By Padraic Flanagan For The Mail On Sunday
Published: 23:05 BST, 15 June 2019 | Updated: 01:55 BST, 16 June 2019
She dazzled as Lady Rose in TV’s Downton Abbey and as Cinderella on the big screen, but behind Lily James’s rise to stardom lies deep family heartache.
The loss of her actor father, James Thomson – who died of cancer in 2008 at the age of 54 – was the low point of the then 18-year-old drama student’s life. Tragically, he never saw his talented daughter light up the screen.
The young actress changed her name from Lily Thomson to Lily James to honour her beloved father and said his death turned her into the workaholic she is today.
Miss James also revealed that the loss of her father came on the heels of the death of his brother, Bruce, who had motor neurone disease, and of her grandmother, actress Helen Horton, who had returned to the US to care for her son.
The loss of her actor father, James Thomson – who died of cancer in 2008 at the age of 54 – was the low point of the