Downton Abbey's Michelle Dockery: 5 Things You Don't Know

Entertainment Sep. 23, 2012 AT 5:45PM
Michelle Dockery attends a dinner following the Mulberry Autumn/Winter 2012 runway show during London Fashion Week. Michelle Dockery attends a dinner following the Mulberry Autumn/Winter 2012 runway show during London Fashion Week. Credit: Dave M. Benett/Getty Images

Lady Mary Crawley's got it all: a fancy, aristocratic upbringing, a handsome fiance, and a killer turn-of-the-century wardrobe. (We'd be jealous too, Edith!)

These days, things are going pretty well for the actress who plays her, too. With her 2012 Emmy nomination, Michelle Dockery has gotten some major, much-deserved recognition for her role in the surprise stateside hit, iTV's Downton Abbey.

Below, Us Weekly uncovers five need-to-know facts about the 30-year-old English actress, nominated in the "Lead Actress in a Drama Series" category.

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1. Unlike Lady Mary, she comes from humble beginnings

Dockery is the youngest of three daughters. Her father, Michael Dockery, was born in Athlone, Ireland, and started off as a truck driver. (He now works as a surveyor). She scrimped and saved in order to attend the prestigious Guildhall School of Music & Drama, working as a waitress, in a newspaper recruitment office, and as an assistant for the National Youth Theatre.

2. She's not quite as smooth as the haughty heiress she plays on TV

The fictional character she most identifies with? "Elaine from Seinfeld," she told Vanity Fair earlier this year.

3. Dockery is an accomplished jazz singer

The actress has performed several times at London's famed jazz club, Ronnie Scott. She's also collaborated musically with her costar (and on-screen mother) Elizabeth McGovern. Earlier this year, the pair announced their plans to release an album together.

4. Thanks to her character's antics, men tend to keep their distance

Dockery jokes that her now-infamous scene with a Downton guest who becomes her lover -- and then dies in the middle of sex -- has scared potential real-life suitors away. "Men are terrified of me now," she quipped to David Letterman last year.

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5. It took a long time for Downton's success to sink in

It wasn't until "I was in a café in New York waiting for my sister, and a couple next to me were anticipating the last episode," Dockery told Britain's T.V. Choice Magazine recently. "I was sitting there contentedly, listening, thinking, 'This is amazing.' Then when they got up to leave they recognized me and told me how much they loved the show. I remember texting Dan Stevens [Matthew Crawley]. To be on the other side of the world and have that effect was really something."

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