Early Life & Childhood
Jessie Buckley was born on December 28, 1989, in Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland.
Born to a poet and a musician, Jessie was the eldest of the five children in the family. She inherited the art of expression from her parents.
Buckley attended an all-girls convent school named the ‘Ursuline Secondary School’ in Thurles, County Tipperary.
She developed an interest in singing and was trained by her mother, Marina Cassidy, who worked as a vocal coach at the same school.
Formal training and encouragement from her parents gave Jessie the confidence and freedom to explore various art forms in school. She performed in many school productions, not shying away from playing male characters such as ‘Tony’ in ‘West Side Story’ and ‘Freddie Trumper’ in ‘Chess.’
After finishing school, Buckley attended the ‘Royal Irish Academy of Music’ in Dublin, Ireland, where she achieved “grade eight” in the piano, the clarinet, and the harp.
A member of the ‘Tipperary Millennium Orchestra,’ she also attended various workshops by ‘The Association of Irish Musical Societies’ (AIMS) to enhance her singing and acting abilities.
At the ‘AIMS,’ she was recognized as a talented actor, which encouraged her to apply for drama schools.
Buckley completed her BA in acting from the ‘Royal Academy of Dramatic Art,’ London, England, in 2013.
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Buckley’s TV career started with a ‘BBC’-produced talent show named ‘I’d Do Anything.’ She participated in it to get the lead role of ‘Nancy’ in the ‘West End’ revival of the musical ‘Oliver.’
In 2008, Buckley played the character of ‘Julie Jordan’ in the ‘Killarney Musical Society’ production of ‘Carousel,’ for which she received the ‘AIMS Best Actress Award.’
Buckley performed at various events, such as at the ‘Andrew Lloyd Webber's Birthday in the Park’ show in ‘Hyde Park,’ at the ‘National Concert Hall’ in Dublin (with the ‘RTE Concert Orchestra),’ and on Denny Street in Tralee.
In 2013, she performed opposite Jude Law in a ‘West End’ production of the Shakespeare classic ‘HenryV.’
She appeared as ‘Anne Egermann’ in a revival of Stephen Sondheim’s musical ‘A Little Night Music,’ directed by Trevor Nunn.
Buckley delivered prolific performances, playing ‘Miranda’ in ‘The Tempest’ at the ‘Shakespeare’s Globe’ and ‘Kitty Batten’ in ‘Endeavour.’
She appeared in the short film ‘Join My Band,’ where she was seen playing the character of a teenager in a rock band.
She played one of the lead characters, ‘Marya Bolkonskaya,’ in the TV series adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel ‘War and Peace.’ Buckley received widespread acclaim for her magnetic performance as a pious young lady who had vowed to remain unmarried.
In 2017, Buckley was cast in the ‘BBC TV’ series ‘Taboo,’ where she beautifully played the role of a young widow of a deceased old merchant.
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She continued to be seen in TV series and movies, delivering one powerful performance after another. She played ‘Honor Martin’ in ‘The Last Post,’ ‘Marian Halcombe’ in ‘The Woman in White,’ and ‘Moll’ in the 2017 thriller film ‘Beast.’
In 2018, Buckley delivered a heart-winning performance again, when she played ‘Rose-Lynn Harlan’ in the film ‘Wild Rose.’ Buckley was able to depict the intensity and the emotional depth of the character, who had been recently released from prison after serving a year on account of drug smuggling and then aspired to be a musician. She portrayed her character’s struggle to provide a secure future for her children.
While talking about her character in ‘Wild Rose,’ she once said, “Rose-Lynn was crusty and alive and frictional and fractured and feckless, but caring and with the ability to love, and love country music, and learn to love the people in her life, even when she was afraid of them in the first place. She didn’t know who she was. In order to love herself, she had to go to the darkest part in herself. All of us wanted to go more and farther, and not be scared. I’m excited by that.”
In 2019, Buckley played Lyudmilla Ignatenko, the wife of a Soviet firefighter who was one of the first responders during the 1986 nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, in the ‘HBO’ series ‘Chernobyl.’ The series became the highest-rated TV series on ‘IMDb.’
Buckley was also seen as ‘Rosalyn Wilder’ in the 2019 biographical film ‘Judy,’ which was based on American actor and singer Judy Garland.
Buckley will be seen playing ‘Queen Victoria’ in an upcoming film named ‘Dolittle,’ which is set to release in 2020. Her other future projects include ‘Ironbark,’ ‘Misbehavior,’ and a black comedy crime-drama anthology series named ‘Fargo.’
Awards & Recognition
Buckley received the ‘AIMS Best Actress Award’ in 2008, for her role in the musical production ‘Carousel.’
She was featured on the ‘Forbes 30 under 30 List of Disrupters and Trailblazers.’
Buckley received the ‘British Independent Film Award’ for the ‘Most Promising Newcomer,’ for her role in the 2017 thriller ‘Beast.’