Produced in London, England, on December 15, 1981, Michelle Dockery attended two drama schools before embarking upon her professional performing career in 2004. She made her TV debut in 2005 in a BBC miniseries. Her big break came in 2010 when she landed the section of Lady Mary Crawley on Downton Abbey.
She was raised in Romford and taught at the Chadwell Heath Foundation School before training in the Finch Stage School as well as the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. As a kid, she’d visit auditions, at one point trying out for The Sound of Music (but she was seemingly overlooked due to her cockney accent).
She made her television debut the next year as Betty in Fingersmith, a two-part BBC miniseries. In 2006, Dockery was nominated for the Ian Charleson Award for her performance in Pillars of the City, again at the Royal National Theatre.
Having a good level of theatre success under her belt, Dockery started popping up frequently in TV movies, like Hogfather (2006), Approval (2007) and Poppy Shakespeare (2008), and in TV series like Heartbeat (2008) and Waking the Dead (2009). Her big break came in the autumn of 2010, using the primary purpose of the snooty Lady Mary Crawley in the BBC show Downton Abbey.
The show was an immediate success and became an international smash, propelling Dockery to the limelight. For the series’ first season, she was nominated for a Southbank Award for The Best Breakthrough Performance in a TV drama.
Her TV success has enabled her to start the transition into big screen feature films, with characters in the assassin thriller Hanna (2011) as well as the 2012 version of Anna Karenina. She’s additionally a featured player in the 2013 thriller Non Stop, starring Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore.
When she’s not performing on screen or stage, Michelle Dockery is an accomplished vocalist, sometimes appearing with Downton Abbey costar Elizabeth McGovern’s group, Sadie and the Hotheads.
In 2013 Dockery started dating businessman John Dineen and after, the two became employed. The couple were introduced to every other by Downton costar Allen Leech.
In a heartbreaking turn of events, Dineen died of a rare cancer in December 2015. Dockery talked and sang at Dineen’s funeral, that was held in Ireland.