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Roma Downey

Roma Downey

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: May 6, 1960 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Northern Ireland, , GB Profession: actor, producer, author

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

This dark-haired actress from war-torn Northern Ireland studied art and acting in England before coming to the US in 1986. Shortly after arriving, Downey made her off-Broadway debut in the environmental theater piece, "Tamara" (1987), and her TV debut in a recurring role on the ABC soap "One Life to Live". She played the ingenue in the 1989 Broadway revival of Somerset Maugham's "The Circle" in the eminent company of Rex Harrison, Glynis Johns and Stewart Granger. Downey received notice portraying Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis from age 16 to 60 in the 1991 NBC mini-series "A Woman Named Jackie." Although criticized by Kennedy loyalists, the miniseries did well in the ratings and Downey spent the next two years starring in a variety of TV-movies made for both cable and the broadcast networks, as well as in the syndicated "Hercules and the Amazon Women" (1994). Among Downey's more notable TV-movies were "Devlin" (Showtime, 1992) in which she portrayed a compassionate girlfriend, and "Getting Up and Going Home" (Lifetime, 1992) in which she was again the girlfriend; this time to a married man simultaneously involved with three women. Such non-virginal roles did not keep Downey from being cast in "Touched...

This dark-haired actress from war-torn Northern Ireland studied art and acting in England before coming to the US in 1986. Shortly after arriving, Downey made her off-Broadway debut in the environmental theater piece, "Tamara" (1987), and her TV debut in a recurring role on the ABC soap "One Life to Live". She played the ingenue in the 1989 Broadway revival of Somerset Maugham's "The Circle" in the eminent company of Rex Harrison, Glynis Johns and Stewart Granger. Downey received notice portraying Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis from age 16 to 60 in the 1991 NBC mini-series "A Woman Named Jackie." Although criticized by Kennedy loyalists, the miniseries did well in the ratings and Downey spent the next two years starring in a variety of TV-movies made for both cable and the broadcast networks, as well as in the syndicated "Hercules and the Amazon Women" (1994). Among Downey's more notable TV-movies were "Devlin" (Showtime, 1992) in which she portrayed a compassionate girlfriend, and "Getting Up and Going Home" (Lifetime, 1992) in which she was again the girlfriend; this time to a married man simultaneously involved with three women. Such non-virginal roles did not keep Downey from being cast in "Touched By an Angel," a 1994 CBS pilot. Downey portrayed Monica, an apprentice angel just promoted to caseworker, with Tess (Della Reese) as her advisor. While the pilot had dark elements, when CBS put the project on its fall 1994 schedule, the tenor of the series became more spiritually motivated. At first, "Touched By an Angel" was practically overlooked by critics and was near death on CBS' Wednesday night schedule. But the network moved the show behind "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" on Saturday nights in February 1995 and by the fall, it was winning its time period. The show was one of the few network series to openly affirm the existence of a deity, and to speak of God "having a plan" for the characters whose lives Downey's angel affected. Her lilting, yet not overbearing, Irish accent helped give the series a charming edge. The success of the series helped lift Downey's profile, and she starred in "The Last Word" (Showtime, 1995) and "A Child is Missing" (CBS, 1995).

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

3.
 Survivors Club, The (2004) Jillian Hayes
4.
 Hairy Tale (2003) Megan Dean
5.
 Second Honeymoon (2001) Maggie Weston
6.
 Sons of Mistletoe (2001) Helen Radke
8.
 Test of Love, The (1999) Cassie Whitman
9.
 Monday After the Miracle (1998) Annie Sullivan
10.
 Borrowed Hearts: A Holiday Romance (1997) Kathleen Russell
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Grew up as a member of Northern Ireland's Catholic minority in Derry
:
Left Northern Ireland at age 18 to attend art school in England
1986:
Moved to the U.S.with then-husband Leland Orser
1987:
Off-Broadway debut, "Tamara"
:
Appeared in off-Broadway productions of "Ghosts," "Love's Labour's Lost," and "Arms and the Man"
1988:
Landed small role as a British aristocrat on ABC soap "One Life to Live"
1989:
Made Broadway debut in "The Circle"
1991:
Appeared on short-lived NBC series "Disney Presents 'The Lives of Black Jack Savage'"
1991:
Starred as Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis in six-hour NBC miniseries "A Woman Named Jackie"
1994:
Co-starred as Tess, a novice spirit on CBS drama series "Touched By an Angel"
1998:
Hosted NBC's "Saturday Night Live"
1998:
Made producing debut with CBS TV movie "Monday After the Miracle"; also starred as Annie Sullivan
1999:
Released New Age album <i>Healing Angel</i>
2004:
Guest starred on "The Division" (Lifetime)
2013:
With husband Mark Burnett, co-executive produced miniseries "The Bible" (History Channel); also played Mary, mother of Christ
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Education

Brighton College: - 1984
London Drama Studio: - 1984

Notes

The name Roma is a contraction of her grandmothers' names, Rose and Mary.

Downey on portraying Jackie Kennedy Onassis: "I was in a whirlwind. It was a montage of costume fittings and horseback riding lessons. The whole experience was very exciting for me, especially because I was an Irish actress playing one of the most famous American women."

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
David Anspaugh. Director. Married on November 24, 1995; Downey filed for divorce in March 1998 while Anspaugh was undergoing treatment for depression; divorced.
companion:
Michael Nouri. Actor. Reportedly dating as of 2001.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Patrick Downey. Schoolmaster. Died of a heart attack c. 1984.
mother:
Maureen Downey. Actor. Died of a heart attack at age 48 when Downey was ten, c. 1973; acted in local theater productions.
brother:
Lawrence Downey. Older.
brother:
Pat Downey. Older.
brother:
John Downey. Catholic priest. Older.
daughter:
Reilly Marie Anspaugh. Born on June 3, 1996 in Utah.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Love Is a Family" ReganBooks

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