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Hayley Elizabeth Atwell (born 5 April 1982) is a British and American actress.[1] She is known for her work in stage productions such as A View from the Bridge, and onscreen, for period pieces as the 2008 drama The Duchess, the 2010 historical drama miniseries The Pillars of the Earth and for her portrayal of Peggy Carter in various films and television series set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including the lead role in the ABC action-adventure series Agent Carter.

Hayley Atwell
Hayley Atwell by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Atwell at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con
Born Hayley Elizabeth Atwell
(1982-04-05) 5 April 1982 (age 35)
London, England
Nationality British-American
Alma mater Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Occupation Actress
Years active 2005–present


Early lifeEdit

Hayley Elizabeth Atwell was born on 5 April 1982[2][3] in London, an only child.[4] Her father, Grant, is a part-Native American[5] from Kansas City, Missouri[6] photographer-turned-shaman[4] who also goes by his Native American name, Star Touches Earth.[4][5] Her mother Alison is British.[6] Atwell has dual citizenship of the United Kingdom and the United States.[7]

By the time Atwell was two years old, Grant and Alison had separated. Grant returned to the United States, and Atwell and her mother lived in a bohemian enclave in the Ladbroke Grove area of west London, where Atwell was raised.[2][4] While she visited her father in the United States every summer, she grew close to her mother, and has described their relationship as more akin to friends in the vein of "Ab Fab" than that of mother and daughter.[2]

After attending Sion-Manning Roman Catholic Girls' School in London, she took A-levels at the London Oratory School.[8] She was offered entry to Oxford University to read theology and philosophy, but she failed to acquire the requisite A-level grades. She would later reflect on this, saying, "I think I kind of sabotaged it to be honest. I remember after it all happened and it was clear I wasn't going to go to Oxford I felt liberated."[9]

Atwell took two years off to travel with her father and work for a casting director.[2] She then enrolled at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama,[9][10] where she trained for three years.[2] Her contemporaries at Guildhall included actress Jodie Whittaker, whom Atwell would later describe as a "great friend", and Michelle Dockery, with whom she would later work in Restless. She also met television writer Gabriel Bisset-Smith, with whom she would later enter into a long-term relationship.[9] Atwell graduated in 2005.[10]


A year before she began her studies at Guildhall School, Atwell's first on-screen role was in a television commercial for Pringles potato crisps,[9][11] the proceeds from which Atwell used to pay her first first-year tuition.[9]

Atwell at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival

Within eight months of graduating from Guildhall, Atwell won her first feature film role, in Woody Allen's 2007 film Cassandra's Dream,[12] playing stage actress Angela Stark.

In 2008, she appeared in the film The Duchess as Bess Foster and the Miramax film Brideshead Revisited as Lady Julia Flyte. After being cast, Miramax suggested she lose weight for the part. Atwell, who has been described as "tall, with the kind of natural bum and boobs that women undergo surgery to obtain", considered the advice, commenting later in a 2015 interview, "I thought, 'OK, I suppose I should.'" Atwell subsequently reconsidered after her co-star Emma Thompson, advised her, "You're not a model. You're an actor." Atwell later reflected, "In the end, they accepted me for who I was. If I've ever had an insecurity about myself in this industry, Emma always has an amazing ability to say something to put it all into perspective, so that you don’t hate yourself."[12]

In January 2009, Atwell made her West End début in Lindsay Posner's revival of A View from the Bridge at the Duke of York's Theatre which earned her a Laurence Olivier Award nomination. Atwell appeared as "415" in AMC Television's November 2009 miniseries, The Prisoner, a remake of the 1967–68 series by the same name.[13] In 2010, she starred as Freya Deverell in the successful Channel 4 adaptation of William Boyd's novel Any Human Heart.

Atwell played Agent Peggy Carter in the 2011 American superhero film Captain America: The First Avenger.[14] MTV Networks' named her one of the "Breakout Stars to Watch for in 2011".[15] Atwell voiced Carter in the 2011 video game Captain America: Super Soldier.[16] She reprised the role in the 2013 short film Agent Carter, the 2014 film Captain America: The Winter Soldier,[17][18] and in the 2015 films Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man. As Carter, she appeared in two episodes of the ABC television show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and as the lead role in Marvel's Agent Carter, which aired from 2015 to 2016.[19] Agent Carter was cancelled by ABC on 12 May 2016.[20] She also provided Carter's voice in Lego Marvel's Avengers[21] and Avengers: Secret Wars.[22] In 2015, Atwell played Cinderella's mother in Disney's live action adaptation of Cinderella directed by Kenneth Branagh.[23]

In February 2016, Atwell was cast to star in the pilot for the ABC, Conviction.[24] On 8 November 2016, ABC announced Conviction would not receive a back-order for more episodes, effectively cancelling the show,[25] and later officially cancelled it in 11 May 2017.[26] On 2 August, it was announced she will star as Evelyn in Disney's live action Winnie the Pooh film Christopher Robin directed by Marc Forster, co-starring with Ewan McGregor.

Public imageEdit

In a 2015 interview, Atwell discussed how her role as Peggy Carter influenced a then-recent tweet she made to her 319,000 Twitter followers about having her image digitally altered on the cover of a German magazine. When one visitor to her page asked her, "Why are you so beautiful?", she retorted, "Why I am so Photoshopped?" In the interview, Atwell stated, "It's important that young girls understand what Photoshop is. I do feel a certain amount of responsibility now that I'm playing Peggy."[9]

Personal lifeEdit

Seven years after meeting television writer Gabriel Bisset-Smith at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, he and Atwell began a long-term relationship. In a December 2012 interview, by which time the relationship had ended, Atwell expressed regret about being as open as she was in interviews about the relationship, saying, "We were friends for seven years before we started a relationship and now we're friends again. I didn't plan that at all – I'm not some amazing ex-girlfriend at all".[9]

As of 2010 Atwell lived in a flat in the Primrose Hill area of London.[2] In 2015, she moved to Los Angeles to be close to the production of Agent Carter.[12]

During the filming of Captain America: The First Avenger in 2010, Atwell took a three-month course in art history and haiku at the Open University.[12]



Year Title Role Notes
2007 Cassandra's Dream Angela Stark
2007 How About You Ellie Harris
2008 Brideshead Revisited Julia Flyte
2008 The Duchess Elizabeth "Bess" Foster
2009 Love Hate Hate Short film
2010 Tomato Soup Movie Star
2011 Captain America: The First Avenger Peggy Carter Main role
2012 I, Anna Emmy
2012 The Sweeney DC Nancy Lewis
2013 Jimi: All Is by My Side[12] Kathy Etchingham
2013 Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter Peggy Carter Short film; Lead role
2014 Captain America: The Winter Soldier Cameo
2014 Testament of Youth Hope Milroy
2015 Cinderella Cinderella's Mother
2015 Avengers: Age of Ultron Peggy Carter Cameo
2015 Ant-Man
2018 Christopher Robin Evelyn Filming


Year Title Role Notes
2005 Whatever Love Means Sabrina Guinness Television film
2006 Fear of Fanny Jane
The Ruby in the Smoke Rosa Garland Television film
The Line of Beauty Catherine "Cat" Fedden 3 episodes
2007 Mansfield Park Mary Crawford Television film
The Shadow in the North Rosa Garland Television film
2009 The Prisoner Lucy / 4-15 5 episodes
2010 The Pillars of the Earth Aliena 8 episodes
Any Human Heart Freya Deverell 4 episodes
2012 Falcón Consuelo Jiménez 4 episodes
Playhouse Presents The Banker Episode: "The Man"
Restless Eva Delectorskaya 2 episodes
2013 Black Mirror Martha Episode: "Be Right Back"
Life of Crime Denise Woods 3 episodes
2014 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Peggy Carter 2 episodes
2015–2016 Agent Carter 18 episodes, lead role
2016–2017 Conviction Hayes Morrison 13 episodes, lead role
2016 Return of the Spider Monkeys Narrator Voice role (TV Documentary)
2017 Avengers: Secret Wars Peggy Carter Voice role
2017 Howards End Margaret Schlegel 4 episode mini-series, lead role

Video gamesEdit

Year Title Voice role
2011 Captain America: Super Soldier Peggy Carter
2016 Lego Marvel's Avengers


Year Title Role Venue
2005 Prometheus Bound Io / Force Sound Theatre
2006 Women Beware Women Bianca Royal Shakespeare Company
2007 The Man of Mode Belinda Royal National Theatre
2008 Major Barbara Barbara Undershaft Royal National Theatre
2009 A View from the Bridge Catherine Duke of York's Theatre
2011 The Faith Machine Sophie Royal Court Theatre
2013 The Pride Sylvia Trafalgar Studios
2018 Dry Powder Jenny Hampstead Theatre


Year Title Role Notes
2006 Doctor Who: Blood of the Daleks Asha Gryvern BBC Radio 7
2007 Felix Holt, the Radical Esther Lyon BBC Radio 4
2008 The Leopard Angelica BBC Radio 3
Doctor Who: The Doomwood Curse Eleanor BBC Radio 7
2010 Doctor Who: The Whispering Forest Seksa BBC Radio 7
2013 Doctor Who: The Sands of Life President Moorkurk
2014 The Martian Chronicles Spender BBC Radio 4
2016 The Magus Lily
2017 Ecco[27] Jo Miles
2017 Cassandra at the Wedding[28] Cassandra Edwards

Awards and accoladesEdit


  1. ^ "Hayley Atwell to star in US series". The Belfast Telegraph. 2 January 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Hayley Atwell: 'Gentlemen swoon but only on set'". The Independent. Retrieved 30 May 2017. 
  3. ^ "Hayley Atwell: Overview". Zimbio. Retrieved 30 May 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d Fox, Chloe (17 July 2011). "Action girl: Hayley Atwell interview". The Daily Telegraph. 
  5. ^ a b Kellaway, Kate. "Hayley Atwell interview". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  6. ^ a b Gomez, Patrick (7 January 2015). "5 things to know about Hayley Atwell". People. 
  7. ^ Fischer, Paul (2008). "Hayley Atwell Brideshead Revisited & The Duchess Interview". Retrieved 20 April 2009. 
  8. ^ White, Leslie (21 August 2011). "Sizzling for England". Sunday Times. London. p. 6. a shaman and healer based in Kansas City 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Gilbert, Gerard (15 December 2012). "Hayley Atwell: 'I've turned out all right'". The Independent.
  10. ^ a b "Hayley Atwell". Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Retrieved 29 May 2017. 
  11. ^ "The Line of Beauty (2006) - Hayley Atwell's career in pictures". The Daily Telegraph.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Rafanelli, Stephanie (2 July 2015). "Hayley Atwell: 'I've always felt quite genderless. Which is odd, because I have big boobs'". London Evening Standard. 
  13. ^ Pisarra, Drew (24 July 2008). "Four More Residents of The Village". AMC. Archived from the original on 1 July 2012. 
  14. ^ "Captain America Movie: Peggy Carter Cast". 14 April 2010. Archived from the original on 4 July 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2010. 
  15. ^ Evry, Max (5 January 2011). "25 Breakout Stars to Watch for in 2011". MTV. Archived from the original on 8 March 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2011. 
  16. ^ Shirey, Eric (29 July 2011). "Captain America: Super Soldier Video Game Review". Yahoo Movies. Archived from the original on 20 April 2013. Retrieved 20 April 2013. 
  17. ^ "'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' filming begins". 8 April 2013. Archived from the original on 8 April 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  18. ^ Breznican, Anthony (11 July 2013). "'Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter' -- FIRST LOOK at poster and three photos from the new short!". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 11 July 2013. 
  19. ^ Strom, Marc (10 May 2014). "First Details on Marvel's Agent Carter". Archived from the original on 10 May 2014. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
  20. ^ Jusino, Teresa (13 May 2016). "Agent Carter Cancelled After Two Seasons, Mockingbird Not Flying in Marvel's Most Wanted". The Mary Sue. 
  21. ^ Minor, Jordan (9 October 2015). "Lego Marvel's Avengers bricks the Marvel Cinematic Universe". 
  22. ^ Couto, Anthony (8 December 2016). "NYCC LIVE! Marvel Animation Panel ft. Ultimate Spider-Man, GOTG & More".
  23. ^ "Hayley Atwell joins Kenneth Branagh's 'Cinderella'". Digital Spy. 22 August 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2013. 
  24. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (10 February 2016). "Agent Carter Star Hayley Atwell To Topline ABC Drama Pilot Conviction". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 2 March 2016. 
  25. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (8 November 2016). "Conviction Not Getting Back Order From ABC; All Existing Episodes Will Air". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 8 November 2016. 
  26. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (11 May 2017). "Imaginary Mary Among Several Freshman Series Canceled By ABC". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 12 May 2017. 
  27. ^ "Drama: Ecco". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  28. ^ "Drama: Cassandra at the Wedding". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 25 November 2017.

External linksEdit