How did American Elizabeth McGovern wind up in the British production of Downton Abbey?
—Randolph Grimes, Manchester, N.H.
First, the character that McGovern, 50, plays&emdash;Cora, Countess of Grantham&emdash;is an American heiress whose wealth helped save her husband's family home. Second, now that the Evanston, Ill.-born actress is married to British producer/director Simon Curtis (My Week With Marilyn), she makes her home in London.
"I just happened to meet my husband, and then, under great duress came back, but I am so happy that I did. It is a life that I love," says the mother of two daughters about her move to England.
Downton Abbey isn't McGovern's first role for PBS's Masterpiece. She made an appearance in an episode of Agatha Christie's Poirot and co-starred in A Room With a View for ITV in the U.K. But she hasn't completely forsaken American projects.
McGovern recently acted in the film Angels Crest, which she says "is about a terrible accident that happens in a small town in America and the impact that it has on the community. So I sort of go back and forth, but I try to work close to home now, which is England."