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Dublin, Ireland

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Orla Brady


Orla Brady (born 28 March 1961) is an Irish theatre, television, and film actress born in Dublin. She has been nominated for several awards from the Irish Film & Television Academy for her work in televised programs, as well as starring in the RTÉ/BBC co-production A Love Divided where she portrayed Sheila Cloney, for which she won the 1999 Golden Nymph Best Actress Award. 


She began her career with the Balloonatics Theatre Company as a touring performer, later gaining her first minor role in television as a bank clerk in the series Minder in 1993.


 Her first role in the film was as Vanessa in Words Upon the Window Pane in 1994. Brady later appeared in recurring roles in a number of US and UK series and in two supporting character roles in the CBS-Paramount series, Star Trek: Picard. Brady appeared in the 2020 list of Ireland's greatest film actors, published by The Irish Times.


Brady was born on 28 March 1961 in Dublin, the daughter of Catherine and Patrick Brady, the second of four children. At one time, her parents were the owners of an establishment called Oak Bar, in Temple Bar, Dublin.


She lived in Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland, from birth until the age of seven. She was educated at a Loreto Convent in Wicklow, and an Ursuline Convent in Dublin.


Brady began training in performance in 1986, with a year in Paris; she studied at L'École Philippe Gaulier, and secured a place at Marcel Marceau's École Internationale de Mimodrame de Paris.


 As she spoke of the time in an interview, "There was a lot of clowning around, buffoonery, and fencing. It was then that my own style kind of blossomed."


In 2001, Brady moved to Los Angeles, where she met English photographer Nick Brandt, whom she married in December 2002 in the Chyulu Hills of Kenya. She also has a Georgian flat in Dublin.


She admitted in an interview that she originally left Ireland as she found it "a repressive place to be a woman" at the time with little opportunity. 


The 2015 marriage equality and 2018 abortion referendums, as well as the expanding Irish industry, changed her mind, making her realize “Oh, this is a different Ireland and it accepts me now.” Brady had a "Catholic upbringing", but as of 2002 considered herself an atheist.

Known for

The Foreigner as Mary Hennessy