Roma Downey

Roma Downey

Born: May 6, 1960
Age: 64
Birthplace: Derry, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Please login to contact Roma Downey...
Don't have an account yet?  Join Today!

Roma Downey (born May 6, 1960) is an Irish Emmy-nominated actress and producer. She is known for her nine seasons as Monica, the tender-hearted angel and employee of Tess (played by Della Reese), on the CBS television series Touched by an Angel, for which she earned multiple Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award Best Actress nominations. Born in Derry, Northern Ireland, and classically trained in London, Downey has performed on stage with the famed Abbey Theatre and has appeared both on and off Broadway. She played the leading role of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the Emmy Award-winning miniseries for NBC, A Woman Named Jackie (1991). Downey starred in and was also executive producer for seven television movies for the CBS network. Downey is an ambassador for Operation Smile.

As President of Lightworkers Media, a United Artists Media Group banner, Downey together with her husband Mark Burnett produced the Emmy-nominated miniseries The Bible for History channel which was watched by over 100 million people in the United States alone. Downey and Burnett also produced the feature film version Son of God (2014). Variety recognized Downey and Burnett as "Trailblazers" and listed Downey as one of Variety's "100 Most Powerful Women in Hollywood." The Hollywood Reporter included the couple in their "Most Influential People of 2013" and Downey as one of the "100 Women in Entertainment Power" in 2014. Downey was also honored on Variety's "Women of Impact in 2014". Downey and Burnett also produced The Dovekeepers for CBS and A.D. The Bible Continues.


Early life

Downey was born and raised in Derry, Northern Ireland, in the Bogside district. She attended Thornhill College. Her mother, Maureen O'Reilly Downey, a homemaker and actress, died from a heart attack at age 48 when Downey was 10. Her father, Patrick "Paddy" Downey, was a school teacher by training but worked as a mortgage broker. Her father died when Downey was 20. Originally, she planned to be a painter and earned a Bachelor of Arts at Brighton College of Art. However, she turned her attention to acting and had a classical training attending Drama Studio London, where she performed in plays by Shakespeare, Shaw and Chekhov.


She joined the Abbey Players in Dublin and toured the United States in a production of The Playboy of the Western World. The production led to a nomination during the Broadway run for the Helen Hayes Best Actress Award in 1991. She also starred on Broadway in The Circle with Sir Rex Harrison and also at the Roundabout Theater and The Public Theater in New York City.

Downey played the role of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the American television miniseries A Woman Named Jackie (1991) which won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries in 1992.

Touched by an Angel

Her role as Jacqueline Kennedy led to her most famous role, as the angel Monica, on the CBS series Touched by an Angel, opposite singer-actress, Della Reese, which ran from 1994 to 2003.

She received one nomination and one win at the TV Guide awards for favorite actress and also won two Emmy Award nominations and two Golden Globe nominations. Downey has said the character Monica interested her because it was a strong female role, which were "few and far between" and for its spiritual aspects:

It was pilot season of ‘94 and I was reading through endless junk scripts that were being sent my way. Typically the roles were to play his wife or his girlfriend — leading roles for women were few and far between. Suddenly a very unusual script turned up. "Now this is curious," I remember thinking. Because I'm a person of faith, the spiritual aspects got my attention. Also, the actress in me was delighted to read a show that had not one but two strong female roles - female angels. I was to audition for Monica and I very much liked Della Reese, who of course ended up playing Tess.

Downey also produced and starred in television movies including Borrowed Hearts and Second Honeymoon. During the run of Touched by an Angel, she recorded the spoken-word album Healing Angel. and wrote the children's book Love Is A Family. She hosted It's a Miracle (TV series), on the Pax Network and appeared on stage in A Picasso at the Geffen Theatre in Los Angeles. She has hosted Saturday Night Live, was one of People magazine's most beautiful people and is a spokesperson for the volunteer group "Operation Smile". During her nine seasons on-air, she developed a chemistry with Reese and the two struck up a friendship that continued in the aftermath of the series' cancellation.

In 2009, she starred in the movie Come Dance at My Wedding alongside John Schneider. On July 16, 2011, She appeared with actress Marion Ross in the made-for-TV movie Keeping up with the Randalls, broadcast on the Hallmark Channel.

The Bible and beyond

On May 24, 2011, Downey and husband Mark Burnett announced they were producing a 10-hour docudrama for the History channel, The Bible, based on stories from the Bible scheduled to air in 2013. They began planning it in 2009 and lined up their own financing. The full production cost was $22 million USD. Downey and Burnett wanted to stay as true to the content in the Bible as possible so they put together a wide variety of pastors and academics to review the script and filming. For example, they worked with Pastors Joel Osteen and Rick Warren and academics such as Craig A. Evans and Mark Goodacre.

The Bible has been watched by over 100 million viewers in the United States alone The series has been the number one downloaded series in iTunes and ranked number 2 on Amazon's best sellers in movies and television. An under 2½ hour re-cut of the series meant for a theatrical release was released on February 28, 2014 in the United States, under the title Son of God. The Bible was nominated for the 2013 Primetime Emmy Award, Outstanding Miniseries or Movie.' It is Downey and Burnett's first such collaboration as producers. Downey is playing the role of Mary, the mother of Jesus in the later stages of his life. The Bible was filmed in 2012 in Morocco.

In July 2013, it was announced that Downey and Burnett will produce A.D., the sequel to The Bible. In December, 2013 NBC ordered A.D.. The series will cover the spread of Christianity after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Downey is the executive producer of the animated video series, Little Angels, which was released on DVD with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment on February 14, 2012. She released a YouTube video with Cee-Lo Green, "Mary Did You Know," that went viral with almost 3 million views.

In December 2013, CBS announced a new miniseries with Downey and her husband, Mark Burnett, The Dovekeepers based on the New York Times Bestseller by Alice Hoffman. The miniseries is set to air in 2015. In September 2014, MGM acquired a 55% interest in One Three Media and Lightworkers Media. The two companies will be consolidated into a new film and television company, United Artists Media Group. Burnett will be UA's CEO and Downey will become president of Lightworkers Media.

Downey has been producing content for the big screen as well. Along with Burnett, she has produced Little Boy, which is set to be released in February 2015. An even bigger story is the re-telling of Ben-Hur, which is planned to be released in 2016. Jack Huston is slated to star. In July 2015, Downey will release Answered Prayers for TLC, a series about modern day miracles and divine intervention.

Personal life

She is married to television producer/entrepreneur Mark Burnett. She has three children, two step-sons James Burnett and Cameron Burnett and her daughter Reilly Marie Downey Anspaugh (born on June 3, 1996) from her previous marriage to director David Anspaugh. Reilly is named after her grandmother, Maureen O'Reilly Downey. On Thanksgiving Day 2006, Burnett proposed to Downey during a family vacation in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. They wed on 28 April 2007 in their Malibu home. Her Touched by an Angel co-star, Della Reese, officiated at the wedding.

Downey is a "Smile Ambassador" for the non-profit organization Operation Smile which provides surgeries for children around the world who were born with severe cleft lip and palate. She supported the unsuccessful candidacy of Martin McGuinness for President of Ireland in 2011. Downey received the Sally Award by the Salvation Army for her contribution to entertainment and helping those in need on 1 October 2015.

Downey was raised a Roman Catholic. On April 18, 2009, Downey and Burnett delivered the keynote address and accepted an honorary doctorate of law at Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management commencement ceremony. In 2010, Downey graduated from the University of Santa Monica with a master's degree in spiritual psychology.



TV roles
Year Title Role Notes
1988 One Life to Live Lady Johanna Leighton Unknown episodes
1991 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage, TheThe 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage Danielle St. Clair Movie
1991 Disney Presents The 100 Lives of Black Jack Savage Danielle St. Clair 7 episodes
1991 Woman Named Jackie, AA Woman Named Jackie Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Episode: "The Bouvier Years"
1992 Getting Up and Going Home Kimberly Stevens Movie
1992 Devlin Eileen Movie
1993 New Year Suzanne Hartman Movie
1994 Hercules and the Amazon Women Hippolyta Movie
1994 Diagnosis: Murder Heather Winslow Episode: "Reunion with Murder"
1994-2003 Touched by an Angel Monica 211 episodes
1995 Child Is Missing, AA Child Is Missing Samantha Hallihan Movie
1996-1998 Promised Land Monica 3 episodes
1997 Borrowed Hearts Kathleen Russell Movie
1998 Monday After the Miracle Annie Sullivan Movie
1999 Secret Life, AA Secret Life Cassie Whitman Movie
1999 Test of Love, TheThe Test of Love Cassie Whitman Movie
2001 Second Honeymoon Maggie Weston Movie
2001 The Sons of Mistletoe Helen Radke Movie
2004 Survivors Club, TheThe Survivors Club Jillian Hayes Movie
2004 Division, TheThe Division Reagan Gilancy 3 episodes
2009 Come Dance at My Wedding Laura Williams Movie
2011 Keeping Up with the Randalls Barb Movie
2013 The Bible Mother Mary Miniseries; 3 episodes


Feature film roles
Year Title Role Notes
1995 Last Word, TheThe Last Word Roxy
1998 Monday After the Miracle Annie Sullivan Movie
2004 Funky Monkey Megan
2008 At Jesus' Side Petra Voice role
2014 Son of God Virgin Mary


Year Title Notes
1997 Borrowed Hearts TV movie
1998 Monday After the Miracle TV movie
1999 Test of Love, TheThe Test of Love TV movie
2001 Second Honeymoon TV movie
2001 The Sons of Mistletoe TV movie
2004 Survivors Club, TheThe Survivors Club TV movie
2004 Funky Monkey
2013 The Bible Miniseries
2014 Son of God
2015 The Dovekeepers Miniseries
2015 A.D. The Bible Continues Limited series
2015 Answered Prayers TLC series
2015 Woodlawn


In 1999, Downey signed with RCA Victor Records and recorded a CD called Healing Angel, released on 14 September 1999.

Year Album details Peak Sales
US New Age
1999 Healing Angel
5 US sales: 42,901

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Work Result Ref.
1991 Helen Hayes Awards Best Actress The Playboy of the Western World Nominated
1997 Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Touched by an Angel Nominated
1998 Touched by an Angel Nominated
1998 Gemini Awards Best TV Movie or Mini-Series Borrowed Hearts (shared w/co-stars) Nominated
1998 Golden Globe Awards Best Performance by an Actress in a TV-Series - Drama Touched By an Angel Nominated
1999 Touched by an Angel Nominated
1999 TV Guide Awards Favorite Actress in a Drama Touched by an Angel Won
2013 Emmy Awards Outstanding Miniseries or Movie The Bible (as producer) Nominated


  • Love Is a Family. (2001). Harper Entertainment ISBN 978-0060393748

[ Source: Wikipedia ]

Terms Privacy Join Contact
Contact Any Star FanPal • 2024