Elizabeth McGovern is an American actress and musician best known for her films roles as Jeannine Pratt in Ordinary People (1980) and as Evelyn Nesbit in Ragtime (1981), for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.
She is also known for playing Robert De Niro's romantic interest, Deborah Gelly, in Sergio Leone's gangster epic Once Upon a Time in America (1984) and for starring as Cora, Countess of Grantham, in the period drama television series Downton Abbey, since 2010.
While studying at the Julliard School in New York City, Illinois native McGovern was offered a part in her first film, Robert Redford's Ordinary People. The following year she earned an Academy Award nomination for her role in Ragtime.
She went on to star with Robert De Niro in the 1984 cult gangster movie Once Upon A Time In America and later opposite Mickey Rourke in Johnny Handsome.