Carey Hannah Mulligan (born 28 May 1985) is an English actress. She made her film debut as Kitty Bennet in Pride & Prejudice (2005). She had roles in numerous British television programs such as Doctor Who, Bleak House, and Northanger Abbey. In 2008, she made her Broadway debut in the revival of Chekhov'sThe Seagull to critical acclaim.
In 2009, she gained widespread recognition for playing the lead role of Jenny in An Education, for which she nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress and won a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award. She has gone on to star in The Greatest, Never Let Me Go, Drive,Shame, The Great Gatsby, and Inside Llewyn Davis.
Mulligan was born in Westminster, London, England, to a middle-class family. Her father, Stephen, was originally from Liverpool, and her mother, Nano (née Booth), is from Llandeilo in West Wales. Her paternal great-grandfather emigrated from Ireland. She has an older brother, Owain, who is a captain in the British Army. He served in Iraq (Territorial Army) and Afghanistan (British Army). Mulligan's mother is a college lecturer and her father is a hotel manager. Her parents met while they were both working in a hotel in their twenties. When she was three, her family moved to Germany when her father was hired to manage a hotel there. While living in Germany, Mulligan and her brother attended the International School of Düsseldorf. At eight, she and her family moved back to England. As a teenager, she was educated at Woldingham School in Surrey, England.
Her interest in acting sparked from watching her brother perform in a school production of The King and I when she was six. During his rehearsals, she pleaded with his teachers to let her be in the play. They let her join the chorus. While in enrolled in Woldingham School as teen, she was heavily involved in theatre. She was the student head of the drama department there, performing in plays and musicals, conducting workshops with younger students, and helping put on productions. When Mulligan was 16, she attended a production of Henry V starring Kenneth Branagh. His performance emboldened her and reinforced her belief that she wanted to pursue a career in acting. Mulligan wrote a letter to Branagh's mail listing asking him for advice. "I explained that my parents didn't want me to act, but that I felt it was my vocation in life,"she said. Kenneth Branagh's sister wrote back to Mulligan saying, "Kenneth says that if you feel such a strong need to be an actress, you must be an actress."
Her parents disapproved of her acting ambitions and wanted her to attend a university like her brother. At 17, when she was supposed to be applying to universities, she instead secretly applied to three London drama schools, but she was denied by them. During her final year in Woldingham School, actor/screenwriter Julian Fellowes came to give a lecture at her school on the making of Gosford Park. Mulligan briefly talked to Fellowes after this lecture and asked him for advice in making a career out of acting. He told her not to bother with the profession, and that she should instead "marry a lawyer". Undeterred, she later sent Fellowes a letter, saying that she was serious about her acting, and it was her purpose in life. Several weeks later, Fellowes' wife, Emma, telephoned her back, telling Mulligan that she and her husband were going to host a dinner for young, aspiring actors to offer advice, and Mulligan was invited to join them. This led to Mulligan getting in touch with a casting assistant and getting a chance to audition for a role in Pride and Prejudice. Mulligan auditioned three times, eventually winning the part of Kitty Bennett. During her late teens and early twenties, Mulligan worked as a barmaid in several pubs and as an errand-runner for Ealing Studios in between acting jobs.
On 21 April 2012, she married Marcus Mumford, lead singer of Mumford & Sons, in Somerset, England. They were childhood pen pals, lost touch and reconnected as adults.In 2012, Mulligan became the ambassador of the Alzheimer's Society, with the goal of raising awareness and research funding for Alzheimers and dementia. Her grandmother suffers from Alzheimers and no longer recognizes her.Mulligan was among the actresses who took part in the Safe Project—each was photographed in the place she feels safest—for a series to raise awareness of sex trafficking. She donated the Vionnet gown she wore at the 2010 BAFTAs to the Curiosity Shop, which sells its donations to raise money for Oxfam.