Lily James

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Lily Chloe Ninette Thomson was born 5 April 1989) and is known professionally as Lily James. She is an English actress.

She was born in Esher, Surrey, the daughter of Ninette (née Mantle), an actress, and James “Jamie” Thomson, a musician. 

She has two brothers, one older and one younger. Her grandmother, Helen Horton, was an American actress.

She attended Tring Park School for the Performing Arts and subsequently went on to study acting at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, graduating in 2010.

Shortly thereafter, she signed with Tavistock Wood management in London. 

She began her acting career in the British television series Just William (2010). Following her supporting role as Lady Rose MacClare in the period drama series Downton Abbey (2012–2015), James had her film breakthrough playing the title role in the fantasy film Cinderella (2015).

James went on to play Countess Natasha Rostova in the period television series War & Peace (2016).

In 2017, she starred in the action crime film Baby Driver and the war drama film Darkest Hour, both of which were critically and commercially successful.

She then starred as the younger version of Donna Sheridan in the well-known musical film Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018).

James’ father, James Thomson, died from cancer in 2008. She took her father’s given name as her stage name when she learned there was already an actress named Lily Thomson.