Margaret Ann Downs was born on 29th January 1941 in Albury, a small town on the border between New South Wales and Victoria, Australia. Only six months later her father, James Downs, was killed whilst on active service as a soldier in North Africa. This tragedy meant that Maggie's mother, Chrissie Downs, had to bring up Maggie and her older brother Adrian all by herself.
Maggie grew up in Newcastle on the East coast of Australia. She was early interested in acting and she appeared in several school plays. At the age of fourteen and ten months she quit school simply because she couldn't stand it any more. Her mother than sent her to drama lessons, perhaps mostly to keep her out of mischief. Some years later she got her first professional acting job with John Alden's Shakespeare Company. After that she promptly gave up acting and instead worked with a lot of different things, like working in a dress shop, being a doctor's receptionist, comparing fashion parades and different jobs in bars, restaurants and hotels.
During these years she met merchant seaman Norman Kirkpatrick, born in Northern Ireland. They got married in September 1963. Then they moved from Newcastle to Sydney, where Maggie decided to resume her acting career. She appeared in two plays before she again put her career on hold, this time because of the arrival of her daughter, Caitlin. As Caitlin got a little older Maggie continued her work at the theatre, and eventually also on TV and in movies.
Maggie is now divorced and she has got two grandchildren, Daniel and Megan. Apart from her acting career she has for a long time been involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS and she has been awarded the Sydney Gay Community's DIVA award for her work.