Lily James

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Lily James
Born Lily Chloe Ninette Thomson
(1989-04-05) 5 April 1989 (age 25)
Esher, Surrey, England
Occupation Actress
Years active 2010–present

Lily Chloe Ninette Thomson (born 5 April 1989), better known by her stage name Lily James, is an English actress. She is best known for her role as Lady Rose MacClare in the period drama Downton Abbey.[1]

James began her professional acting career as Ethel Brown in the 2010 BBC production of Just William. In 2011 and 2012, she earned warm reviews in several London theatre productions. She began to appear in Hollywood films in 2012, with roles in Wrath of the Titans and Fast Girls, and was seen in further television roles. She has been cast to star in the title role of the 2015 Disney film Cinderella.

Early life[edit]

James was born in Esher, Surrey. She began her education at Arts Educational School in Tring and subsequently went on to study acting at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, graduating in 2010.[2]


In 2011, James played Taylor in Vernon God Little at the Young Vic Theatre in Tanya Ronder's stage adaptation of the novel Vernon God Little directed by Rufus Norris,[3] Nina in a modern adaptation of The Seagull at Southwark Playhouse, and Desdemona in Daniel Evans production of Othello at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, alongside Dominic West and Clarke Peters. Quentin Letts wrote in The Daily Mail: "We may have a new star actress on our hands. ... [S]he left drama school only last year, yet she practically sweeps all before her as Desdemona in this Othello. Poise, diction, allure – she has them all. ... Her character’s love affair with a much older husband is completely believable".[4] In 2012, James played the role of Katrina in Play House and Marijka in Definitely the Bahamas in a double bill written and directed by Martin Crimp at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond, London as part of the theatre's fortieth anniversary. Charles Spencer of The Telegraph wrote that "it is performed with a persuasive mixture of mischief and deeper feeling by Obi Abili and Lily James, the latter combining a mixture of neuroticism and glowing sexual allure that proves extraordinarily potent."[5]

Also in 2012, James played the role of Korrina in Warner Brothers' the Wrath of the Titans and starred in Fast Girls, directed by Noel Clarke, centered around a group of young female athletes competing in the World Championships. Her television credits include Ethel Brown in the 2010 BBC production of Richmal Crompton's Just William, Poppy in the fourth season of ITV's Secret Diary of a Call Girl (2011), and the rebellious Lady Rose in the last episode of series three, and in the fourth and fifth seasons of popular British series Downton Abbey.[6]

James has been cast as the title character in a live-action Disney film version of Cinderella.[7] The film is expected to be released on 13 March 2015. The movie poster features James as Cinderella, photographed by Annie Leibovitz, in the blue gown that she wears to the ball, and James's photograph in costume appears in the December issue of Vogue.[8][9]



Year Title Role Notes
2012 Chemistry Ines Short film
2012 Wrath of the Titans Korrina
2012 Broken Older Skunk
2012 Fast Girls Lisa Temple
2015 Cinderella Cinderella Post-production
2015 Untitled John Wells project Filming
2015 Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Filming


Year Title Role Notes
2010 Just William Ethel Brown 4 episodes
2011 Secret Diary of a Call Girl Poppy 8 episodes
2012–present Downton Abbey Lady Rose McClare 20 episodes


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]