Louisa Jacobson — things you didn't know about 'The Gilded Age' star

Louisa Jacobson stars in the lavish new HBO and Sky Atlantic drama.
Louisa Jacobson stars in the lavish new HBO and Sky Atlantic drama. (Image credit: Getty Images)

American actor Louisa Jacobson is about to make her screen debut in the lavish new period drama penned by Julian Fellowes, The Gilded Age

The 31-year-old actor plays Marian Brook, a penniless young woman and orphan who moves from Pennsylvania to New York to live with her two rich aunts.

The nine-part series is being billed as the American Downton Abbey and promises to be a huge hit when it arrives on HBO on Jan. 24 in America and a day later on Sky Atlantic in the UK.

Set in 1882, as the American economy boomed and a wealthy new elite was established, the drama focuses on the battle between old and new money, with the young Marian caught in the middle of this catty culture clash.   

As her old money aunts, Agnes van Rhijn (Christine Baranski) and Ada Brook (Cynthia Nixon) look down their well-powdered noses at George and Bertha Russell, their new money neighbors, Marion has to decide if she will uphold the traditions of the past or forge her own modern path.

And if you're still wondering why Louisa looks familiar, then here's all you need to know about the rapidly rising star…

1. Louisa Jacobson is Meryl Streep's daughter

Meryl Streep and Louisa Jacobson

Meryl Streep with her daughter Louisa Jacobson.  (Image credit: Getty Images)

Louisa Jacobson is the youngest daughter of Hollywood superstar Meryl Streep and sculptor Don Gummer.

Married in 1978, Meryl and Don have four children all of which are now involved in the arts.

Eldest son Henry Wolfe, 42, is a musician, Mamie Gummer, 38, is an actress best known for her role in The Good Wife and its spin-off The Good Fight. Their third child, Grace Gummer, 35, is also an actress, who has recently starred alongside Christian Slater in the dark thriller Mr. Robot.

Louisa Jacobson (centre) and her family.

Meryl Streep and Don Gummer with their three daughters Grace, Mamie and Louisa.  (Image credit: Getty Images)

Despite their famous mother, the children grew up away from the glare of the cameras, although as Meryl revealed in an interview with The Telegraph, her children always loved to perform. 

Talking about her eldest daughter Mamie, the Mamma Mia! star said:

"She would organize her sisters and the neighborhood children into plays. The neighborhood children would play little animals usually and she would be the queen and her sisters would be ladies in waiting.

"Sometimes there was a murder of one of her sisters. These plays were extremely serious. There were only two rules: you couldn't laugh, and you couldn't leave. And they were very long."

2. 'The Gilded Age' is Louisa Jacobson's first major TV role

Louisa Jacobsen explored the subtleties of playing Marian Brook.

Louisa Jacobson stars as Marian Brook. (Image credit: Sky)

While acting certainly runs in the blood of her talented family, The Gilded Age is Louisa's debut TV role.

And what a role to kick off your career with!? The drama is told from Marian's perspective as she navigates the complexities of Manhattan high society and decides what kind of life she wants to live as America teeters on the edge of a new modern age.

Speaking about the role Louisa told us: "I'm a huge Downton Abbey fan and period drama is my favorite genre. Marian knows that her probable fate will be to marry as well as she can and survive, but she wants more than this. She is curtailed by the rules of her time, but there is a modern streak in her, too. She wants to do something with her life. She wants to be fulfilled."

In 'The Gilded Age' Larry (Harry RIchardson) catches the eye of Marian (Louisa Jacobsen).

Marian with Larry played by Harry Richardson. (Image credit: Sky)

Despite having one of the most celebrated and well-known actors of the modern era as her mum, Louisa was still nervous about starting work on the much-anticipated drama. She found comfort from two of her more experienced co-stars, Sex and The City, and And Just Like That star Cynthia Nixon and her mum's Mamma Mia! co-star Christine Baranski, who play her on-screen aunts Ada and Agnes.

"I was terrified most of the time in the beginning, but they made me relax," Louisa said. "I loved both of them. They were wonderful to work with and we had a great time."

More filming of 'The Gilded Age'.

Denée Benton as Peggy Scott and Louisa Jacobson as Marian Brook. (Image credit: Getty)

3. Louisa is the reason mum Meryl starred in 'Mamma Mia!'

The stars of Mamma Mia!

Christine Baranski, Meryl Streep and Julie Walters in Mamma Mia! (Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Little did a young Louisa know that the celebrations for her 11th birthday would have such a huge impact on her mum's life and career.

In an interview with The Daily Record, Meryl reveals how she took birthday girl Louisa and a group of her friends to see the Broadway version of Mamma Mia!. They enjoyed it so much, Meryl wrote a letter to the production to thank them for such a great night. 

When that same team (including producer Judy Craymer) then set to thinking about turning the stage production into a movie, they remembered Meryl's letter and asked her to be part of it, which of course she was delighted to do.  

4. Louisa Jacobson began her career as a model

Louisa Jacobson.

Model behaviour, Louisa Jacobson strikes a pose.  (Image credit: Getty Images)

Louisa started her career as a model and appeared in glossy magazines and in a Christian Dior campaign. Although used to dressing for the part, Louisa found some of Marian's period dress a challenge.

She said: "I wore a corset that was cinching my waist and very tight collars. At first I didn't know how to move, but I think that works for Marian's character. She's in this new place that's not familiar and she's not comfortable."

5. The family grew up away from the spotlight

Mamie Gummer, Grace Gummer and Louisa Jacobson

Sister act – Mamie, Grace and Louisa. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Louisa was born in LA, but moved to the small town of Salisbury, Connecticut when she was still a young child. It meant despite their mum Meryl starring in some of the biggest movies of the time, including Kramer v Kramer and Sophie's Choice (both of which were Oscar-winning, with her performance in The Iron Lady making it an Oscar hat-trick), the children were protected from the pressures of being in the public eye.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Mamie Gummer said about her megastar mum: "Her priority was being our mother, not being a celebrity, and it certainly wasn't like we had Warren Beatty to the house every Thursday. One of the smartest things my parents did was to move to the country when we were small.' 

Louisa Jacobson's Fact File

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about The Gilded Age actor....

How old is Louisa Jacobson?

Louisa was born on June 12, 1991, making her 31 years old. 

Is Louisa Jacobson married?

No, Louisa is not married. 

Does Louisa Jacobson have any children?

No, Louisa does not have any children.

Where was Louisa Jacobson born?

Louisa Jacobson was born in Los Angeles, California, USA.

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.

Joanne Lowles
Freelance writer and editor

Joanne Lowles has been writing about TV since 2002. After graduating from Cardiff University with a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism, she worked for All About Soap magazine covering the ups and downs of life on the cobbles, the square and the Dales. 

Next came nearly 10 years at TV Times magazine as a writer and then deputy features editor. Here she spent many happy days interviewing the biggest names in entertainment and visiting the sets of some of our most popular shows including Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife and Strictly Come Dancing

With a love of nature and wildlife she’s also interviewed the leading experts in this area including David Attenborough, Chris Packham and Steve Backshall. She’s also travelled the world visiting Mongolia, Canada and South Africa to see how the best in the business make the most brilliant natural history documentaries. 

Freelance since 2013, she is now is a digital writer and editor for What to Watch, previews the best on the box for TV Times mag each week and loves being constantly surprised, entertained and informed by the amazing TV that she is lucky enough to watch.