Julian Fellowes received the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2002 for GOSFORD PARK, which was his first produced film. His work was also honored by the Writer’s Guild of America, The New York Film Critics’ Circle and the National Society of Film Critics for Best Screenplay, and Fellowes was named ShoWest’s 2002 Screenwriter of the Year. Directed by Robert Altman, the film starred Emily Watson, Maggie Smith, Helen Mirren, Kristin Scott Thomas and Ryan Phillipe, and received a total of 7 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.
His most recent project is the smash hit series DOWNTON ABBEY, which was created, written and executive produced by Fellowes, who is the sole writer for the series, and focuses on the lives of the aristocratic Crawleys and their servants and features an exceptional cast including Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern and Michelle Dockery. Over its six seasons, DOWNTON ABBEY has received 69 Emmy Award nominations, winning 12 awards. Fellowes has been nominated ten times and received Emmy Awards for writing and for Outstanding Miniseries or Movie in the first season. For its sixth and final season, the show received ten Emmy nominations, including Outstanding Drama Series, as well as a nomination for Fellowes for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series. DOWNTON ABBEY is the most nominated non-U.S. show in the history of the Emmys.
In August 2015, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) honored DOWNTON ABBEY with a Special Award at a BAFTA Tribute event celebrating the outstanding global success of the program. Fellowes was the recipient of the 2015 International Emmy Founders Award presented by the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in November 2015.
DOWNTON ABBEY has been nominated for 11 Golden Globe Awards for its first five seasons, winning for Best Miniseries in 2012. It also won the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series in 2013, 2015 and 2016. The highest rated drama in PBS history, DOWNTON ABBEY is produced by Carnival Films, an NBCUniversal International Studios Company. MASTERPIECE co-produced the series.
Season 6 of DOWNTON ABBEY, which is the final season of the worldwide hit TV drama, premiered on ITV in the UK on September 20, 2015 and premiered on MASTERPIECE on PBS in the U.S. on January 3, 2016 with the final episode airing in the U.S. on March 6, 2016.
Fellowes has also entered into a deal with NBC and Universal Television to create, write and produce the dramatic television series THE GILDED AGE, an epic tale of the princes of the American Renaissance, and the vast fortunes they made – and spent – in late nineteenth century New York. Fellowes also adapted DOCTOR THORNE based on Anthony Trollope’s novel which aired this spring on ITV in the UK. The Weinstein Company acquired the U.S. and Canadian television rights to the series which released it in four parts on Amazon Prime Video on May 20th, 2016.
In 2005, Fellowes made his directorial debut with the critically acclaimed SEPARATE LIES (Fox Searchlight), starring Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson and Rupert Everett, for which he received the Best Directorial Debut award from the National Board of Review. His second feature as both writer and director was FROM TIME TO TIME, a haunting ghost story spanning two worlds and two centuries starring Maggie Smith, Timothy Spall and Dominic West. Fellowes adapted the screenplay from Lucy M. Boston's book “The Chimneys of Green Knowe,” and the film was released by Ealing Studios. It won Best Picture at the Chicago Children’s Film Festival, the Youth Jury Award at the Seattle International Film Festival, Best Picture at the Fiuggi Family Festival in Rome, and the Young Jury Award at Cinemagic in Belfast.
His other film credits include his adaptation of ROMEO & JULIET (2013) directed by Carlo Carlei and produced by Ileen Maisel which starred Douglas Booth, Hailee Steinfeld, Ed Westwick, Christian Cooke, Paul Giamatti, Damian Lewis and Stellan Skarsgard; the thriller THE TOURIST (2010) starring Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck and the original screenplay for the biographical drama THE YOUNG VICTORIA (2009), starring Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend and Paul Bettany which received three Oscar nominations and won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design.
He also wrote screenplays for VANITY FAIR (2004), starring Reese Witherspoon and Jonathan Rhys Meyers directed by Mira Nair; PICCADILLY JIM (2004), starring Tom Wilkinson, Brenda Blethyn, and Sam Rockwell, which was based on P.G. Wodehouse’s classic novel and for television the four-hour miniseries TITANIC for ITV Studios which aired internationally in Spring 2012, including in the US on the ABC Television Network.
In the world of publishing, Fellowes has authored two novels: the international bestseller, “Snobs,” (2005) a witty satire of the English class system and “Past Imperfect,” (2008/2009), a comparison of London Society of 1968 and the present day equivalent. Like “Snobs,” it was a Sunday Times Best Seller. Both books were published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson in the UK and by St. Martin’s Press in the US. His critically acclaimed children’s book “The Curious Adventures of the Abandoned Toys “ was published by Henry Holt Books in 2007. Scripts of the first three seasons of DOWNTON ABBEY that include notes by Fellowes have been published by William Morrow Paperbacks, a division of HarperCollins.
In April 2016, Orion Publishing in the UK and Grand Central Publishing (GCP) in the U.S. launched Julian Fellowes’s BELGRAVIA, a groundbreaking new publishing project which marries cutting edge technology with the age-old art of storytelling. Julian Fellowes’s BELGRAVIA is a story told in 11 installments published week by week in the tradition of Charles Dickens, delivered in text and audio versions directly to your mobile, tablet or desktop via a brand new app. You can read it, or listen to it, or jump between the two. There is extra content, videos, and other bonus features such as music, character portraits, maps of Belgravia, family trees, and period fashions included within each installment. After the final installment was published, Julian Fellowes’s BELGRAVIA was published as a hardcover book this summer, making both the Sunday Times and The New York Times bestseller lists, among others. Grand Central Publishing acquired North American rights to the project from Orion Publishing, a division of Hachette UK.
Fellowes also wrote the “book” for the Tony nominated stage production of MARY POPPINS. A co-production between Disney and Cameron Mackintosh, MARY POPPINS ran for three years in the West End and was also a hit on Broadway for more than six years playing to record-breaking audiences on its national and international tour.
In addition, he wrote the book for SCHOOL OF ROCK – THE MUSICAL which had its world premiere on Broadway and opened on December 6, 2015. SCHOOL OF ROCK – THE MUSICAL is produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber, who has composed 14 new songs to create a score, which also features the original songs from the movie. Fellowes earned his first Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical for SCHOOL OF ROCK – THE MUSICAL in 2016 with the production receiving three other nominations, including Best Musical. SCHOOL OF ROCK – THE MUSICAL begins previews in the West End on October 24, 2016 and opens on November 14, 2016.
Fellowes also wrote a new book for a stage production of HALF A SIXPENCE by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe which is based on the novel “Kipps: The Story of A Simple Soul” by H G Wells. The musical production will run at Chichester Festival Theatre in the summer of 2016.
Educated at Ampleforth College in Yorkshire and Magdalene College, Cambridge, Fellowes studied at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. He completed his training in repertory theatre at Northampton and Harrogate before making his West End début in A TOUCH OF SPRING by Sam Taylor at the Comedy Theatre.
Prior to his writing and directing career, Fellowes was an actor best known for his portrayal of the incorrigible Lord Kilwillie in the BBC’s popular Sunday night series, MONARCH OF THE GLEN. He appeared in FOR THE GREATER GOOD (1991), which was directed by Danny Boyle and was his big acting break. He was also cast in the BBC’s ARISTOCRATS (1999) as the 2nd Duke of Richmond. In the cinema, he was seen in SHADOWLANDS with Anthony Hopkins, DAMAGE with Jeremy Irons, PLACE VENDOME with Catherine Deneuve and TOMORROW NEVER DIES with Pierce Brosnan.
Fellowes’s screenwriting career began in the 1990’s in England with his Emmy award winning adaptation of LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY, as well as the BAFTA nominated THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER, both for the BBC. In January 2011, Fellowes was given a peerage and entered the House of Lords as the Lord Fellowes of West Stafford.
Fellowes and his wife, Emma, live in London and Dorset, England. They have a son, Peregrine.