Maria Doyle Kennedy (born 25 September 1964) is an Irish actress, composer, singer, songwriter, musician, theatre artist, orchestrator and educator. She is best known for her role in The Commitments, and as Queen Catherine of Aragon in The Tudors and SiobhÃ¡n Sadler in Orphan Black.
Life and career
Kennedy was born in Clontarf, Dublin. She graduated from Trinity College, Dublin with a joint honours degree in political science and business.
In 2001, Kennedy released music on Mermaid Records, a label she founded herself. Her debut solo album Charm was released in 2001. She coordinated Sirens which is a compilation album of female artists and was released in 2003. She released an album Skullcover consisting of cover versions in 2005, and MÃ¼tter in 2007. In 2012, Kennedy and her husband Kieran released the album The Storms Are on the Ocean.
Both of her solo albums have been nominated for Meteor awards, and her forthcoming project sees her teamed with John Prine, Damien Rice and Paul Brady. Sing was released September 2012 and reached number four on Irish charts.
Kennedy joined a band while still in college in the mid-80s. They formed originally to enter a Slogadh competition (which they won), but music quickly became a motivating force in her life. She has spent the better part of 20 years performing live all over the world to audiences ranging from the many thousands who have enjoyed her show at festivals (Glastonbury, Oxegen, Cambridge Folk Festival etc.) to the more intimate theatre concerts.
Kennedy released her first album "When Justice Came" in 1989 with The Black Velvet Band. Recorded in Los Angeles in 1989, it reached No.4 on the Irish charts, and is ranked among the best Irish albums of the late 1980s. She then united with producers Clive Langer and Allen Winstanley to record her second Black Velvet Band album, "King of Myself", in 1992. Irish music magazine Hot Press later called her "The finest voice this country has ever produced."
The Lady Sings The Blues, a compilation album featuring Maria alongside Aretha Franklin, Billie Holiday, Annie Lennox, followed and proved to be a best-selling album in 1994. It also established Kennedy in new markets throughout Europe, the US, and Japan. Touring Europe for the first time, she got rave reviews from The Guardian, The Times, and others.
Kennedy produced a documentary, Golden Boy, based on the life and work of Irish artist Patrick Scott and has appeared as a broadcaster on Irish television filling in for John Kelly on his Mystery Train show and for Tom Dunne on Pet Sounds.
Kennedy also hosted an RTÃ musical series called Boarderline in the late 1980s.
Maria Doyle Kennedy played a key role in the 1991 film The Commitments. In 2007 and 2008, Maria played Catherine of Aragon (King Henry VIII's first wife and mother of Mary I of England) on The Tudors. She was rumoured to have returned as Catherine of Aragon in a dream sequence to The Tudors for the fourth and final season in mid 2010, and this was confirmed when the first promotional picture of the season showed Catherine (along with King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr) on the cover. Kennedy also appeared on Irish screens early in 2011 on TG4's Corp & Anam in her first Irish language acting role. Kennedy portrayed Sonya, a nanny to Dexter Morgan's son Harrison in the fifth season of Showtime's Dexter. She joined the cast of ITV's period drama Downton Abbey, appearing as Vera Bates, estranged wife of the Earl of Grantham's valet. In 2012 she also played a leading role in the ITV mini-series Titanic, and in 2013 began co-starring in the Canadian TV series Orphan Black, airing on Space in Canada and on BBC America in the United States.
An image of Doyle Kennedy, in character as Natalie Murphy in the film The Commitments, was featured on an Irish postage stamp as part of the Ireland 1996: Irish Cinema Centenary series issued by An Post. The image includes her The Commitments co-stars Angeline Ball as Imelda Quirke, Bronagh Gallagher as Bernie McGloughlin and Robert Arkins as Jimmy Rabbitte.
In 1988, she married musician Kieran Kennedy, and they have four sons. She was a regular guest on Late Night with David Letterman.
Awards and nominations
- 2014, Maria Doyle Kennedy won the Canadian Screen Award.
- 2012, Maria Doyle Kennedy won the Tatler Woman of the year for Music award.
- 2012, Maria Doyle Kennedy was nominated for two IFTA awards.
- 2011, Maria Doyle Kennedy was nominated for the Sag Television awards USA.
- 2009, Maria Doyle Kennedy won the IFTA award.
- 2008, Maria Doyle Kennedy won the IFTA award.
- 2008, Maria Doyle Kennedy won the Gemini award Canada.
- 2008, Maria Doyle Kennedy was nominated for the Monte Carlo Film Awards.
- 2008, Maria Doyle Kennedy won the Tatler Magazine Woman of the year Achievement Award.
- 2007, Maria Doyle Kennedy was nominated for the Irish Meteor Music Award.
- 2003, Maria Doyle Kennedy was nominated for the IFTA award.
- 2002 Maria Doyle Kennedy was nominated for the Irish Meteor Music Award.
- 2001 Maria Doyle Kennedy was nominated for the IFTA award.
- Maria Doyle Kennedy at the Internet Movie Database
- Maria Doyle Kennedy â" her official website