Michelle Dockery

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Michelle Dockery
Michelle Dockery 2013 2.jpg
Born Michelle Suzanne Dockery
(1981-12-15) 15 December 1981 (age 32)
Romford, London, UK
Occupation Actress
Years active 2004–present

Michelle Suzanne Dockery[1] (born 15 December 1981) is an English actress and singer. She is best known for her role as Lady Mary Crawley in the ITV drama series Downton Abbey for which she received Golden Globe and Emmy award nominations. For her role in the play Burnt by the Sun she earned a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Her other notable stage credits include Pygmalion, The Pillars of Society and Hamlet.

Early life[edit]

Michelle Suzanne Dockery was born on 15 December 1981 in Rush Green Hospital, Dagenham, London.[2] She has two elder sisters, Louise and Joanne. Her father, Michael Francis Dockery, was born at Athlone, Ireland,[3] and worked his way up from driving a van to becoming a surveyor;[4] her mother, Lorraine (née Witton) is from Stepney, East London. Dockery's maternal great-grandmother, Maud Malyon, was born in 1910 in Newham, East London, and was a domestic servant.[4] Malyon was 17 when she married Dockery's great-grandfather, grocer's assistant William Henry Oakman, 18, at West Ham Register Office.[4]

Dockery was educated first at the Chadwell Heath Foundation School (now the Chadwell Heath Academy) in Chadwell Heath, Essex. She was then trained at the Finch Stage School.[5] After her A Levels she enrolled at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, graduating in 2004.[6][7]

Acting career[edit]


Dockery was a member of the National Youth Theatre, studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama where she won the Gold Medal for drama and made her professional debut in His Dark Materials at the Royal National Theatre in 2004.[8] In 2006, she was nominated for the Ian Charleson Award for her performance as Dina Dorf in Pillars of the Community at the National Theatre.[9]

Dockery appeared in Burnt by the Sun at the National Theatre for which she received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.[10] She won second prize at the Ian Charleson Awards for her performance as Eliza Doolittle in Peter Hall's production of Pygmalion at the Theatre Royal, Bath, which toured the UK and transferred to The Old Vic in 2008,[11] and for the same production was nominated Best Newcomer at the Evening Standard Awards 2008.[12] In 2010, she played Ophelia in Hamlet at the Crucible Theatre alongside John Simm.[13]


Dockery made her television debut as Betty in Fingersmith in 2005.[14] In 2006, she starred as Susan Sto Helit in a two-part adaptation of Terry Pratchett's novel Hogfather.[15] In 2008, Dockery played Kathryn in Channel 4's The Red Riding Trilogy and played the guest lead of tormented rape victim Gemma Morrison in BBC's Waking the Dead. In 2009, she appeared in the two-part Cranford Christmas special for the BBC, and starred as the lead character in a modernised BBC adaptation of The Turn of the Screw.

Dockery came to public prominence in 2010 when she played Lady Mary Crawley in Julian Fellowes' series Downton Abbey, the first season of which was screened on ITV between September and November 2010. She was nominated for a Southbank Award in January for Best Breakthrough Performance in a TV drama. A second series of Downton Abbey was shown in 2011, followed by a special Christmas Day episode, with Dockery nominated for an Emmy Award in the category of Best Actress. The show's third series premiered on 16 September 2012 in the UK, and on 6 January 2013 in the US. A fourth series has been commissioned for broadcast and began filming in February 2013.[16]

She starred with Charlotte Rampling in a two-part dramatisation of William Boyd's spy thriller Restless on BBC One in December 2012.[17]


Dockery is a jazz singer. She sang at the 50th Anniversary of Ronnie Scott's Jazz club in London and has occasionally sung with Sadie and the Hotheads, a band formed by Elizabeth McGovern, who plays her mother in Downton Abbey.[18][6] Dockery cites her musical influences as Peggy Lee, Melody Gardot and Billie Holiday in her more melancholy moods.[6]


Film and television[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
2005 Fingersmith Betty TV series
2006 Hogfather Susan/Death of Rats TV movie
2007 Consent TV film
Dalziel and Pascoe Aimee Hobbs TV series (2 episodes)
2008 Poppy Shakespeare Dawn TV film
Heartbeat Sue Padgett TV series (1 episode: "Take Three Girls")
2009 Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1974 Kathryn Taylor TV film
Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1983 Kathryn Taylor TV film
The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler Ewa Rozenfeld TV film
Waking the Dead Gemma Morrison TV series (2 episodes)
Return to Cranford Erminia Whyte TV mini-series (2 episodes)
The Turn of the Screw Ann TV film
2010 Spoiler Goth Girl Short
Shades of Beige Jodie Short
Downton Abbey Lady Mary Crawley TV series (35 episodes: 2010–present)
2011 Hanna False Marissa
2012 Out of Time[19][20] Woman Short
Henry IV, Parts I and II Lady Percy TV film
Anna Karenina Princess Myagkaya
Restless Ruth Gilmartin TV miniseries
American Dad! Margaret Watkins TV series (voice)
2014 Non-Stop Nancy Hoffman


Year Title Role Venue
2004 His Dark Materials Jessie National Theatre
2005 Henry IV, Parts I & II Carrier National Theatre
The UN Inspector Female activist National Theatre
Pillars of the Community Dina National Theatre
2007 Dying for It Kleopatra Almeida Theatre
Pygmalion Eliza Doolittle UK tour
2008 Uncle Vanya Yelena UK tour
Pygmalion Eliza Doolittle Old Vic Theatre
2009 Burnt by the Sun Maroussia National Theatre
2010 Hamlet Ophelia Crucible Theatre, Sheffield

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2005 Ian Charleson Awards Best Actress Pillars of Community Nominated
2007 Ian Charleson Awards Best Actress Pygmalion Won
2008 Evening Standard Award Outstanding Newcomer Pygmalion Nominated
2010 Laurence Olivier Award Best Actress in a Supporting Role Burnt by the Sun Nominated
2011 Southbank Awards Best Breakthrough Performance in a TV drama Downton Abbey Nominated
Monte-Carlo Television Festival Outstanding Actress Downton Abbey Nominated
2012 Critics' Choice Television Award Best Drama Actress Downton Abbey Nominated
Glamour Awards Editor's Special Award N/A Won
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Downton Abbey Nominated
Satellite Awards Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama Downton Abbey Nominated
2013 Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Television Series Drama Downton Abbey Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series Downton Abbey Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Downton Abbey Won
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Downton Abbey Nominated


  1. ^ Births, Marriages & Deaths Index of England & Wales, 1916–2005.; at ancestry.com
  2. ^ Gore, Alex. The Sun (London) http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/features/5107098/Revealing-list-of-celebs-who-lie-about-their-age.html |url= missing title (help). 
  3. ^ "Downton Abbey: The Farce Factor". The Entertainment Network (RTÉ). 10 October 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c "Real secrets of Downton's girls" October 2011, Daily Mail
  5. ^ "Company Members – Michelle Dockery". National Theatre. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c "Michelle Dockery: What's an Essex girl doing at Downton Abbey?". Daily Mail (London). 9 September 2011. 
  7. ^ "Masterpiece: Downton Abbey". PBS. Retrieved 21 October 2011. 
  8. ^ Inverne, James (30 November 2004). "Previews for Second Part of His Dark Materials Begin Nov. 30". Playbill. Retrieved 11 January 2012. 
  9. ^ "Recent awards for drama graduates". Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Retrieved 1 October 2011. 
  10. ^ "Olivier awards nominations". guardian.co.uk (London: Guardian News and Media). 8 February 2010. Retrieved 1 October 2011. 
  11. ^ Theatre review: Pygmalion/Old Vic, London The Guardian, 17 May 2008
  12. ^ The 2008 ES Theatre Awards shortlist Evening Standard, 24 November 2008
  13. ^ First Night: Hamlet, Sheffield Crucible The Independent, 23 September 2010
  14. ^ "Michelle Dockery". IMDb. Retrieved 1 October 2011. 
  15. ^ O'Sullivan, Michael (7 March 20008). "'Hogfather': Low-Budget Hogwash". Washington Post. p. T 39. 
  16. ^ Halliday, Josh (3 November 2011). "Downton Abbey: ITV confirms third series". guardian.co.uk (London: Guardian News and Media). Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  17. ^ Michaels, Adrian (28 December 2012). "Restless, BBC One, review". www.dailytelegraph.co.uk (London). Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  18. ^ The Times, 6 November 2010
  19. ^ Rothman, Lily (15 March 2012). "TIME Style and Design: Futuristic London Fashion". TIME magazine. Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  20. ^ "TIME MAGAZINE | Out of Time". Josh Appignanesi. Retrieved 27 September 2012. 

External links[edit]