Julian Fellowes

Julian Fellowes Headshot

Actor • Writer • Director

Birth Date: August 17, 1949

Age: 74 years old

Birth Place: Cairo, Egypt

A theatrically trained actor who became an Academy Award-winning screenwriter, Julian Fellowes enjoyed a prominent career before the camera before stepping behind it to write the Oscar-winning film "Gosford Park" (2001) and creating the multi-award-winning series "Downton Abbey" (BBC/PBS, 2010-16). Prior to both, Fellowes delivered quality performances in "The Bunker" (CBS, 1981) opposite friend Anthony Hopkins, as well as in the biblical miniseries "Peter and Paul" (CBS, 1981) and "The Scarlet Pimpernel" (CBS, 1982).

Following more onscreen turns, including in Richard Attenborough's "Shadowlands" (1993), he made his screenwriting debut with an adaptation of "Little Lord Fauntleroy" (1994), but primarily stayed in front of the camera with "Tomorrow Never Dies" (1997) and as a cast member of the British series "Monarch of the Glen" (BBC, 2000-05). In 2001, Fellowes wrote the Oscar-winning screenplay for Robert Altman's "Gosford Park" and transitioned more permanently to a behind-the-scenes role. He adapted William Makepeace Thackeray's "Vanity Fair" (2004) and made his directing debut with "Separate Lies" (2005), only to earn his share of deserved criticism for writing the much-maligned Johnny Depp-Angelina Jolie thriller "The Tourist" (2010).

But he recovered nicely by creating the highly-acclaimed series, "Downton Abbey," which won numerous awards, attracted loyal fans around the world, and cemented Fellowes' place as one of England's most esteemed talents.

Born on Aug. 17, 1949 in Cairo, Egypt, Fellowes was raised in a privileged home headed by his civil servant father, who worked as a diplomat for the British Foreign Affairs office and was instrumental in restoring Haile Selassie to Ethiopia's throne during World War II.

Growing up on the family estate in Weatherby Place, South Kensington, Fellowes was educated at Ampleforth College before attending the University of Cambridge, where he earned his master's in English literature and was a member of the famed Footlights theater club. After studying further at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, Fellowes honed his craft appearing on the stage with various repertory companies as well as making the occasional guest appearance on television, including "The Duchess of Duke Street" (1977).

Following a turn in the British miniseries "My Son, My Son (BBC, 1979), he headed to Los Angeles and acted in several made-for-television movies, portraying a Nazi to Anthony Hopkins' Hitler in "The Bunker" (CBS, 1981), the Emperor Nero in the biblical miniseries "Peter and Paul" (CBS, 1981), and Prince Regent in "The Scarlet Pimpernel" (CBS, 1982). Almost right away, however, Fellowes became disenchanted with Southern California and returned to England, where he served as the associate producer on the four-part miniseries "A Married Man" (1984) starring Hopkins.

In front of the camera, he had roles in "Florence Nightingale" (1985) and "Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend" (1985), before co-starring in "Fellow Traveler" (HBO, 1989), about the Hollywood blacklist in the 1950s. Fellowes went on to play famed playwright Noel Coward in the Ian Fleming biopic, "Golden Eye" (1990) - not to be confused with Pierce Brosnan's debut as James Bond in 1995 - before landing supporting roles in "To Be the Best" (1992), "Damage" (1992), "Sharpe's Rifles (1993) with Sean Bean, and Richard Attenborough's acclaimed drama "Shadowlands" (1993).

In 1994, he made his screenwriting debut adapting Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel Little Lord Fauntleroy into an award-winning miniseries that aired in the United States on the Disney Channel the following year. In a rather odd twist, Fellowes was cast as the Minister of Defense in "Tomorrow Never Dies" (1997) and later drew upon his family background to essay the role of a titled nobleman in the British miniseries "Aristocrats" (1999). Continuing to tap into his aristocratic heritage, Fellowes joined the cast of the series "Monarch of the Glen" (BBC, 2000-05) as the Scottish Earl Kilwillie, a role he played for 23 episodes during the course of its seven series.

While appearing on the show, he was hired by director Robert Altman to write the screenplay for "Gosford Park" (2001), a murder mystery set in 1930s England disguised as an upstairs-downstairs study of class division. Featuring an all-star ensemble cast that included Clive Owen, Helen Mirren, Michael Gambon, Kristin Scott Thomas and Maggie Smith, "Gosford Park" was nearly unanimously hailed by critics and won Fellowes the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. From there, he adapted William Makepeace Thackeray's "Vanity Fair" (2004) for director Mira Nair and made his own directing debut with the marriage drama, "Separate Lies" (2005), starring Emily Watson and Tom Wilkinson.

After scripting "Piccadilly Jim" (2005) and "Young Victoria" (2009), Fellowes directed his second feature, "From Time to Time" (2009), a comic fantasy about a boy (Alex Etel) living in a haunted house during World War II. Fellowes earned his share of criticism for the critically-maligned Angelina Jolie/Brad Pitt thriller "The Tourist" (2010), but bounced back nicely as the creator and executive producer of "Downton Abbey" (BBC/PBS, 2010-16), an upstairs-downstairs drama in the vein of "Gosford Park" that delved into the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their many servants.

Featuring a large ensemble cast that included Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Elizabeth McGovern and Maggie Smith, "Downton Abbey" started near the turn of the century with the sinking of the Titanic and moved through major events like World War I, the Spanish flu outbreak in 1918, and the Irish War of independence in the 1920s, while dealing with the personal triumphs and travails inside the household. Premiering on the BBC and crossing the Atlantic to air on PBS' "Masterpiece Theater," the show earned massive acclaim as well as big ratings at home and aboard.

"Downton" also earned numerous award nominations, including a whopping 16 Emmy Award nods in 2012, making it the most nominated non-U.S. show in Emmy history. Because of its popularity, due in no small part to the Emmy Award-winning performance of Maggie Smith as the tart-tongued Dowager Countess of Grantham, the show was parodied on a number of comedy shows including "Saturday Night Live" (NBC, 1975- ), "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" (NBC, 2009-13) and "The Colbert Report" (Comedy Central, 2005-15). By Shawn Dwyer

Credits

Downton Abbey 3

Producer
Movie
2025

Downton Abbey 3

Screenwriter
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2025

Belgravia: The Next ChapterStream

Executive Producer
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2024

The Marvellous Maggie Smith: A Celebration

Self
Show
2022

The Gilded AgeStream

Creator
Series
2022
86%

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Executive Producer
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2022
86%

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Writer
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86%

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Writer (Book)
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2022

Downton Abbey: A New EraStream

Producer
Movie
2022
87%

Downton Abbey: A New EraStream

Screenwriter
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2022
87%

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Guest
Show
2020

Belgravia

Creator
Show
2020

Belgravia

Executive Producer
Show
2020

The English GameStream

Creator
Miniseries
2020
53%

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Creator
Miniseries
2020
75%

BelgraviaStream

Executive Producer
Miniseries
2020
75%

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Guest
Show
2019

Downton AbbeyStream

Producer
Movie
2019
84%

Downton AbbeyStream

Screenwriter
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2019
84%

The ChaperoneStream

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2018
47%

The Wind in the Willows: The Musical

Writer
Movie
2018

Crooked HouseStream

Screenwriter
Movie
2017
58%

The Ivy

Guest
Show
2016

Doctor ThorneStream

Writer
Miniseries
2016
87%

Doctor Thorne

Writer
Movie
2016

Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter

Guest
Show
2015

A Christmas Star

Self
Movie
2015

Good Morning Britain

Guest
Show
2014

Great Houses with Julian Fellowes

Host
Show
2013

Romeo & Juliet

Producer
Movie
2013

Romeo & Juliet

Screenwriter
Movie
2013

Titanic

Writer
Show
2012

Downton Abbey -- Behind the Drama

Host
Show
2012

Downton Abbey

Writer
Show
2011

The Last of the Hardy Players

Voice
Show
2010

Downton AbbeyStream

Creator
Series
2010
87%

Downton AbbeyStream

Executive Producer
Series
2010
87%

Downton AbbeyStream

Writer
Series
2010
87%

Lorraine

Guest
Show
2010

The Tourist

Screenwriter
Movie
2010

The Young Victoria

Writer
Show
2009

Skavlan

Guest
Show
2009

The Young VictoriaStream

Screenwriter
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2009
76%

From Time to Time

Director
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2009

From Time to Time

Producer
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2009

From Time to Time

Screenwriter
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2009

The One Show

Guest
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2006

Piccadilly Jim

Writer
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2005

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Director
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2005

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Writer (Screenplay)
Movie
2005

Tavis Smiley

Guest
Talk
2004

Vanity FairStream

Screenwriter
Movie
2004
51%

Gosford ParkStream

Associate Producer
Movie
2001
87%

Gosford ParkStream

Writer
Movie
2001
87%

AristocratsStream

Actor
Duke of Richmond
Miniseries
2000

Monarch of the GlenStream

Actor
Kilwillie
Series
2000

Dirty Tricks

Actor
Prosecution Counsel
Movie
2000

Treaty

Actor
Winston Churchill
Movie
1998

The Prince and the Pauper

Writer
Show
1996

Sharpe's Regiment

Actor
The Prince Regent
Movie
1996

Kavanagh Q.C.

Guest Star
Clive Crebbin
Show
1995

Little Lord Fauntleroy

Writer
Show
1995

Savage Hearts

Actor
Bishop
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1995

Love Hurts

Actor
Show
1994

Never Love a Thief

Actor
Movie
1994

Sharpe's Rifles

Actor
Major Dunnett
Movie
1993

The Young Indiana Jones ChroniclesStream

Guest Star
Series
1992
78%

The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles: Love's Sweet Song

Actor
Winston Churchill
Movie
1992

DamageStream

Actor
Donald Lyndsay
Movie
1992
81%

Dempsey and Makepeace

Actor
Show
1985

Baby ... Secret of the Lost Legend

Actor
Nigel Jenkins
Movie
1985

Swallows and Amazons Forever!: Coot Club

Actor
Jerry (Hullabaloo)
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1984

Swallows and Amazons: Coot Club

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Jerry (Hullabaloo)
Movie
1984

Peter and Paul

Actor
Show
1981

Tales of the Unexpected

Actor
George
Show
1979

Masterpiece

Actor
Franchise
1971

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