Elizabeth McGovern

Theatre Credits, Bio and Tickets


Elizabeth Lee McGovern was born on July 18, 1961 in Evanston, Illinois. She studied acting at both the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco and The Juilliard School in New York City. By the time she graduated in 1981, she had already been cast in her first feature film Ordinary People, which was released in 1980. She made her Off-Broadway debut for Second Stage Theater in My Sister in This House in 1981, earning a Theatre World Award. In 1982, she received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for her performance as Evelyn Nesbit in the film adaptation of Ragtime.

Throughout the rest of the 1980s and early 1990s, she would regularly appear in movies and in New York's Off-Broadway theatre scene. Her stage appearances include the Public Theater productions of A Map of the World (1985) and A Midsummer Night's Dream (1987), as well as the Public's Shakespeare in the Park productions of Two Gentlemen of Verona (1987) and As You Like It (1992). She also starred in WPA Theatre's Maids of Honor in 1990 and in Atlantic Theater Company's 1991 revival of Chekhov's Three Sisters. Her most notable silver screen appearances during this time were "Once Upon a Time in America" (1984), "Native Son" (1986), "She's Having a Baby" (1988), "Johnny Handsome" (1989), and "The Handmaid's Tale" (1990).

McGovern made her Broadway debut as Melissa Gardner in the "revolving door" cast of A.R. Gurney's Love Letters at the Edison Theatre from December 19 to December 24, 1989. She would return to Broadway to take on the role of Ophelia in the Roundabout Theatre Company's 1992 Broadway revival of Hamlet.

After marrying the British film director and producer Simon Curtis in 1992, McGovern's stage career continued in London for the rest of the 1990s and 2000s. Her London theatre credits include The Misanthrope (at the Young Vic in 1996), Hurlyburly (at the Old Vic in 1997), Three Days of Rain (at the Donmar Warehouse in 1999), Dinner With Friends (at the Hampstead Theatre in 2001), Complicit (at the Old Vic in 2009), and The Shawl (at the Arcola Theatre in 2009).

Her television and film appearances in the 1990s and 2000s include The Favor (1994), Tales from the Crypt (1996), Broken Glass (1996), The Wings of the Dove (1997), The Scarlet Pimpernel (1999), The House of Mirth (2000), Daphne (2007), A Room with a View (2007), and Agatha Christie's Poirot (2008).

One of McGovern's most famous recent TV roles is as Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham on the British drama series Downton Abbey. She starred in a total of 52 episodes from 2010 to 2015, receiving an Emmy Award nomination in 2011 and a Golden Globe nomination in 2012. A number of high-profile Hollywood film credits followed her success on Downton Abbey, including Kick-Ass (2010), Clash of the Titans (2010), Abandoned (2011), and Woman in Gold (2015).

McGovern returned to Broadway to star as Mrs. Conway in the Roundabout Theatre Company's revival of J.B. Priestley's Time and the Conways, which officially opened at the American Airlines Theatre on October 10, 2017. She played her final performance on November 26, 2017.

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