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Roma Downey
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Roma Downey (born 6 May 1960) is an Irish actress and Emmy nominated producer
from Northern Ireland. She played kind-hearted angel Monica on the American TV series
Touched by an Angel. Downey received two Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for
her role on the show. Downey is an ambassador for Operation Smile. An author of three
books for children and producer of the children's series, Little Angels. She is currently
the executive producer of the television miniseries The Bible on the History channel. She
also plays the role of Mother Mary in the series. The Bible shattered sales records in its
first week of home video release, selling 525,000 units to become the top-selling TV
miniseries of all time.[1] Downey and her husband Mark Burnett have produced a movie
version of the series, titled Son of God, which will be released on February 28, 2014 and
is distributed by "20th Century Fox".[2] In December, 2013 CBS announced a new
miniseries with Downey and her husband, Mark Burnett, "The Dovekeepers" based on
the New York Times Bestseller by Alice Hoffman. The miniseries will air in 2015 [3]
According to the Belfast Telegraph, in 2013 she had a net worth of £220 million, making
her one of the richest people in the Republic and Northern Ireland.[4]
Contents [hide]
1 Early life
2 Career
2.1 Touched By An Angel
2.2 The Bible
3 Personal life
4 Music career
4.1 Discography
5 Filmography
6 Awards and nominations
7 References
8 External links
Early life
Roma Downey
6 May 1960 (age 53)
Derry, County Londonderry,
Northern Ireland
Alma mater Brighton College of Art
Drama Studio London
University of Santa Monica
Occupation Actress, producer
Years active 1988–present
Roman Catholic
Spouse(s) Mark Burnett (m. 2007)
David Anspaugh (1995-1998;
divorced); 1 child
Leland Orser (1987-1989;
Reilly Marie Downey Anspaugh
James and Cameron Burnett
Roma Downey on Facebook
Roma Downey on Twitter
Downey was born and raised in Derry, Northern Ireland,[5] in the Bogside district.[5] She attended Thornhill College. Her mother,
Maureen O'Reilly Downey, died from a heart attack at the age of 48 when Downey was 10.[5] Her father, Paddy Downey, was a school
teacher by training but worked as a mortgage broker.[5] Her father died when Downey was 20.[5] Originally she planned to be a painter
and earned a Bachelor of Arts at Brighton College of Art.[5] She turned her attention to acting, however, and had a classical training
attending Drama Studio London, where she performed in plays by Shakespeare, Shaw and Chekhov.[5]
She joined the Abbey Players in Dublin and toured the United States in a production of The Playboy of the Western World. The
production led to a nomination during the Broadway run for the Helen Hayes Best Actress Award in 1991. She also starred on
Broadway in "The Circle" with Sir Rex Harrison and also at the Roundabout Theater and The Public Theater in New York City.
Downey played the role of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis in the 1991 U.S. TV miniseries A Woman Named Jackie which won
the Emmy award for Outstanding Miniseries in 1992.[6]
Touched By An Angel [edit]
Her role as Jacqueline Kennedy led to her most famous role, as the angel "Monica", on the CBS series Touched by an Angel,
opposite Della Reese, which ran from 1994 to 2003.
She earned one nomination and one win at the TV Guide awards for favorite actress and also garnered two Emmy Award nominations
and two Golden Globe nominations. Downey has said the character Monica interested her because it was a strong female role, which
were "few and far between" and for its spiritual aspects:
It was pilot season of ‘94 and I was reading through endless junk scripts that were being sent my way. Typically the
roles were to play his wife or his girlfriend — leading roles for women were few and far between. Suddenly a very
unusual script turned up. "Now this is curious," I remember thinking. Because I'm a person of faith, the spiritual
aspects got my attention. Also, the actress in me was delighted to read a show that had not one but two strong
female roles - female angels. I was to audition for Monica and I very much liked Della Reese, who of course ended
up playing Tess.[7]
Downey also produced and starred in TV movies including Borrowed Hearts and Second Honeymoon. During the run of Touched By
An Angel, she recorded the spoken-word album Healing Angel and wrote the children's book Love Is A Family. She hosted It's a
Miracle (TV series), on the Pax Network and appeared on stage in A Picasso at the Geffen Theatre in Los Angeles. She has hosted
Saturday Night Live, was one of People magazine's most beautiful people and is a spokesperson for the volunteer group "Operation
converted by
Smile". During her nine seasons on-air, she developed a chemistry with Reese and the two struck up a friendship that continued in
the aftermath of the show's cancellation.
In 2009, she starred in the movie Come Dance at My Wedding alongside John Schneider. On July 16, 2011, She appeared with
actress Marion Ross in the made for TV movie Keeping up with the Randalls, broadcast on the Hallmark Channel.[8]
Downey is the executive producer of the animated video series, Little Angels, which was released on DVD with Twentieth Century Fox
Home Entertainment on February 14, 2012.[9]
She released a YouTube video with Cee-Lo Green, “Mary Did You Know,” that went viral with almost 3 million views.[10]
The Bible [edit]
On May 24, 2011, Downey and husband Mark Burnett announced they were producing a 10-hour docudrama for the History channel,
The Bible, based on stories from the Bible scheduled to air in 2013.[11] They began planning it in 2009 and lined up their own
financing.[12] The full production cost was $22 million USD.[13] Downey and Burnett wanted to stay as true to the content in the Bible
as possible so they put together a wide variety of pastors and academics to review the script and filming. For example, they worked
with Pastors Joel Osteen and Rick Warren and academics such as Craig A. Evans and Mark Goodacre.[14]
As of March 25, 2013, The Bible series has been watched by over 80 million viewers during its first three installments.[15] The show
has been the number one downloaded TV show in iTunes and ranked number 2 on Amazon's best sellers in movies and TV.[15] The
Bible will have a theatrical release containing “recut scenes and extra stuff” from the record breaking television event and could be
released as early as this fall.[16] The Bible has been nominated for the 2013 Primetime Emmy Award, Outstanding Miniseries or
It is Downey and Burnett's first such collaboration as producers. Downey is playing the role of Mother Mary, the mother of Jesus in
the later stages of his life.[15] The Bible was filmed in 2012 in Morocco.[17][18]
In December, 2013 NBC ordered "A.D." the follow up series to "The Bible." The series will cover the spread of Christianity after the
death of Jesus Christ. [19]
Personal life
She is married to television producer/entrepreneur Mark Burnett. Her only child, Reilly Marie Downey Anspaugh, is from her previous
marriage to director David Anspaugh. Reilly is named after her grandmother, Maureen O'Reilly Downey.[5] On Thanksgiving Day 2006,
Burnett proposed to Downey during a family vacation in Zihuatanejo, Mexico.[20] They wed on 28 April 2007 in their Malibu home.[21]
Her Touched By An Angel co-star, Della Reese, officiated at the wedding.
Downey is a "Smile Ambassador" for the non-profit organization Operation Smile which provides surgeries for children around the
world who were born with severe cleft lip and palate.[22]
She supported the unsuccessful candidacy of Martin McGuinness for President of Ireland in 2011.[23]
Downey was raised as, and remains, a Roman Catholic.[24]
On April 18, 2009, Downey and Burnett delivered the keynote address and accepted an honorary doctorate of law at Pepperdine
University's Graziadio School of Business and Management commencement ceremony.
Downey graduated from the University of Santa Monica with a master's degree in spiritual psychology.[25]
Music career
In 1999 Downey signed with RCA Victor Records and recorded a CD called Healing Angel, released on September 14, 1999.
Discography [edit]
Album Details
(sales threshold)
Healing Angel
Released: September 14, 1999
US sales: 42,901
Label: RCA
The Last Word Roxy
Funky Monkey Megan
One Life to Live
Lady Johanna Leighton
The 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage
Disney Presents The 100 Lives of Black Jack
Danielle St. Clair
A Woman Named Jackie
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
TV series
TV movie
7 episodes
TV miniseries
converted by
Getting Up and Going Home
Kimberly Stevens
TV movie
New Year
Diagnosis: Murder
Hercules and the Amazon Women
Suzanne Hartman
Heather Winslow
TV movie
TV movie
Episode: "Reunion with Murder"
TV movie
Touched by an Angel
212 episodes
A Child Is Missing
Samantha Hallihan
TV movie
Promised Land
Borrowed Hearts
Kathleen Russell
Promised Land
Monday After the Miracle
A Secret Life
Annie Sullivan
Cassie Whitman
Episode: "Homecoming"
TV movie
Episode: "Vengeance Is Mine:
Part 2"
TV movie
TV movie
The Test of Love
Second Honeymoon
The Sons of Mistletoe
The Survivors Club
The Division
Cassie Whitman
Maggie Weston
Helen Radke
Jillian Hayes
Reagan Gilancy
TV movie
TV movie
TV movie
TV movie
3 episodes
At Jesus' Side
Come Dance at My Wedding
Keeping Up With The Randalls
TV movie
TV movie
The Bible
Petra (voice)
Laura Williams
Mother Mary, as well as co-creator and
Awards and nominations
10 Episodes
Helen Hayes Award
1991: Nominated, "Best Actress" — The Playboy of the Western World
Emmy Award
1997: Nominated, "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series" — Touched By an Angel
1998: Nominated, "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series" — Touched By an Angel
Gemini Award
1998: Nominated, "Best TV Movie or Mini-Series" — Borrowed Hearts (shared w/co-stars)
Golden Globe Award
1998: Nominated, "Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series - Drama" — Touched By an Angel
1999: Nominated, "Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series - Drama" — Touched By an Angel
TV Guide Award
1999: Won, "Favorite Actress in a Drama" — Touched By an Angel
2000: Nominated, "Favorite Actress in a Drama" — Touched By an Angel
^ THR Staff (2013-04-08). "Mark Burnett's 'The Bible' Becomes Top-Selling Miniseries on Blu-Ray and DVD" . Hollywood Reporter.
^ [1]
^ Template:Http://
^ Lindsay Fergus (2013-03-12). "Northern Ireland's richest people" . Belfast Telegraph.
^ a b c d e f g h Tracey, Olivia. An angel with her feet firmly on the ground , Irish Independent, January 7, 2001.
^ Awards for "AWoman Named Jackie" (1991) , Internet Movie Database
^ "Ability Magazine: Interview with Roma Downey - by Chet Cooper’’" . Retrieved 2012-04-06.
^ Hallmark website
^ USAToday Little Angels Story
^ Mary, Did You Know w/ Cee-Lo Green
^ "Reality TV producer Mark Burnett tackles the Bible," New York Times, 24 May 2011.
^ "Producers had big plans for 'The Bible' at its genesis" USA Today, 27 March 2013.
^ Ellerton, Julie & Knowles Adkisson. Roma Downey reflects on ‘The Bible’ , The Malibu Times, March 27, 2013.
^ About the Bible - Retrieved on 2013-03-04.
^ a b c Press Release. Roma DowneyAnd Mark Burnett's #1 New Cable Series THE BIBLE Is Also ANew York Times Best Seller,
Dominating Amazon And Is #1 On iTunes And #1 On Twitter , March 25, 2013.
^ NY Post The Bible Theatrical release story
^ Elber, Lynn (May 24, 2011). "'The Bible': History Channel, Mark Burnett Creating CGI 10-Hour Miniseries" . The Huffington Post.
Retrieved August 28, 2011.
^ Lloyd, Matt. The Bible Series History Channel Reaches Nearly 70 Million in 3 Weeks , BREATHEcast News, March 21, 2013.
^ [2]
^ Mark Burnett and Roma Downey Engaged - Mark Burnett, Roma Downey :
converted by
^ Mark Burnett, Roma Downey Marry in Malibu - Weddings, Mark Burnett, Roma Downey :
^ "Roma Downey" . Operation Smile. Retrieved June 8, 2011.
^ "Hollywood Stars line up to support McGuinness" . candidancy. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
^ Actress Roma Downey on religion, faith (2:19) - The Washington Post
^ [3] [dead link]
External links
Roma Downey at Irish Central
Roma Downey at the Internet Movie Database
Authority control
VIAF: 7597755
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Categories: 1960 births Living people People from Derry People educated at Thornhill College
Alumni of the University of Brighton Alumni of the Drama Studio London Television actresses from Northern Ireland
Roman Catholics from Northern Ireland
This page was last modified on 20 December 2013 at 20:07.
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