Michelle Suzanne Dockery was born 15 December 1981 in Romford, East London. She is best known for her role as Lady Mary Crawley in the ITV drama series Downton Abbey.
(On Downton, her younger sisters are portrayed by Laura Carmichael as Lady Edith) and Jessica Findlay as Lady Sybil.)
A few of Michelle's notable stage credits include performances in Burnt by the Sun, Pygmalion, The Pillars of Society and Hamlet as Ophelia.
As a youth, Michelle attended acting classes at the Finch Stage School, then enrolled at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, graduating in 2004. 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. She made her professional debut in His Dark Materials at the Royal National Theatre in 2004.
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.
Dockery appeared in Burnt by the Sun at the National Theatre for which she received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She did win second prize at the Ian Charleson Awards for her performance as Eliza Doolittle in Peter Hall's production of Pygmalion first at the Theatre Royal, Bath, then at The Old Vic in 2008. She was nominated Best Newcomer at the Evening Standard Awards 2008.
In 2010, Dockery she played Ophelia in Hamlet at the Crucible Theatre. She made her television debut as Betty in Fingersmith in 2005.
In 2006, she starred as Susan Sto Helit in a two-part adaptation of Terry Pratchett's novel Hogfather. In 2008, Dockery played Kathryn in Channel 4's The Red Riding Trilogy and played a tormented rape victim 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, beginning in 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.
Michelle also starred with Charlotte Rampling in a two-part dramatisation of William Boyd's spy thriller Restless on BBC One in December 2012.
Dockery is also 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. Dockery cites her musical influences as Peggy Lee, Melody Gardot and Billie Holiday in her more melancholy moods.