Michelle Fairley is an Northern Irish actress, best known for her role as Catelyn Stark on the HBO series Game of Thrones. She portrays Ava Hessington on the USA Network series Suits.

Suits credits

Ava Hessington

Selected other credits



Other credits

Biographical information

Personal life

Born in Coleraine, Northern Ireland to locally renowned publicans Theresa and Brian Fairley, she grew up in Ballycastle, Northern Ireland, where she attended Catholic grammar school. As a teenager, she became a member of the Ulster Youth Theatre, where she fell in love with acting. Upon graduation, she moved to Belfast where she honed her skills with the repertory company Fringe Benefits, alongside a fellow alumnus of the Ulster Youth Theatre, Conleth Hill.


Fairley appeared in a range of British television shows, including The Bill, Holby City, and Heartbeat. Some of her earlier roles were as Cathy Michaels on ITV1's Inspector Morse in the episode titled "The Way Through The Woods" and as Nancy Phelan in Lovejoy in the season 3 episode titled "Smoke Your Nose".

She took over the role of Mrs. Granger from Heather Bleasdale, who had played Mrs. Granger in Chamber of Secrets, in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, and later starred as Catelyn Stark in the HBO series Game of Thrones, replacing Jennifer Ehle who played the character in the original pilot episode.

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