Birthdate: December 28, 1989
Birthplace: Killarney, Ireland
A brilliant artist on the cusp of major stardom, Jessie Buckley (birthname: Jessie Buckley) is an Irish actor-singer of exceptional range and subtlety, just at the start of what promises to be an extraordinary film career.
Although “discovered” on the BBC talent contest show, I’ll Do Anything, in which she finished a somewhat controversial second in the 2008 season, Buckley really made her talent first felt in her West End debut the same year in an acclaimed revival of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night’s Music.
She amassed an impressive number of major stage credits (particularly in productions at Shakespeare’s Globe on London’s South Bank) before landing roles in major BBC-TV productions such as War and Peace (2016), before making a stunning feature debut in Michael Pearce’s psychological thriller, Beast (2017), which won the Best Debut Film BAFTA Award in 2019 and for which Buckley received ten performing nominations and four wins from various film organizations and festivals.
Buckley earned kudos for her next, very different title role in the romantic musical, Wild Rose (2018), with Sophie Okonedo and Julie Walters. She appeared opposite Renee Zellweger in the Judy Garland biopic, Judy (2019), as Queen Victoria with Robert Downey, Jr. in the box-office dud Dolittle (2020), and with Benedict Cumberbatch in the spy drama, The Courier (2020).
Buckley joined director Philippa Lowthorpe’s ensemble for Misbehaviour (2020), including Keira Knightley and Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and then tackled the challenging role of a young woman in a strange world in Charlie Kaufman’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020). Her deeply impressive performance as a young mother under stress in Maggie Gyllenhaal’s acclaimed The Lost Daughter (2021) earned Buckley a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination.
She appeared next under Alex Garland’s direction in his thriller, Men (2022), opposite Rory Kinnear, followed by a lead role in Sarah Polley’s anticipated return as writer-director in Women Talking (2022), with Frances McDormand, Rooney Mara, Claire Foy, and Ben Whishaw, and in Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s adaptation of Deborah Levy’s Hot Milk (date to be announced), with Vicky Krieps and Fiona Shaw. She is set to star (replacing Carey Mulligan) in Christos Nikou’s drama, Fingernails (date to be announced), with Riz Ahmed.
Jessie Buckley is the eldest of five children (three sisters, one brother) of parents Marina and Tim Buckley. She attended and graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 2013. Buckley was in a relationship with actor James Norton from 2015 to 2017. She is not married and has no children. Buckley’s height is 5’ 7”.
Artistic Family: Jessie Buckley’s mother plays the harp and her father writes poetry.
Role Reversal: In her Irish all-girls convent school in Thurles, County Tipperary, Jessie Buckley was cast in several male roles, including Tony in West Side Story.
Rejected: Despite going on to finish second on the BBC-TV talent contest show, I’ll Do Anything, Buckley had been turned down by two drama schools to which she had applied.
Outvoted: On I’ll Do Anything, Buckley won the support of three of her distinguished five-judge panel, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cameron Mackintosh, and Barry Humphries, but lost with viewers.
Struggling Actor: For two years, Jessie Buckley sang jazz in a nightclub where, she says, “nobody listened to me.”