Michelle Dockery

Michelle Dockery

Born (1981-12-15) 15 December 1981
Rush Green, London, England, UK
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 2000–present
Known for Downton Abbey
Partner(s) John Dineen (2013–2015; his death)

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 (2010–2015), for which she has been nominated for three consecutive Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award. She made her professional stage debut in His Dark Materials in 2004. For her role as Eliza Doolittle in the 2007 London revival of Pygmalion, she was nominated for the Evening Standard Award.

For her role in the 2009 play Burnt by the Sun, she earned an Olivier Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Her other notable stage credits include Pillars of the Community (2005) and Hamlet (2010). She has also appeared in the films Hanna (2011), Anna Karenina (2012) and Non-Stop (2014).

Early life

Dockery was born at Rush Green Hospital in Rush Green, London,[2] to Lorraine (née Witton) and Michael Francis Dockery, a lorry driver and later an environmental analyst.[3]

She has two older sisters, Louise and Joanne. She was educated first at Chadwell Heath Academy, and later at the Finch Stage School.[4]

After her A Levels, she enrolled at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, where she was awarded the Gold Medal for Drama at her graduation in 2004.[5][6]



Dockery was a member of the National Youth Theatre. She made her professional debut in His Dark Materials at the Royal National Theatre in 2004.[7] 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.[8] She appeared in Burnt by the Sun at the National Theatre, for which she received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.[9]

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,[10] and for the same production was nominated Best Newcomer at the Evening Standard Awards 2008.[11]

In 2010, she played Ophelia in Hamlet at the Crucible Theatre alongside John Simm.[12]

Film and television

Dockery made her television debut as Betty in Fingersmith in 2005.[13] In 2006, she starred as Susan Sto Helit in a two-part adaptation of Terry Pratchett's novel Hogfather.[14] 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 with future Downton Abbey co-star Dan Stevens.

Dockery came to public prominence in 2010 when she played Lady Mary Crawley in Julian Fellowes' series Downton Abbey. Downton Abbey was filmed from February-August 2010-15. The series was broadcast on ITV September-November, with a special Christmas night episode for Series 2-6 in 2011-15. For her role in the series, she received three Emmy Award nominations and a Golden Globe nomination.

Her first big screen role was as False Marissa in Hanna (2011). In 2012, she appeared as Princess Myagkaya in the film adaptation of Anna Karenina and starred with Charlotte Rampling in a two-part dramatisation of William Boyd's spy thriller Restless on BBC One.[15] In January 2014, she appeared in the film Non-Stop.

In 2014, she was made Fellow of the Guildhall School in recognition of her achievements in television.[16] In 2014, Dockery was listed in The Sunday Times Britain's 500 Most Influential People, which is a compilation of the most significant individuals in the UK who have demonstrated outstanding qualities of influence, achievement and inspiration.[17][18]

In 2016 she starred in Good Behaviour, an American drama television series based on the novella series by Blake Crouch. Dockery played Letty Dobesh. Dockery also starred in the upcoming British drama film, The Sense of an Ending, based on the Booker-winning novel by Julian Barnes.


Dockery trained as a 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.[5][19] Dockery cites her musical influences as Peggy Lee, Melody Gardot and Billie Holiday in her more melancholy moods.[5]

Charity work

On World Humanitarian Day 2014, Oxfam announced Dockery as its first ever Humanitarian Ambassador.[20] Dockery is also a patron of Changing Faces[21] and supports a host of other charities.[22]

In 2014, along with 8 other A-list stars, Dockery was featured in an exclusive short film for Stand Up to Cancer, spreading the urgent message that we need to act now to accelerate new cancer treatments to UK patients and save more lives.[23]

Personal life

Dockery's Downton Abbey co-star, Irish actor Allen Leech introduced her to a friend, John Dineen, in May 2013.[24] They were first photographed in public together by paparazzi in August 2013 in Venice, Italy. There had been other public appearances of the couple, including Wimbledon, the US Open, around New York City and the Cartier Queen's Cup in 2014, where Dineen appeared thinner. Dockery herself did not speak of Dineen publicly, other than a magazine interview in 2014: "I have a wonderful man in my life from Ireland."

It was reported that the couple were engaged on Valentine's Day 2015.[25] She wore her engagement ring two days later during the first table script read of series six of Downton Abbey on 16 February. Someone on the set then leaked to the media that Dockery was showing her engagement ring to fellow cast mates and "was over the moon". Dockery's spokesman never made an announcement regarding this. Despite the engagement, the couple was not publicly photographed together at all in 2015.

In December 2015, Dockery and other castmates made several appearances on American talk shows to promote the final season of Downton. On 9 December, she suddenly left her U.S. media tour and was photographed by paparazzi arriving at a London airport on 10 December by herself. She skipped the 11 December appearance on The View where host Joy Behar, unaware that Dockery had flown to her fiancé's deathbed, asked an uncomfortable Allen Leech about "playing Cupid" and setting Dockery up with his friend, Dineen. Leech made no mention of Dineen's illness or grave condition. On 13 December 2015, Dineen died from a rare cancer, which had been diagnosed earlier in the year, and for which he had sought experimental treatment in Germany while Dockery was filming Downton Abbey. The type of cancer was not disclosed.

Dineen died in Marymount Hospice, Curraheen, County Cork, two days before Dockery's 34th birthday and four days before what would have been his 35th birthday, with Dockery and his family at his bedside. A private funeral was arranged on the day between Dockery and Dineen's birthdays. Dockery sang "The Folks that live on the Hill" and told the mourners that Dineen had been "my friend, my hero, my king, my everything".[26]



Year Title Role Notes
2010 Spoiler Goth Girl Short film
2010 Shades of Beige Jodie Short film
2011 Hanna False Marissa
2012 Out of Time Christine Short film[27][28]
2012 Anna Karenina Princess Myagkaya
2012 A Poem Is.. Narrator Voice
2012 Angelic Voices: The Choristers of Salisbury Cathedral Narrator Documentary
2014 Non-Stop Nancy Hoffman
2014 Tough Justice Connie Tough Short film
2015 Self/less Claire Hale
2015 Many Beautiful Things Voice of Lilias Trotter Documentary
2015 District Zero: What's Hidden Inside the Smartphone of a Refugee Narrator Documentary
2016 The Sense of an Ending Susie Webster Post production


Year Title Role Notes
2005 Fingersmith Betty TV series
2006 Hogfather Susan / Death of Rats Television film
2007 Consent Television film
2007 Dalziel and Pascoe Aimee Hobbs 2 episodes
2008 Heartbeat Sue Padgett Episode: "Take Three Girls"
2008 Poppy Shakespeare Dawn Television film
2009 Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1974 Kathryn Taylor Television film
2009 Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1983 Kathryn Taylor Television film
2009 The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler Ewa Rozenfeld Television film
2009 The Turn of the Screw Ann Television film
2009 Waking the Dead Gemma Morrison 2 episodes
2009 Return to Cranford Erminia Whyte 2 episodes
2010–2015 Downton Abbey Lady Mary Crawley All 6 seasons
2012 Restless Ruth Gilmartin Miniseries
2012 American Dad! Margaret Watkins Voice
1 episode
2012 Henry IV, Parts I and II Lady Kate Percy Television film
2013 Family Guy British Woman Voice
1 episode
2015 Japan: Earth's Enchanted Islands Narrator BBC2 Documentary Series
2016 Good Behavior Letty Raines All 10 episodes of Season 1
2017 Godless Alice Fletcher Post production


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

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2005 Ian Charleson Awards Best Actress Pillars of Community Nominated
2007 Ian Charleson Awards Best Performance by an Actor - 2nd Prize 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 Monte-Carlo Television Festival Outstanding Actress Drama Series Downton Abbey Nominated
2012 Monte-Carlo Television Festival Outstanding Actress Drama Series Downton Abbey Nominated
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
Huading Awards Best Global Actress Downton Abbey Won
Online Film and Television Association Awards Best Actress in a Drama Series Downton Abbey Nominated
2014 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Downton Abbey Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Downton Abbey Won
2015 Harper's Bazaar Women of the Year Awards Television Icon Award N/A Won
2015 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Downton Abbey Won


  1. Births, Marriages & Deaths Index of England & Wales, 1916–2005.; at ancestry.com
  2. Gore, Alex (31 August 2013). "Your number's up". The Sun. London, UK.
  3. "Real secrets of Downton's girls", DailyMail.co.uk, October 2011; accessed 7 April 2016.
  4. "Company Members – Michelle Dockery". National Theatre. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  5. 1 2 3 "Michelle Dockery: What's an Essex girl doing at Downton Abbey?". Daily Mail. London, UK. 9 September 2011.
  6. "Masterpiece: Downton Abbey". PBS. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  7. Inverne, James (30 November 2004). "Previews for Second Part of His Dark Materials Begin Nov. 30". Playbill. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
  8. "Recent awards for drama graduates". Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Archived from the original on 1 April 2012. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  9. "Olivier awards nominations". guardian.co.uk. London: Guardian News and Media. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  10. Dockery review in Pygmalion, Guardian.co.uk, 17 May 2008.
  11. The 2008 ES Theatre Awards shortlist, thisislondon.co.uk, 24 November 2008 Archived 13 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. First Night: Hamlet, Sheffield Crucible, independent.co.uk, 23 September 2010.
  13. "Michelle Dockery". IMDb. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
  14. O'Sullivan, Michael (7 March 2008). "'Hogfather': Low-Budget Hogwash". Washington Post. p. T 39.
  15. Michaels, Adrian (28 December 2012). "Restless, BBC One, review". dailytelegraph.co.uk. London, UK. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  16. , gsmd.ac.uk; accessed 6 July 2016.
  17. "Britain's 500 most influential". The Sunday Times. 26 January 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  18. Profile, debretts.com; accessed 6 July 2016.
  19. The Times, 6 November 2010
  20. Felicity Thistlethwaite. "From Downton to charity: Michelle Dockery Oxfam's first Humanitarian Ambassador". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  21. "Changing Faces". Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  22. "Michelle Dockery: Charity Work & Causes". Look to the Stars. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  23. "Stars Unite in Exclusive Stand Up to Cancer Film". Stand Up to Cancer UK. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  24. "The cast of 'Downton Abbey' on The View (Dec 11th, 2015)". YouTube. 11 December 2015.
  25. "Abbey ever after: Downton's Michelle Dockery 'engaged' to Irish PR beau John Dineen". evoke.ie. 15 February 2015.
  26. Hutch, Eleanore (15 December 2015). "Downton Abbey star Michelle Dockery left devastated by Irish fiance's death". Evoke.ie.
  27. Rothman, Lily (15 March 2012). "TIME Style and Design: Futuristic London Fashion". TIME magazine. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
  28. "Out of Time". Josh Appignanesi. Retrieved 27 September 2012.

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