Downey (right) with spouse Mark Burnett
6 May 1960 |
Derry, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
|Alma mater||Brighton College of Art
Drama Studio London
University of Santa Monica
|Children||Reilly Anspaugh (daughter), Cameron Burnett, and James Burnett (stepsons)|
Roma Downey (born 6 May 1960) is an Emmy-nominated actress and producer best known for her nine seasons as the tender-hearted angel on the hit CBS television show Touched by an Angel, alongside Della Reese for which Ms. Downey earned multiple Emmy and Golden Globe best actress nominations. Born in Derry, Northern Ireland, and classically trained in London, Downey has performed on stage with the famed Abbey Theatre and has appeared both on and off Broadway. She played the leading role of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis in the Emmy award winning miniseries for NBC, A Woman Named Jackie. Downey starred in and was also executive producer for seven television movies for the CBS network. Downey is an ambassador for Operation Smile.
As President of Lightworkers Media, a United Artists Media Group banner, Downey together with her husband Mark Burnett produced the Emmy-nominated mini series, "The Bible" for History channel which was watched by over 100 million people in the US alone. Downey and Burnett have also produced "Son of God" a feature film. Variety recognized Downey and Burnett as "Trailblazers" and listed Downey as one of Variety’s "100 Most Powerful Women in Hollywood." The Hollywood Reporter included the couple in their "Most Influential People of 2013" Downey won the 2014 "Movie Guide Grace Award" for her role as Mary. Downey was also honored on "Variety’s Women of Impact in 2014." Together, Downey and Burnett have recently produced "The Women of the Bible" for Lifetime, "The Dovekeepers" for CBS and "A.D.: The Bible Continues." Their upcoming series, "Answered Prayers” premieres on TLC on July 26. The couple is also producing the epic feature film "Ben-Hur", a reimagining of the classic story with MGM and Paramount, set to release in Spring 2016.
Downey was born and raised in Derry, Northern Ireland, in the Bogside district. She attended Thornhill College. Her mother, Maureen O'Reilly Downey, a homemaker and actress, died from a heart attack at the age of 48 when Downey was 10. Her father, Patrick "Paddy" Downey, was a school teacher by training but worked as a mortgage broker. Her father died when Downey was 20. Originally she planned to be a painter and earned a Bachelor of Arts at Brighton College of Art. She turned her attention to acting, however, and had a classical training attending Drama Studio London, where she performed in plays by Shakespeare, Shaw and Chekhov.
She joined the Abbey Players in Dublin and toured the United States in a production of The Playboy of the Western World. The production led to a nomination during the Broadway run for the Helen Hayes Best Actress Award in 1991. She also starred on Broadway in "The Circle" with Sir Rex Harrison and also at the Roundabout Theater and The Public Theater in New York City.
Touched By An Angel
Her role as Jacqueline Kennedy led to her most famous role, as the angel "Monica", on the CBS series Touched by an Angel, opposite singer-actress, Della Reese, which ran from 1994 to 2003.
She received one nomination and one win at the TV Guide awards for favorite actress and also won two Emmy Award nominations and two Golden Globe nominations. Downey has said the character Monica interested her because it was a strong female role, which were "few and far between" and for its spiritual aspects:
|“||It was pilot season of ‘94 and I was reading through endless junk scripts that were being sent my way. Typically the roles were to play his wife or his girlfriend — leading roles for women were few and far between. Suddenly a very unusual script turned up. "Now this is curious," I remember thinking. Because I'm a person of faith, the spiritual aspects got my attention. Also, the actress in me was delighted to read a show that had not one but two strong female roles - female angels. I was to audition for Monica and I very much liked Della Reese, who of course ended up playing Tess.||”|
Downey also produced and starred in TV movies including Borrowed Hearts and Second Honeymoon. During the run of Touched By An Angel, she recorded the spoken-word album Healing Angel and wrote the children's book Love Is A Family. She hosted It's a Miracle (TV series), on the Pax Network and appeared on stage in A Picasso at the Geffen Theatre in Los Angeles. She has hosted Saturday Night Live, was one of People magazine's most beautiful people and is a spokesperson for the volunteer group "Operation Smile". During her nine seasons on-air, she developed a chemistry with Reese and the two struck up a friendship that continued in the aftermath of the show's cancellation.
In 2009, she starred in the movie Come Dance at My Wedding alongside John Schneider. On July 16, 2011, She appeared with actress Marion Ross in the made for TV movie Keeping up with the Randalls, broadcast on the Hallmark Channel.
The Bible and beyond
On May 24, 2011, Downey and husband Mark Burnett announced they were producing a 10-hour docudrama for the History channel, The Bible, based on stories from the Bible scheduled to air in 2013. They began planning it in 2009 and lined up their own financing. The full production cost was $22 million USD. Downey and Burnett wanted to stay as true to the content in the Bible as possible so they put together a wide variety of pastors and academics to review the script and filming. For example, they worked with Pastors Joel Osteen and Rick Warren and academics such as Craig A. Evans and Mark Goodacre.
The Bible has been watched by over 100 million viewers in the US alone  The show has been the number one downloaded TV show in iTunes and ranked number 2 on Amazon's best sellers in movies and TV. An under 2½ hour re-cut of the series meant for a theatrical release was released on February 28, 2014 in the United States, under the title Son of God. The Bible was nominated for the 2013 Primetime Emmy Award, Outstanding Miniseries or Movie.'
It is Downey and Burnett's first such collaboration as producers. Downey is playing the role of Mary, the mother of Jesus in the later stages of his life. The Bible was filmed in 2012 in Morocco.
In July 2013, it was announced that Downey and Burnett will produce A.D., the sequel to The Bible. In December, 2013 NBC ordered A.D.. The series will cover the spread of Christianity after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
In December, 2013 CBS announced a new miniseries with Downey and her husband, Mark Burnett, The Dovekeepers based on the New York Times Bestseller by Alice Hoffman. The miniseries is set to air in 2015.
In September 2014, MGM acquired a 55% interest in One Three Media and Lightworkers Media. The two companies will be consolidated into a new film and television company, United Artists Media Group. Burnett will be UA's CEO and Downey will become president of Lightworkers Media.
Downey has been producing content for the big screen as well. Along with Burnett, she has produced Little Boy, which is set to be released in February 2015. An even bigger story is the re-telling of Ben-Hur, which is planned to be released in 2016. Jack Huston is slated to star.
She is married to television producer/entrepreneur Mark Burnett. She has three children, two step-sons James Burnett and Cameron Burnett and her daughter Reilly Marie Downey Anspaugh (born on June 3, 1996) from her previous marriage to director David Anspaugh. Reilly is named after her grandmother, Maureen O'Reilly Downey. On Thanksgiving Day 2006, Burnett proposed to Downey during a family vacation in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. They wed on 28 April 2007 in their Malibu home. Her Touched By An Angel co-star, Della Reese, officiated at the wedding.
On April 18, 2009, Downey and Burnett delivered the keynote address and accepted an honorary doctorate of law at Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management commencement ceremony.
In 1999 Downey signed with RCA Victor Records and recorded a CD called Healing Angel, released on September 14, 1999.
|US New Age|
||5||US sales: 42,901|
|1991||100 Lives of Black Jack Savage, TheThe 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage||Danielle St. Clair||Television movie|
|1992||Getting Up and Going Home||Kimberly Stevens||Television movie|
|1993||New Year||Suzanne Hartman||Television movie|
|1994||Hercules and the Amazon Women||Hippolyta||Television movie|
|1995||Last Word, TheThe Last Word||Roxy|
|1995||Child Is Missing, AA Child Is Missing||Samantha Hallihan||Television movie|
|1997||Borrowed Hearts||Kathleen Russell||Television movie|
|1998||Monday After the Miracle||Annie Sullivan||Television movie|
|1999||Secret Life, AA Secret Life||Cassie Whitman||Television movie|
|1999||Test of Love, TheThe Test of Love||Cassie Whitman||Television movie|
|2001||Second Honeymoon||Maggie Weston||Television movie|
|2001||The Sons of Mistletoe||Helen Radke||Television movie|
|2004||Survivors Club, TheThe Survivors Club||Jillian Hayes||Television movie|
|2008||At Jesus' Side||Petra (voice)|
|2009||Come Dance at My Wedding||Laura Williams||Television movie|
|2011||Keeping Up With The Randalls||Barb||Television movie|
|2014||Son of God||Virgin Mary|
|1988||One Life to Live||Lady Johanna Leighton||Unknown episodes|
|1991||Disney Presents The 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage||Danielle St. Clair||7 episodes|
|1991||Woman Named Jackie, AA Woman Named Jackie||Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis||Episode: "The Bouvier Years"|
|1994||Diagnosis: Murder||Heather Winslow||Episode: "Reunion with Murder"|
|1994–2003||Touched by an Angel||Monica||211 episodes
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama (1998–99)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (1997–98)
|1996–1998||Promised Land||Monica||3 episodes|
|2004||Division, TheThe Division||Reagan Gilancy||3 episodes|
|2013||The Bible||Mother Mary||3 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries
Awards and nominations
- Helen Hayes Award
- 1991: Nominated, "Best Actress" – The Playboy of the Western World
- Emmy Award
- 1997: Nominated, "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series" – Touched By an Angel
- 1998: Nominated, "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series" – Touched By an Angel
- Gemini Award
- 1998: Nominated, "Best TV Movie or Mini-Series" – Borrowed Hearts (shared w/co-stars)
- Golden Globe Award
- 1998: Nominated, "Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series – Drama" – Touched By an Angel
- 1999: Nominated, "Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series – Drama" – Touched By an Angel
- TV Guide Award
- 1999: Won, "Favorite Actress in a Drama" – Touched By an Angel
- 2000: Nominated, "Favorite Actress in a Drama" – Touched By an Angel
- Emmy Award
- 2013: Nominated, "Outstanding Miniseries or Movie" – "The Bible"
- Movieguide Award
- 2013: Won, "Grace Award" – "The Bible"
- Tracey, Olivia. An angel with her feet firmly on the ground, Irish Independent, January 7, 2001.
- "Roma Downey Biography (1960-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2014-08-11.
- "Awards for "A Woman Named Jackie" (1991)]". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2014-08-11.
- "Ability Magazine: Interview with Roma Downey - by Chet Cooper’’". Retrieved 2012-04-06.
- [dead link]
- "Roma Downey has lofty goals with 'Little Angels' –". Usatoday.com. Retrieved 2014-08-11.
- "CeeLo Green - Mary Did You Know (The Bible)". YouTube. 2012-12-11. Retrieved 2014-08-11.
- "Reality TV producer Mark Burnett tackles the Bible," New York Times, 24 May 2011.
- "Producers had big plans for 'The Bible' at its genesis" USA Today, 27 March 2013.
- Ellerton, Julie & Knowles Adkisson. Roma Downey reflects on ‘The Bible’, The Malibu Times, March 27, 2013.
- "About The Bible". Outreach.com. Retrieved 2014-08-11.
- Somers, Meredith (2014-05-27). "What would Jesus think? Smash-hit scripture-based quiz show doles out cash prizes". Washington Times. Retrieved 2014-08-11.
- Press Release. Roma Downey And Mark Burnett's #1 New Cable Series THE BIBLE Is Also A New York Times Best Seller, Dominating Amazon And Is #1 On iTunes And #1 On Twitter, March 25, 2013.
- Daly, Sean (2013-04-23). "From TV to silver screen: ‘Bible’ movie in the works | New York Post". Nypost.com. Retrieved 2014-08-11.
- Elber, Lynn (May 24, 2011). "'The Bible': History Channel, Mark Burnett Creating CGI 10-Hour Miniseries". The Huffington Post. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
- Lloyd, Matt. The Bible Series History Channel Reaches Nearly 70 Million in 3 Weeks, BREATHEcast News, March 21, 2013.
- "'The Bible' Sequel From Mark Burnett Bought By NBC". Deadline.com. 2013-07-01. Retrieved 2014-08-11.
- Andreeva, Nellie (2013-12-17). "NBC Sets 'The Bible' Sequel 'A.D.' For Spring 2015 Premiere". Deadline.com. Retrieved 2014-08-11.
- Goldberg, Lesley. "CBS Orders Mark Burnett Mini 'The Dovekeepers' for 2015". The Hollywood Reporter.
- "Mark Burnett, Roma Downey Board ‘Ben-Hur’ Remake". Variety. 2014-04-25. Retrieved 2014-08-11.
- Cotliar, Sharon (2006-11-27). "Mark Burnett and Roma Downey Engaged - Mark Burnett, Roma Downey". People.com. Retrieved 2014-08-11.
- Wang, Cynthia (2007-04-29). "Mark Burnett, Roma Downey Marry in Malibu - Weddings, Mark Burnett, Roma Downey". People.com. Retrieved 2014-08-11.
- "Roma Downey". Operation Smile. Retrieved June 8, 2011.
- "Hollywood Stars line up to support McGuinness". candidancy. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
- "Actress Roma Downey on religion, faith (2:19) - The Washington Post". The Washington Post.
- [dead link]
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Roma Downey.|
- Roma Downey at Irish Central
- Roma Downey at the Internet Movie Database
- Roma Downey on Facebook
- Roma Downey on Twitter