Allen Leech

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Allen Leech
Born(1981-05-18) 18 May 1981 (age 32)
Killiney, County Dublin, Ireland
Other namesAlan Leech
OccupationActor
Years active1998–present
 
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Allen Leech
Born(1981-05-18) 18 May 1981 (age 32)
Killiney, County Dublin, Ireland
Other namesAlan Leech
OccupationActor
Years active1998–present

Allen Leech (born on 18 May 1981), and known in his early career by his birth name Alan Leech, is an Irish stage, television and film actor. A native of Killiney, Leech made his professional acting debut with a small part in a 1998 production of A Streetcar Named Desire. He made his first major film appearance in 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 came to international attention as Marcus Agrippa on the HBO historical drama Rome and is best known for his role as Tom Branson on the internationally successful costume drama Downton Abbey.

Early life and education[edit]

Leech was born in Killiney, County Dublin, Ireland to David Leech, the CEO of a computer systems company, and Kay Leech, a housewife.[1] He is the third of four children;[2] he has an older brother Greg, an older sister Ali, and a younger brother Simon.[3][4] He has stated that he had a "strong family life."[4] He attended St Michael's College.[1] As a child, he was overweight and was bullied. Because of this, he became introverted and stated, "Until I was 15 I was cripplingly shy and refused to go out the front door."[4] He 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 his 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] Though his parents wanted him to become an architect,[4] his parents supported his decision on the condition that he earn a degree to fall back on. He earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Master's Degree in Drama and Theatre Studies from Trinity College, Dublin,[6] later noting that this was a "loophole" in his parents' condition.[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]

Career[edit]

Leech's first professional stage role was at the Gate in their production of A Streetcar Named Desire.[8] "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,[9] in which he played Vincent, a gay fashion student, followed by the 2004 cross country caper film Man About Dog,[10][11] in which Leech plays Mo-Chara, one of three Belfast scallies who get in way above their heads.

Leech was voted sexiest Irish male in 2005 in U Magazine.

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. 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.[12]

The film, Rewind, opened in Ireland on 25 March 2011.[13]

In 2010, he appeared on the small screen in The Tudors as the doomed Francis Dereham, former lover of Catherine Howard. Leech also appears in ITV 2010s television series Downton Abbey as chauffeur Tom Branson, whose political ideologies clash with the upper class. He plays the role of officer Sam Leonard in television series Primeval in 2011 in series five. Leech also stars in the 2012 film adaptation The Sweeney.[14]

Filmography[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
2000Iníon an Fhiaclóra (English: The Dentist's Daughter)RoryIrish language short.
Credited as Alan Leech.
2000Yesterday's ChildrenBrianTV film.
Credited as Alan Leech.
2002The EscapistPoliceman 1Credited as Alan Leech.
2003Benedict Arnold: A Question of HonorBritish OfficerTV film.
Credited as Alan Leech.
2003Cowboys & AngelsVincent CusackCredited as Alan Leech
2004Battlefield BritainTV series (1 episode: "A Clash Of Kings: The Battle Of The Boyne").
Credited as Alan Leech.
2004Man About DogMo Chara
2004Love Is the DrugShane KirwenTV series (4 episodes)
2006LegendWillyTV series (6 episodes)
2007RomeMarcus AgrippaTV series (8 episodes)
2007Deep BreathsDannyFilm short
2008Heroes and VillainsEdecoTV series documentary (1 episode: "Attila the Hun")
2008Factory FarmedFilm short for the Sci-Fi-London 48hr Film Challenge
2009From Time to TimeFred Boggis
2009Running LowBala WhedonWeb series for the RTÉ Storyland Competition (2 episodes)
2010RewindKarl
2010The TudorsFrancis DerehamTV series (2 episodes: 4.04 "Natural Ally" & 4.05 "Bottom of the Pot")
2010–presentDownton AbbeyTom BransonTV series (20 episodes)
2011PrimevalOfficer Sam LeonardTV series (1 episode: 5.02)
2011Black MirrorPikeTV series (1 episode: "The National Anthem")
2012The SweeneySimon Ellis
2012Assassin's Creed IIIThomas HickeyVideo game. Voice only.
2013Grand Piano
2013In FearMax
2013Hello DarknessMark Cooper
2013The Imitation GameJohn Cairncross

Theatre[edit]

YearTitleRoleTheatreNotes
1998A Streetcar Named DesireGentleman CallerGate TheatrePerformed as Alan Leech
1999This Lime Tree BowerJoeNew TheatrePerformed as Alan Leech
2000The Queen and PeacockWillieGarter Lane Arts CentrePerformed as Alan Leech
2001The Morning After OptimismEdmundAbbey TheatrePerformed as Alan Leech
2002DaYoung CharlieAbbey TheatrePerformed as Alan Leech
2008Everybody Loves SylviaHarlequinProject Arts Centre
2008Zero HourBenny, EnsembleAbbey Theatre
2010PhaedraHippolytusProject Arts Centre
2010On Baile's StrandYoung ManAbbey Theatre
2011EcstasyMickHampstead Theatre, Duchess Theatre

Appearances[edit]

YearAppearanceNotes
2004The PanelTV series (1 episode: "Episode #2.5")
20053rd Irish Film and Television AwardsTV documentary
20074th Irish Film and Television AwardsPresenter

Awards[edit]

YearAwardCategoryWorkResult
2004Irish Film & Television AwardsBest New TalentCowboys & AngelsNominated
2005Irish Film & Television AwardsBest Actor in TelevisionLove Is the DrugNominated
2007Irish Film & Television AwardsBest Actor in a Supporting Role in TelevisionLegendNominated
2013Irish Film & Television AwardsBest Actor in a Supporting Role in TelevisionDownton AbbeyNominated
2013Screen Actors Guild AwardOutstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama SeriesDownton AbbeyWon

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b MacDonald, Marianne (22 July 2007). "Rome Sweet Rome". The Evening Standard – via Infotrac (subscription required). Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c Randall, Lee (15 September 2012). "Interview: Allen Leech on the return of Downton Abbey". The Scotsman. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  3. ^ Butler, Laura (3 November 2012). "'Downton' star Allen loves his role as rebellious Irishman". Irish Independent. Retrieved 10 November 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Feinstein, Sharon (10 September 2000). "I was a fat boy who got bullied at school.. then I found I could act; How Screen Teenage Star Alan Leech Made Drama Out of His Crisis.". The Sunday Mirror – via Highbeam (subscription required). Retrieved 12 November 2012. 
  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. ^ "Allen Leech". Troika Talent. Retrieved November 10, 2012. 
  7. ^ Presenter: George Hook (1 November 2012). "Allen Leech on the Thursday Interview". The Right Hook. Newstalk. http://media.newstalk.ie/newstalk/media_uploads/upload_mp3/011RH_Allen_Leech1.mp3.
  8. ^ Matt Wolf: "A Streetcar Named Desire", [Variety.com], 18 May 1998
  9. ^ Robert Koehler: "Cowboys & Angels", [Variety.com], 13 July 2004
  10. ^ Rich Cline: "Man About Dog". ShadowsOnTheWall.co.UK, [19 Oct. 2004]
  11. ^ Jamie Russell: "Man About Dog" (2004), [BBC.co.UK], 14 November 2004
  12. ^ HBO Rome Official Site
  13. ^ http://twitter.com/#!/rewindthefilm
  14. ^ http://www.troikatalent.com/#/kat-gosling/allen-leech/ Allen Leech's Troika agency profile

External links[edit]