Mary Rose Byrne came into the world on the 24th July, 1979. With her alluring brown eyes and, as director Wolfgang Petersen described her, the face of a Madonna, her fame seems to be growing fast. Her parents are Jane, a primary school administrator and Robin, a semi-retired statistician and market researcher. She is the youngest of four children. Her siblings are George, Alice, and Lucy. She grew up in the bohemian suburb of Balmain in Sydney and attended Balmain Public School, Hunters Hill High School and finally, Bradfield Senior College. At the age of 8 she was acting and attended the Australian Theatre for Young People. After her mandatory schooling life she went to the University of Sydney before attending the William H. Macy and David Mamet developed Atlantic Theatre Company in 1999.
At the age of 13 she was cast in her first film, Dallas Doll (1994). That was followed by small roles in TV shows such as Heartbreak High and Echo Point. After that she felt as though she had a crash course in acting and was despondent when it all stopped and she had to go back to school. At the age of 18 she was cast alongside the late Heath Ledger in the Australian crime film, Two Hands (1999). She started dating the writer and director of the film, Gregor Jordan, and followed him to America after they saw the in-roads that Heath Ledger was making. She won the female Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the 2000 Venice Film Festival for Clara Low’s The Goddess of 1967. Her first big Hollywood movie was a small role in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002). The following year she did three Australian films-The Night We Called It A Day, with Dennis Hopper and Melaine Griffith, The Rage in Lake Placid and Take Away. Her fame rose when she was cast alongside Brad Pitt in Troy by Wolfgang Petersen and followed that with a role in Mare Antoinette directed by Hollywood royalty, Sofia Coppola. She has done a broad range of films from the thrillers Knowing (2009) with Nicholas Cage and Danny Boyle’s Sunshine (2007) to comedies such as Get Him to the Greek (2010) with Russell Brand. Since 2007 she has had a lead role in the FX show Damages opposite Glenn Close and will appear in Kristen Wiig’s Bridesmaids (2011) and Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class.
Rose was in a relationship for six years with Australian writer, director and actor Brendan Cowell which ended amicably in January 2010. Before that she was with Two Hands’ director Gregor Jordan,13 years her senior, who she followed to America on the coattails of the success of Two Hands. She is now with Stephen Merchant, British writer of The Office and Extras. In 2007, Who Magazine put her on its list of Most Beautiful People which was helped in short by her fame as the face of Max Factor from 2004 to 2006. Her stated hobbies include yoga, swimming, bicycle riding, crosswords and reading.
Rose has supported UNICEF Australia by being the face of Designers United in 2007 which had leading designers produce garments to be auctioned off to benefit the fight against AIDs. On top of that she is a graduate and ambassador for NIDA’s Young Actors Studio and has leant her celebrity weight to the Tropfest jury. Her agent is Hylda Queally at William Morris Agency. She currently lives in London.
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