Actor Stories: Ann Dowd Perseveres, Getting Her Big Break at Age 56!

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  • Actor Stories:
    Ann Dowd Perseveres, Getting Her Big Break at Age 56!

    Mrs. Dowd refused to give up no matter how long it took

    (arranged by AM Staff)

    We strongly encourage all actors to read this inspirational story, first posted in Glamour Magazine. Ann Dowd’s career first took off when she was cast in the 2012 film, Compliance.

  • Critically-acclaimed roles on HBO’s The Leftovers and Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale soon followed, each earning her Primetime Emmy Award Nominations.

    (Ann Dowd in Compliance)

    What is remarkable about Dowd’s story is the perseverance and courage it took for her to reach these heights. According to Dowd, she had to watch her classmate reach stardom, while she struggled for decades! But she refused to quit.

    Here’s a sample from the piece:

  • “I want to tell you a brief story, if I may. When I was a young actress, 30 or so, I was on the way to my waitress job in my black pants and my white shirt and my black tie—glamour is not the word that would come to mind at all. Feminine? No. Nothing. ”

    “I looked across the street, and there were several limousines parked outside the theater. And I looked at the marquee and it said, “About Last Night starring Elizabeth Perkins,” who was my classmate. I was going to wait on tables, and she was going to a premiere of her film that would launch her into stardom.”


    (Ann Dowd in Handmaid’s Tale)

    “I got through the shift, and I went home on my porch, and I wept and screamed into the night, “When?! When is my turn?” And it was one of those dark nights of the soul—we’re all familiar, I’m sure. And a voice—I’m not kidding—quiet, probably from the inside, said, “It will all be fine. It will all be all right. You will be in your fifties. You will be 56.” And I said, “Oh no! No, no!”—missing the whole point of the voice—I said, “I’m not waiting until my fifties. I have no intention, so you can take that message and…”

    “Well, as it turns out, I was in my fifties, and I was 56 when I did the film called Compliance, which shifted things for me tremendously.”


    A voice—I’m not kidding—quiet, probably from the inside, said, ‘It will all be fine. It will all be all right.’

    (Ann Dowd)


    How uplifting and inspiring!

  • Here are a few other passages we found poignant:

    “For some reason I had an unshakable faith that all would work out. I don’t know if it’s because of that voice, which I tried to stop and kill, or because I just thought, I am an actress, and that is what I’m going to do.”

    “Celebrate the small victories. Every time I got a role, I thought it was the greatest thing in the world.”

    “When I didn’t have an audition or anything happening, I would go straight to the bedroom, I would take out my monologues, and I would do them. And I would remind myself in the mirror, “You are an actress, and you are in charge of your life.”


    Celebrate the small victories. Every time I got a role, I thought it was the greatest thing in the world.


    Perseverance, determination and willpower! Mrs. Dowd refused to give up no matter how long it took. Her patience is now being richly rewarded and she is certainly living her best life!

    Please read the entire article here and be inspired: Glamour Magazine


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