Elizabeth McGovern begged Fellowes for Downton part

Elizabeth McGovern did her best to persuade 'Downton Abbey' creator Julian Fellowes to give her a role on the show by writing a letter to him

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Elizabeth McGovern

Elizabeth McGovern

Elizabeth McGovern wrote to Julian Fellowes begging to be cast in 'Downton Abbey'.

The 52-year-old US actress - who has daughters Matilda, 20, and Gracie, 15, with English husband Simon Curtis - "identified" with the role of Cora Crawley, an American heiress living in the UK with her British husband, so did her best to persuade the show's creator to give her the role.

She said: "I was such a huge fan of Julian and told him in my letter how much I loved him.

"I don't know if it had any impact on me getting the part, but it didn't hurt."

Although Elizabeth is comfortable with her life in the UK, she admits it felt like "heaven" having fellow US stars Paul Giamatti and Shirley MacLaine appear in 'Downton'.

She said: "I enjoy living here. But it was like heaven having Shirley MacLaine and Paul Giamatti on the set of 'Downton'. I loved having other Americans there. I felt we spoke the same language."

Elizabeth also fronts rock band Sadie and the Hotheads and doesn't think she would have had the confidence to carve out a second career if she'd stayed in America.

She added to Grazia magazine: "It all started on set. I was practising in between takes. I would never have done it if I'd stayed in America - I had too much of an image of myself hanging over my shoulder. Something about moving to the UK freed me from my past and that self-identity so I could just do it."

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