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Biography

Atwell was born in London, the only child of Allison, a motivational speaker, and Grant Atwell, a massage therapist, photographer, and shaman. Her mother is English, and her father, an American from Kansas City, Missouri, is of part Native American descent. She has dual citizenship of the UK and the US. Her parents separated when she was two years old. After attending Sion-Manning Roman Catholic Girls’ School in London, she took A-levels at the London Oratory School and trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, graduating in 2005.

Atwell’s first feature film role was in Woody Allen’s 2007 film Cassandra’s Dream, in which she took the part of a stage actress. In 2008, she appeared in the film The Duchess as Bess Foster and the film Brideshead Revisited as Lady Julia Flyte, earning praise and nominations from the British Independent Film Awards and the London Film Critics’ Circle Awards.

In January 2009, Atwell made her West End début in Lindsay Posner’s revival of A View from the Bridge at the Duke of York’s Theatre which earned her a Laurence Olivier Award nomination. Atwell appeared as “415” in AMC Television’s November 2009 miniseries, The Prisoner, a remake of the 1967–68 series by the same name. In 2010, she starred as Freya Deverell in the successful Channel 4 adaptation of William Boyd’s novel Any Human Heart.

Atwell played Agent Peggy Carter in the 2011 superhero film Captain America: The First Avenger. MTV Networks’ NextMovie.com named her one of the “Breakout Stars to Watch for in 2011”. Atwell also voiced the character in the 2011 movie tie-in video game, Captain America: Super Soldier. She reprised the role in the 2013 short film Agent Carter, the 2014 film Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the television shows Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Marvel’s Agent Carter, and will also portray Peggy in the 2015 film Avengers: Age of Ultron.