH_Allen_Leech1.mp3.
- Matt Wolf: "A Streetcar Named Desire", [Variety.com], 18 May 1998
- Robert Koehler: "Cowboys & Angels", [Variety.com], 13 July 2004
- Rich Cline: "Man About Dog". ShadowsOnTheWall.co.UK, [19 Oct. 2004]
- Jamie Russell: "Man About Dog" (2004), [BBC.co.UK], 14 November 2004
- "HBO". Retrieved 5 January 2015.
- "Welcome to Twitter - Login or Sign up". Retrieved 5 January 2015.
- http://www.troikatalent.com/#/kat-gosling/allen-leech/ Allen Leech's Troika agency profile
- "50 Best Dressed Men in Britain 2015". GQ. 5 Jan 2015.
- "PROPER Charlie! Downton Abbey's Allen Leech cosies up to his stunning girlfriend at black tie bash!". evoke.ie. 8 October 2014.