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Who Plays Sister Mary in 1923? Meet Jennifer Ehle

Who Plays Sister Mary in 1923? Meet Jennifer Ehle

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Renowned American actress, Jennifer Ehle, is among 1923’s star-studded cast, which also comprises Harrison Ford (Jacob Dutton), Helen Mirren (Cara Dutton) and a former James bond, Timothy Dalton (Donald Whitfield).

In 1923, Jennifer Ehle plays Sister Mary who is an Irish nun working alongside Father Renaud (Sebastian Roché) at Montana’s School for American Indians.

Jennifer Ehle is an American actress born on 19 December 1969 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She is 5ft 7 (170 cm) in height and spent most of her childhood in Asheville, North Carolina, but also lived in other cities across the UK and US.

Actress Jennifer Ehle at the New York Film Festival in 2022
lev radin / Shutterstock.com

Ehle is known for her spectacular performances in the miniseries Pride & Prejudice and other film productions, such as The King’s Speech, Contagion, A Little Chaos, and She Said.

She is also a theatre actress who has graced many venues, including the Albery Theatre, the Delacorte Theatre, the Vivian Beaumont Theatre and Park Avenue Armory.

Jennifer Ehle’s Notable Movies and TV Shows

  • The Camomile Lawn (1992) as Calypso
  • Backbeat (1994) as Cynthia Powell
  • The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (1992) as Empress Zita of Austria
  • Rik Mayall Presents: Micky Love (1993) as Tamsin
  • Pride and Prejudice (1995) as Elizabeth Bennet
  • Wilde (1997) as Constance Lloyd Wilde
  • Melissa (1997) as Melissa
  • Sunshine (1999) as Valerie Sonnenschein
  • The River King (2005) as Betsy Chase
  • Before the Rains (2008) as Laura
  • The King’s Speech (2010) as Myrtle Logue
  • The Adjustment Bureau (2011) as Brooklyn Ice House Bartender
  • A Little Chaos (2014)
  • Black or White (2014) as Carol Anderson
  • The Blacklist (2014-15) as Madeline Pratt
  • Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) as Carla Wilks
  • The Fundamentals of Caring (2016) as Elsa
  • Fifty Shades Darker (2017) as Carla Wilks
  • The Professor and the Madman (2019) as Ada Murray
  • Suspicion (2022) as Amy
  • The Good Fight (2022) as Judge Ashley Burnett
  • She Said (2022) as Laura Madden
  • 1923 (2022) as Sister Mary

7 Facts about Jennifer Ehle

Her Mother is an Award-Winning Actress

There’s no doubt that acting runs in Ehle’s family. Her mother is the award-winning British film icon Rosemary Ann Harris. She began acting in the 1950s and has portrayed many roles in a raft of movies and TV shows.

In 1998, Harris played a voice role in the graphic adventure video game Dark Side of the Moon.

Jennifer Ehle as Carla Wilks in Fifty Shades of Grey
Jennifer Ehle as Carla Wilks in Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)

And here’s an even more impressive fact—the English actress is yet to bow out, despite being in her mid-90s. In 2018, she appeared in the Broadway revival of My Fair Lady, portraying the role of Mrs Higgins, showing that her passion for the art is limitless. 

Her Father Was a Famous Author

Like her mother, Jennifer Ehle’s father, John, was also in the limelight. He was a talented author and screenwriter whose fame soared after his fiction set in the American South’s Appalachian Mountains. His work was so exemplary that it earned him the moniker “the father of Appalachian literature”.

John wrote many novels and non-fiction books, including Move Over Mountain (1957), The Journey of August King (1971), Trail of Tears (1988) and The Widow’s Trial (1989).

Sadly, he died from congestive heart failure in 2018 when he was 92.

Also read: Who Plays Spencer Dutton in 1923? Meet Brandon Sklenar

She Bagged Her First Role as A Toddler

Perhaps, Jennifer Ehle was destined to be an actress. She landed her first role when she was only a few years old, appearing in a Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire.

Harris, Ehle’s mom, portrayed Blanche DuBois in the play, so she must have felt comfortable and safe on stage.

Her Elizabeth Bennet Was Life-Changing

Actress Jennifer Ehle who plays the character Sister Mary in the 1923 TV series
Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

Most actors have a career-defining role that catapults them to fame and changes the trajectory of their lives. For Ehle, it was Elizabeth Bennet in the 1995 miniseries Pride and Prejudice.

Ehle’s portrayal of Bennet won her Best Actress (TV) award at the BAFTA Awards in 1996. At the time of that win, she was only 26, and her mother, Harris, was blissed out when she heard the news.

“Her mother burst into tears. Against formidable competition, Ehle had won a BAFTA award, the British Emmy, for her television performance as Elizabeth Bennet in “Pride and Prejudice.” A piece published by The New Yorker revealed.

She Almost Portrayed Game of Throne’s Catelyn Stark

Here’s an interesting fact that most of Jennifer Ehle’s fans don’t know. The Pride and Prejudice star was initially cast as Catelyn Stark in HBO’s Game of Thrones, and she even showed up to play the role in the show’s pilot episode.

Unfortunately, the actress had given birth to her daughter, Talulah, several months before, and she felt unprepared to get back in the saddle just yet.

Sister Mary and Teonna Rainwater in 1923

“Well, it was entirely personal. My daughter was seven months old when we did the pilot. It was too soon for me to be working, emotionally and bonding-wise, but I needed to do it and I was also passionate about the books.” Ehle told The Daily Beast.

Also read: Who Plays John Dutton Sr in 1923? Meet James Badge Dale

She Has Mastered Her Craft

Jennifer Ehle has been in the film industry for decades, and her acting skills remain unparalleled. Some of the most reputable figures in the acting scene consider her an incredibly talented and diligent actress.

For instance, American filmmaker, Kathryn Bigelow, wouldn’t mind collaborating with her on any day, based on an article published by the Chicago Tribune.

“In an ideal world, I would work with her on every project I do,” Bigelow said.

Legendary director, writer and producer Jack O’Brien believes Ehle’s capability to command the stage is remarkable.

“She’s the actress of her generation,” The Tony Award winner remarked.

“I don’t think anyone can touch her. She has the quiet authority that marks a star. She commands the stage, and the screen, without even seeming to acknowledge that she’s being watched.” O’Brien added.

Also read: 1923 Cast and Where You’ve Seen Them Before

She’s Won Multiple Awards

Ehle’s commitment and brilliance as an actress haven’t gone unnoticed. Besides the BAFTA award she received for her Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice, she’s won several others.

For instance, Ehle walked off with the Best Actress in a Play Tony Award in 2000 for her portrayal of Annie in The Real Thing. She also bagged another Tony Award in 2007 for her role in The Coast of Utopia.

Here is an interview with Jennifer Ehle (Sister Mary) and Aminah Nieves (Teonna Rainwater) about 1923:

Frequently Asked Questions about Jennifer Ehle

Are Jennifer Ehle and Meryl Streep related?

Although Jennifer Ehle and Streep bear some physical resemblance, they’re not relatives.

Who is Jennifer Ehle’s husband?

Jennifer Ehle’s husband is famous writer Michael Ryan—they got married in 2001 and now have two children. 

Did Jennifer Ehle date Colin Firth?

Ehle and Firth were in a relationship between 1994 and 1995 after filming Pride and Prejudice.