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Orla Brady
Born Orla Brady
28 March 1961 (1961-03-28) (age 48)
Dublin, Ireland
Occupation Actress
Years active 1991-present
Spouse(s) Nick Brandt (2002-present)

Orla Brady (born 28 March 1961) is an Irish actress.


Early life and career

The second of four children born to Dublin publican Patrick Brady (former owner of the Temple Bar) and his wife Catherine who had appeared in amateur productions at the Gate Theatre[1], Brady first became interested in an acting career after reading works by Germaine Greer and Simone de Beauvoir.

Brady drifted between jobs in her early 20s: My 20s were torture. I found men terrifying. I didn't know how to relate to them and, because of that, there was no way I could have stood on a stage and asked people to look at me. I just wasn't comfortable in my skin.[2]

She gradually moved to London England, working part time as a model. Amongst other assignments she posed for DIY painting guide The Illustrator's Figure Reference Manual. After the original of Jack Vettriano's painting The Singing Butler was sold at auction in 2004 for £750,000,[3] it was revealed the painter used the manual to form his figures for the painting, including Orla for the 'lady in red'.[2] In February 2009, Vettriano published a previously unseen second version of 'The Singing Butler', which feaures the dancing figure for which Orla Brady posed wearing a dark emerald green dress, hence the title, Dancer In Emerald, the original painting for which is on loan to the Kirkcaldy Museum as part of Homecoming Scotland 2009.

In 1986 at age 26[4] she applied via the French Embassy in London for a bursary to study theatre in Paris. After struggling through her French language interview,[1] she studied for a year at the L'École Philippe Gaulier and secured a place at the École Internationale de Mimodrame de Paris founded by Marcel Marceau.


After graduation, she returned to Dublin and immediately won the role of Adela in the House of Bernarda Alba at the Gate Theatre,[5] and then worked with Cambridge-based physical theatre company, Balloonatics, and discovered the fun of theatre through alternative productions of Finnegans Wake and Hamlet.[1]

Her first piece of professional work in England was in Blinded by the Sun at the Royal National Theatre,[4] and developed a career based on both Irish and British located theatre, television an movies. These have included the RTÉ/BBC co-production A Love Divided as Sheila Cloney, RTÉ's Proof and the BBC's Mistresses .

From 2001 she decided to spend a period in Los Angeles, the United States where she has appeared mainly in televisions series, including the short-lived Family Law. She has also starred in Nip/Tuck, a US drama about plastic surgeons as Dr. Jordan, a female plastic surgeon who, unusually for the series, declined sex with Dr. Christian Troy. She later starred as Claire Stark, the divorced ex-wife of James Woods in hit series Shark. In 2008, she appeared in Firewall, the second episode of the BBC TV series Wallander.[6]

She also appeared as Meredith Gates, a fleecing art collector who gets conned herself, in the first season of the British series Hustle.

Orla will reprise her role in series two of Mistresses, filming is due to begin in 2009. In addition, she will be joining the cast of Fringe as the wife of Walter Bishop (John Noble).[7]

Personal life

Having had a low-volume string of relationships, Brady moved to Los Angeles in 2001 for work, and decided to remain single. Invited to a friend's party, the English photographer Nick Brandt became fascinated by her passionate berating of George W. Bush. The couple married in December 2002 in a ceremony with a view of Mount Kilimanjaro.[2]

Brady was brought up with a Catholic education but considers herself an atheist.[8]


External links

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