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Allen Leech
Allen Leech, Adventures of Tintin, London, 2011.jpg
Leech in October 2011
Alan Leech

(1981-05-18) 18 May 1981 (age 40)
Years active1998–present
Jessica Blair Herman
(m. 2019)

Allen Leech (born Alan Leech; 18 May 1981) is an Irish actor best known for his role as Tom Branson on the historical drama series Downton Abbey and as Paul Prenter in the 2018 biopic Bohemian Rhapsody. He made his professional acting debut with a small part in a 1998 production of A Streetcar Named Desire, made his first major film appearance as Vincent Cusack in Cowboys & Angels, and earned an Irish Film & Television Awards nomination in 2004 with his performance as Mo Chara in Man About Dog. Leech played Marcus Agrippa on the HBO historical drama series Rome.

Early life

Leech was born in Killiney, County Dublin, to David Leech, the CEO of a computer systems company, and Kay Leech.[1] He is the third of four children;[2] he has an older brother, Greg, an older sister, Alli, and a younger brother, Simon.[3] He attended St Michael's College.[1] Leech became interested in acting at 11 when he was given the part of the Cowardly Lion in a school production of The Wizard of Oz and found he loved being on stage.[2] He recalled how he immediately decided to become an actor when Peter McDonald told him how acting is a profession on the last night of the production's run.[2]

Afterwards, drama became the "focal point" of Leech's teenage years, apart from his family life, and drama and family support helped him through his school years.[4] He became set on acting after winning a small role in a 1998 production of A Streetcar Named Desire at the Gate Theatre.[5] He earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Master's Degree in Drama and Theatre Studies from Trinity College, Dublin,[6] later noting this was a "loophole" in his parents' stipulation that he earn a degree to fall back on if he failed to have success as an actor.[7] He landed his first major roles in Cowboys & Angels and Man About Dog while at Trinity, and he has admitted that he did little schoolwork because he spent his time on auditions and acting.[5]


Leech at the Malibu Film Society in 2019
Leech at the Malibu Film Society in 2019

Leech's first professional stage role was in 1998 at the Gate in their production of A Streetcar Named Desire.[8][9] "I was the gentleman caller to Frances McDormand's Blanche Dubois. The Coen brothers were walking backstage, and me a naive 16-year-old."

He appeared as Willi in the Queen and Peacock, at the Garter Lane Arts Centre. The following years, Leech was in Tom Murphy's The Morning After Optimism and then Hugh Leonard's Da at the Abbey.

Leech's breakthrough film performance was in Cowboys and Angels,[10] in which he played Vincent, a gay fashion student, followed by a role in the 2004 cross-country caper film Man About Dog.[11][12]

Leech played the role of Shane Kirwan in the Ireland's RTÉ series Love Is the Drug, in which he received a Best Actor nomination from the Irish Film and Television Awards. He followed that up with the role of Willy in the television series Legend, which is the story of three different Irish families.[13] He received a Best Supporting Actor nomination from Irish Film and Television Awards for his performance.

In 2007, Leech appeared in the HBO drama series Rome as Marcus Agrippa, Octavian's top soldier and friend.[14] The film, Rewind, opened in Ireland on 25 March 2011.[15]

In 2010, he appeared on the small screen in The Tudors as the doomed Francis Dereham, former lover of Catherine Howard. Leech also appeared in ITV 2010s television series Downton Abbey as chauffeur Tom Branson, whose twin beliefs in socialism and Irish Republicanism clash with those of the British upper class. He played the role of officer Sam Leonard in television series Primeval in 2011 in series five. Leech also starred in the 2012 film adaptation The Sweeney.[6] In 2014 he starred alongside Benedict Cumberbatch, as the spy John Cairncross, in The Imitation Game.

Leech was voted sexiest Irish male in 2005 in U Magazine. He was named one of GQ's 50 best dressed men in Britain in 2015.[16]

In 2017, Leech appeared alongside Ginnifer Goodwin in the Los Angeles stage production of Constellations.[17] The play ran from June 14 to July 23, 2017, at the Geffen Playhouse.[18]

Leech played Paul Prenter, who was briefly Freddie Mercury's manager and male lover, in the biopic Bohemian Rhapsody (2018),[19] which earned him a nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture at the 25th Screen Actors Guild Awards.[20]

In 2019, Leech appeared again as Tom Branson in the feature film Downton Abbey.

Personal life

In February 2018, Leech announced his engagement to actress Jessica Blair Herman.[21][22] They were married in an outdoor ceremony on 5 January 2019 at the Alisal Ranch and Resort in Solvang, California. Guests at the ceremony included Leech's Downton Abbey costars, as well as his Bohemian Rhapsody costars Rami Malek, Gwilym Lee, and Lucy Boynton.[23] In September 2019, the couple announced that they were expecting their first child.[24]



Year Title Role Notes
2000 Iníon an Fhiaclóra (The Dentist's Daughter) Rory Short film
2002 The Escapist Policeman 1
2003 Cowboys & Angels Vincent Cusack
2004 Man About Dog Mo Chara
2007 Deep Breaths Danny Short film
2008 Factory Farmed Short film
2009 From Time to Time Fred Boggis
2010 Rewind Karl
2012 The Sweeney Simon Ellis
2013 Grand Piano Wayne
2013 In Fear Max
2013 Hello Darkness Mark Cooper
2014 The Imitation Game John Cairncross
2017 The Hunter's Prayer Richard Addison
2018 Bohemian Rhapsody Paul Prenter
2019 Downton Abbey Tom Branson
2022 Downton Abbey: A New Era


Year Title Role Notes
2000 Yesterday's Children Brian Television film
2003 Benedict Arnold: A Question of Honor British Officer Television film
2004 Battlefield Britain Episode: "A Clash of Kings: The Battle of the Boyne"
2004 Love Is the Drug Shane Kirwen 4 episodes
2006 Legend Willy 6 episodes
2007 Rome Marcus Agrippa 8 episodes
2008 Heroes and Villains Edeco Episode: "Attila the Hun"
2009 Running Low Bala Whedon 2 episodes
2010 The Tudors Francis Dereham 2 episodes
2010–2015 Downton Abbey Tom Branson 45 episodes
2011 Primeval Officer Sam Leonard One episode
2011 Black Mirror Pike Episode: "The National Anthem"
2017 Bellevue Eddie Rowe
2019 Surveillance Scott Yardley
2020 The Good Doctor Ariel Reznik Episode: "Sex and Death"
2021 As Luck Would Have It Brennan Hallmark movie

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2012 Assassin's Creed III Thomas Hickey Voice
2015 The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt Hjalmar an Craite Voice


Year Title Role Theatre Notes
1998 A Streetcar Named Desire Gentleman Caller Gate Theatre Performed as Alan Leech
1999 This Lime Tree Bower Joe New Theatre Performed as Alan Leech
2000 The Queen and Peacock Willie Garter Lane Arts Centre Performed as Alan Leech
2001 The Morning After Optimism Edmund Abbey Theatre Performed as Alan Leech
2002 Da Young Charlie Abbey Theatre Performed as Alan Leech
2008 Everybody Loves Sylvia Harlequin Project Arts Centre
2008 Zero Hour Benny, Ensemble Abbey Theatre
2010 Phaedra Hippolytus Project Arts Centre
2010 On Baile's Strand Young Man Abbey Theatre
2011 Ecstasy Mick Hampstead Theatre, Duchess Theatre
2017 Constellations Roland Geffen Playhouse


Year Appearance Notes
2004 The Panel TV series (1 episode: "Episode #2.5")
2005 3rd Irish Film and Television Awards TV documentary
2007 4th Irish Film and Television Awards Presenter

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result
2004 Irish Film & Television Awards Best New Talent Cowboys & Angels Nominated
2005 Irish Film & Television Awards Best Actor in Television Love Is the Drug Nominated
2007 Irish Film & Television Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Television Legend Nominated
2013 Irish Film & Television Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Television Downton Abbey Nominated
2013 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Downton Abbey Won
2014 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Downton Abbey Nominated
2015 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Downton Abbey Won
2015 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture The Imitation Game Nominated
2015 Irish Film & Television Awards Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Film The Imitation Game Nominated
2015 20th Critics' Choice Awards Best Acting Ensemble The Imitation Game Nominated
2016 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Downton Abbey Won
2019 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture Bohemian Rhapsody Nominated


  1. ^ a b MacDonald, Marianne (22 July 2007). "Rome Sweet Rome". The Evening Standard. London. Retrieved 12 November 2012 – via Infotrac.
  2. ^ a b c Randall, Lee (15 September 2012). "Interview: Allen Leech on the return of Downton Abbey". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  3. ^ Butler, Laura (3 November 2012). "'Downton' star Allen loves his role as rebellious Irishman". Irish Independent. Dublin. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  4. ^ "Downton Abbey star Allen Leech denies being bullied as a child". The Sydney Morning Herald. 17 February 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  5. ^ a b Nolan, Emma (3 September 2006). "A cowboy and an angel wrapped up to make a legend". Irish Independent. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  6. ^ a b "Allen Leech". Troika Talent. Archived from the original on 21 October 2014. Retrieved 10 November 2012.
  7. ^ "Allen Leech on the Thursday Interview". The Right Hook. Dublin. 1 November 2012. Newstalk. Archived from the original on 3 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Allen Leech". Biography in Context. 28 February 2015. Retrieved 10 December 2018.
  9. ^ Wolf, Matt (18 May 1998). "A Streetcar Named Desire". Variety. Los Angeles.
  10. ^ Koehler, Robert (13 July 2004). "Cowboys & Angels" Variety. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  11. ^ Cline, Rich (19 October 2004) "Man About Dog". ShadowsOnTheWall.
  12. ^ Russell, Jamie (14 November 2004). "Man About Dog (2004)". BBC News. Hereford & Worcester
  13. ^ Wallace, Arminta (9 December 2018). "Living legends". The Irish Times. Retrieved 9 December 2018.
  14. ^ "HBO". Archived from the original on 9 January 2010. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  15. ^ "Welcome to Twitter – Login or Sign up". Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  16. ^ "50 Best Dressed Men in Britain 2015". GQ. 5 January 2015. Archived from the original on 7 January 2015.
  17. ^ Gardner, Chris (23 January 2017). "Ginnifer Goodwin Set for 'Constellations' at Geffen Playhouse". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  18. ^ "Los Angeles Premiere Of "Constellations" At The Geffen Playhouse Extends Through July 23". Westside Today. 22 June 2017. Retrieved 18 September 2017.
  19. ^ Busch, Anita (30 August 2017). "Allen Leech Joins 'Bohemian Rhapsody' As Paul Prenter, Freddy Mercury's Judas". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  20. ^ Nordyke, Kimberly (12 December 2018). "SAG Awards: Full List of Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  21. ^ "Allen Leech on Instagram". Instagram. 14 February 2018. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  22. ^ Martin, Annie (16 February 2018). "Downton Abbey alum Allen Leech engaged to actress". UPI. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  23. ^ Shahid, Sharnaz (15 January 2019). "Exclusive: Downton Abbey's Allen Leech surrounded by co-stars on wedding day". Hello!. Retrieved 21 January 2019.
  24. ^ Jen, Juneau (10 September 2019). "Downton Baby! Allen Leech and Wife Jessica Blair Herman Expecting First Child". People. Retrieved 10 September 2019.

External links

This page was last edited on 25 September 2021, at 22:25
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