May. 6th, 1960
Derry, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, UK
Roma Downey's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
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.
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".
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 Smile" which provides surgeries for children around the world who were born with severe cleft lip and palate. 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.
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.
She released a YouTube video with 'Cee-Lo Green', “Mary Did You Know,” that went viral with almost 3 million views.
She was born (6 May 1960) and raised in Derry City, Northern Ireland. Her mother, Maureen O'Reilly Downey, died from a heart attack at the age of 48 when Downey was 10. Her father, Paddy Downey, was a school teacher by training but worked as a mortgage broker. Her father died when Downey was 20.
She earned a bachelor's degree at Brighton Art College in England, UK. She then attended the London Drama Studio, where she starred in productions of many classics, including the plays of Shakespeare, Shaw, and Chekhov.
Downey toured the United States with Dublin's famous Abbey Players in a production of "The Playboy of the Western World" and was nominated for the 'Helen Hayes' Best Actress Award in 1991.
Her additional stage credits include the Broadway production of "The Circle" opposite 'Rex Harrison', and Off Broadway productions of "Love's Labour's Lost", "Tamara", and "Arms and the Man". Downey's additional television credits include starring roles in the films "A Child Is Missing" (1995) and "Getting Up and Going Home" (1992). Among her feature film credits are "The Last Word" (1995) and "Devlin" (1992).
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. On Thanksgiving Day 2006, Burnett proposed to Downey during a family vacation in Zihuatanej,, Mexico. They wed on 28 April 2007 in their Malibu home. Her Touched By An Angel co-star, 'Della Reese', officiated at the wedding.
- Favorite film: _Brief Encounter (1945)_ (qv).
- Married 'Mark Burnett (II)' (qv) on April 28, 2007 at their home in Malibu. The ceremony was officiated by 'Della Reese' (qv).
- 'Della Reese' (qv) is the godmother of her daughter Reilly.
- Studied Irish dancing as a child.
- Has two brothers, Lawrence who is two years older than her and a much older brother John, who is a Roman Catholic priest.
- Her name, Roma originates from both her grandmother's names, Rose and Mary.
- She was one of the two women originally considered for the role of _"Xena: Warrior Princess" (1995)_ (qv), along with 'Vanessa Angel' (qv). She was offered the role that made 'Lucy Lawless' (qv) famous but turned it down as she was offered the role of Monica on _"Touched by an Angel" (1994)_ (qv) at the same time. She chose an Angel over a warrior.
- Eloped and married her first husband, 'Leland Orser' (qv), in a Roman Catholic ceremony in Rome, Italy.