Childhood & Early Life
She was born on October 8, 1970, in Chiswick, London, England to painter and decorator Brendan and his wife Mary, a shoe shop worker, as their younger child among two. Her Irish immigrant parents came from Donegal, Ireland.
She grew up in Southall, London and attended the Mellow Lane School. She was a shy girl in her childhood and to overcome it she joined local youth theatre ‘Young Argosy’ associated with the Argosy Players. Gradually such pursuit led her to develop interest for the stage.
She became associated with an amateur theatre company in her mid-teens and seriously contemplated on applying to drama schools. Although her first application met with rejection, Anne-Marie furthered her study of Film and Theatre and then joined British drama school in King's Cross, London called the Drama Centre at age 19.
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Anne-Marie forayed into professional theatre in the early 1990s with plays like ‘Uncle Silas’ (1994) and ‘The Mill on the Floss’ (1994). Over the years she went on to work extensively with the Royal National Theatre evolving as an accomplished stage actress.
One of her initial notable performances include portraying Natasha in British playwright and screenwriter Helen Edmundson’s 1996 stage adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's classic novel ‘War and Peace’.
She then went on to deliver several other remarkable stage performances that include in plays like ‘King Lear’ (1997–1998), ‘Vassa’ (1999) and ‘Collected Stories’ (1999–2000). The latter that was directed by Howard Davies and had its West End premiere in November 1999 and closed on February 5, 2000 at the Royal Haymarket Theatre, fetched her Laurence Olivier Awards nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
Meanwhile she forayed into television featuring in few episodes of series’ like ‘Trial & Retribution’ (1997) and ‘The Way We Live Now’ (2001); in radio playing Viola in ‘Twelfth Night’ (1998) and Cypassis in ‘The Art of Love’ (2000); as also played role of ‘The Woman’ in the short film ‘Mild and Better’ (1998).
Her initial big-screen works includes films like the 2001 espionage thriller ‘Enigma’ and the 2002 drama ‘The Magdalene Sisters’. The latter saw her playing the starring role of Margaret McGuire.
Although a few years old in showbiz, Anne-Marie rose to prominence garnering mainstream attention after playing Fiona Gallagher in the critically acclaimed British comedy-drama series ‘Shameless’. The series that aired on Channel 4 for 11 seasons from January 13, 2004 to May 28, 2013 featured her as series regular for the first two seasons (2004–2005) and as series guest in the eleventh season (2013).
Her remarkable performance in ‘Shameless’ won her Best Actress in a TV Drama award at the 2004 Irish Film and Television Awards; the Best Actress award from Broadcasting Press Guild in 2005; and the Best Female Actor award from the Royal Television Society in 2006 apart from other nominations.
She furthered her fame starring as Queen Elizabeth I in the four-part BBC television miniseries ‘The Virgin Queen’ based on life of Queen Elizabeth I. The miniseries aired from November 13 to 20 in 2005 and earned Anne-Marie two award nominations - Best Actress from British Academy Television Awards and Best Actress in a Lead Role in Television from Irish Film and Television Awards, both in 2007.
While gradually bolstering her on-screen career, she delivered one of her most remarkable stage performances playing the titular character in British theatre director Marianne Elliott's 2007 production of George Bernard Shaw's ‘Saint Joan’. The play that was staged at the Olivier Theatre in London won her Laurence Olivier Awards nomination for Best Actress.
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She played Miriam in the 2007 feature-length version of the 1910 comic novel by H. G. Wells titled ‘The History of Mr. Polly’. It won her Best Actress award at the 2008 BAFTA Cymru. She participated in the campaign called ‘What's it going to take?’ in 2007 that promoted awareness on domestic abuse in the UK.
In 2007 she also garnered acclaim starring as Carmel in the critically acclaimed Irish film ‘Garage’. The film won the Best Film prize at the 25th Torino Film Festival as also the CICAE Art and Essai Cinema Prize at the Cannes Film Festival that year while Anne-Marie garnered nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role award at the 2008 Irish Film and Television Awards.
Her next notable film role was that of Julia Lennon, mother of English singer, songwriter, and co-founder of the Beatles, John Lennon, in the 2009 British biographical drama film ‘Nowhere Boy’ based on John Lennon's adolescence.
‘Nowhere Boy’ received mostly positive critical reviews. It fetched her Best Actress award from Evening Standard British Film Awards; a BIFA Award as Best Supporting Actress; and a London Film Critics' Circle Award as British Supporting Actress of the Year. She also earned several nominations including for a BAFTA Award and a Satellite Award.
She earned Best Actress in a Film award nomination at the 2012 Irish Film and Television Awards for her excellent performance as Maire in the film ‘Sanctuary’ (2012).
Her Broadway debut happened at the Lincoln Center Theater when she played Lady Macbeth in the 2013 stage production of ‘Macbeth’, a tragedy by William Shakespeare. She reprised the role in the 2018 production of the play at the Royal National Theatre, London.
The blockbuster hit 2015 British historical period drama film ‘Suffragette’ that marked as the first feature film to be filmed in the Houses of Parliament featured her in starring role of Violet Miller. The film also starred Meryl Streep, Carey Mulligan, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Whishaw, and Helena Bonham Carter. It garnered Anne-Marie a BIFA Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
Other notable works of this brilliant actress includes plays like ‘A Doll's House’ (2000) and ‘Days of Wine and Roses’ (2005); TV productions like series’ ‘From Darkness’ (2015) and ‘Hospital’ (2017) and films like ‘Sinners’ (2002) and ‘Born Equal’ (2006); and big-screen flicks like ‘The Waiting Room’ (2007) and ‘French Film’ (2008). She will star in ‘Imagination of the Creatures’ along with Sandra Bullock and Rachel Weisz.