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Julian Fellowes    

Creator of "Downton Abbey," Actor, Author and Oscar-winning Screenwriter

Born in Cairo, Egypt, Julian Fellowes was raised in a privileged home headed by his civil servant father. 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.

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.

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.

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 then became the creator and executive producer of "Downton Abbey" (BBC/PBS, 2010- ), 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.

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