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The Island of Ireland has always been famous for its stage productions, its actors are known worldwide. Today more and more films are being produced in Ireland and many of the films and Irish actors have been nominated for Awards. Some well-known actors whom people believe to be British born are in fact Irish, e.g. Richard Todd, Michael Gambon (the singing detective). Others presumed to be Irish born e.g Cyril Cusack was born in South Africa.  However all have a connection with Ireland and as the old saying goes "never look a gift horse in the mouth" so we can claim them all.

This is only a small example of Irish People north and south of the borderer who have enriched the world of Stage and Screen.

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Pierce Brosnan

Born 1952, County Meath Ireland, educated Drama Centre, England. Off-hand charm and self-deprecating comic timing were two of the qualities this dashing Irish-born leading man brought to his winning portrayal of the sophisticated, often inept, con man/private investigator Remington Steele on the long-running TV series (NBC, 1982-87) of the same name. Brosnan received his cinematic license to kill in 1994 when he was named as the new 007. He proved an elegant yet hard-edged Bond in GoldenEye (1995).
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Gabriel Byrne

Born in Dublin, the son of a cooper, or beer-barrel maker, Byrne is the oldest of six. As a young Dubliner, he delighted in watching American movies projected on white sheets in makeshift theaters created from bus seats. It wasn't until he was 29 that he gave any thought to a career in acting, having spent his colorful young adulthood as an archaeologist, schoolteacher, short-order cook, and bullfighter. Byrne came to America for the first time at the age of 37. His films include, Into the West, Millers Crossing, Point of No Return.
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Colm Meaney

Burly, curly-haired Irish player, best known as Chief Engineer Miles O'Brien on the hit syndicated series "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine." Meaney started at the renowned Abbey Theatre in Dublin before moving to London where he joined 784, a leftist theatre group. Colm Meaney traveled to the US in 1982, settling in the Hell's Kitchen section of Manhattan, and jetted back-and-forth between the New York and London stages. After four years of continent-hopping, Meaney and his wife moved to Los Angeles, where he soon made his feature debut in an obscure sci-fi feature, OMEGA 7 (1986). This genre would prove to be Meaney's TV home for many years when he was cast as Engineer Miles O'Brien on "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (1987-92),the hugely successful syndicated follow-up to a TV legend.
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Brenda Fricker

Born in Dublin in1945.  After gaining experience in Irish theatre and with the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Court Theatre Company in Great Britain, Fricker received great acclaim for her Oscar-winning supporting performance as the determined mother of a son afflicted with cerebral palsy in MY LEFT FOOT (1989). Venturing to Hollywood in the 90s, Fricker played a homeless woman befriended by kid-on-the-loose Macaulay Culkin in the sequel film HOME ALONE 2: LOST IN NEW YORK (1992) and followed up with a more zany mother role in the little-seen SO I MARRIED AN AXE MURDERER (1993). Having acted on English TV on the BBC series "Casualty," Fricker began conquering US TV with roles in the "American Playhouse" presentation LETHAL INNOCENCE (1991) and the miniseries THE SOUND AND THE SILENCE (1993).

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Liam Neeson


Born 7 June 1952 in Ballymena Northern Ireland. It was at senior school, where Liam began acting. Liam came to life in the one-act plays that his teacher began to introduce into his English classes. Liam joined the Belfast Lyric Players Theatre and made his professional debut in 'The Risen People'. Two years later he joined Dublin's Abbey Theatre to perform the classics. Director John Boorman spotted him and Liam became a member of the Excalibur -cast. His Films Include The Mission, with Robert DeNiro. Suspect, with Cher. The Dead Pool, with Clint Eastwood. The Good Mother, with Diane Keaton. Husbands and Wives, with Woody Allen. Shining Through, with Melanie Griffith. Leap of Faith, with Steve Martin. Schindler's List, Nell with Jodie Foster, Rob Roy with Jessica Lange and Michael Collins .
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Siobhain Mckenna

Born Belfast 1923.  Versatile actor, appearing with the Abbey Players, Royal Shakespear Theatre.  Best known for her portrayal of Pegeen Mike in Playboy of the Western World.
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Stephen Rea

Born Belfast 1949. . His first leading role, as a vengeful saxophone player in Neil Jordan's directorial debut, DANNY BOY (1982) His breakthrough came a 10 years  later in another Jordan film, THE CRYING GAME (1992). Cast as an IRA kidnapper who falls for the lover of a man whose death he indirectly caused,  He also enjoyed success on the West End and Broadway stage that same year as one of three political prisoners in Someone to Watch Over Me.

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Maureen O'Hara

She was born "Maureen FitzSimons" on August 17, 1920 in Ranelagh, a suburb of Dublin, Ireland. The second oldest child of Charles and Marguerite FitzSimons. discovered by actor Charles Laughton in 1938, she appeared in "Jamaica Inn" in London.  Laughton brought her to America to star with him in "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."  She became John Fords favourite actress.
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Maureen O'Sullivan

Born on May 17, 1911, in Boyle, County Roscommon, Ireland. Best remembered in the role of the scantily clad Jane, Johnny Weissmuller's mate, in several MGM Tarzan jungle adventures. Educated at a convent near London and at a finishing school in Paris, she was discovered at Dublin's International Horse Show, in 1930, by American director Frank BORZAGE and arrived in Hollywood that same year on a contract with Fox.
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Richard Harris

Born Limerick 1930.  Ruggedly handsome Irish lead who, after stage experience and several good supporting roles in films, came to prominence a British film, portraying a rough rugby player in Lindsay Anderson's THIS SPORTING LIFE His pictures include, THE BIBLE, 1966,  MAJOR DUNDEE, 1965,  RED DESERT (1964), CAMELOT (1967),  A MAN CALLED HORSE (1970),   CROMWELL (1970), THE CASSANDRA CROSSING (1977), THE FIELD (1990), UNFORGIVEN (1992).  He is also known for his hit song MacArthur's Park (1968)


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Cyril Cusack

Born South Africa.  Irish Stage performer, who made his film debut in KNOCKNAGOW (1917), but did not come into his own as a strong screen character until 1947 with Carol Reed's ODD MAN OUT. With his quirky features, playful authority and an elfin face that could register both melancholy and stern morality, Cusack most often played clerics (MY LEFT FOOT, 1989), but in THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD (1965) he played the spy chief, and in Truffaut's FAHRENHEIT 451 (1967) the book-burning fire chief. One of the most acclaimed stage actors of his generation, Cusack was famous for his association with Ireland's national theater, the Abbey; he was at various times also affiliated with the Old Vic and the Royal Shakespeare Company. Cusack also performed on Broadway, as in the memorable 1957 staging of Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten, in which he starred opposite Wendy Hiller. Active in theater administration and production as well, he managed the Gaiety Theater in Dublin for a while in the 1940s and founded his own Cyril Cusack Productions in 1944. He is the father of actresses Sinéad, Niamh and Sorcha Cusack with whom he co-starred in the Gate Theater of Dublin's 1990 production of The Three Sisters.

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Milo O Shea

Born Ireland 1925.  Character player discovered by films in the late 60s, after a lengthy stage career with Dublin's Abbey Players. Impressive as Leopold Bloom in the screen adaptation of Joyce's ULYSSES (1967). His pictures include,  Barbarella, Paddy, The Pilot, The Verdict.

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Bill Whelan

Has been working as a composer and record producer for eighteen years. He has produced and arranged for many Irish and international artisits including U2, Van Morrison, Kate Bush and Paul Brady. His most famous work to date has been River Dance
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Ciaran Hinds

He was born in Belfast, Ireland but now lives in London, England He starred in Oscar and Lucinda (1997), Jane Eyre (1997), Ivanhoe (1997), Cold Lazarus (1996), Some Mother's Son (1996), Persuasion (1995), The Affair (1995), Seaforth (1994), A Dark Adapted Eye (1994), Hostages (1993), The Man Who Cried (1993), Prime Suspect3 (1993), December Bride (1990) The Cook,The Thief, His Wife & HerLover (1989). He has also worked extensively at the Glasgow Citizen'sTheater. He played the lead in Richard III. He has worked with the RoyalShakespeare Company from 1990-1992. His latest projects are TitanticTown and Getting Hurt.
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Jonathan Rys Meyers

Jonathan Rhys Meyers was born July 27, 1977 in Dublin, Ireland. Johnny had a tumultuous childhood and was kicked out of school at 16. He didn't enjoy going to school and soon found himself spending time in pool halls where he was discovered by Hubbard Casting. He was asked to audition outside the hall. They were talent-spotting for the David Puttnam production of The War of the Buttons. Johnny went through three days of auditions and it came down to Gregg Fitzgerald and Johnny for the lead. Gregg got the part and Johnny was crushed and gave up on acting. But he soon got a call for an audition for a Knorr soup commercial and he nabbed it. He was embarrassed by the ad but soon enough he landed his film debut, a very small role in A Man of No Importance. His career was just beginning.
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Peter O'Toole

Born Connemara Ireland 1932.  His work with the Royal Shakespeare theater led to his starring in Lawrence of Arabia 1962, Beckett 1964, Lord Jim 1965, The last Emperor 1987, Zulu Dawn 1997.
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Stephen Boyde
Born Belfast 1928, died 1977.  His most famous part being Messala in the 1959 version of Ben Hur.  His other films include, Hell in Korea 1956, Woman Obsessed 1959, The Fall of the Roman Empire 1964, The Oscar 1966
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Kenneth Branagh
Born Belfast 1960. Directed and starred in Henry V (1989). His other films include, Much Ado About Nothing 1993. Mary Shelly's Frankenstein 1994.
Jim Sheridan Born Dublin 1949. Diecetor and screen writer. His works include My Left Foot, The Field, In the Name of the Father, Into the West, The Boxer.
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Sarah Allgood
Born Dublin 1883, died 1950. Abbey theater from 1904,  Her films include, Juno and the Paycock 1930, Dr Jekyll and Mister Hyde 1941, How Green Was My Valley 1941, The Keys of the Kingdom 1944, Cheaper By the Dozen 1950.  Nominated for supporting actress "How Green Was My Valley"
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Colin Blakely
Born Bangor N.I 1930.   His films include, Saturday Night Sunday and  Morning 1960, This Sporting Life 1963, A Man For All Seasons 1966, Murder On the Orient Express 1974,  The Dogs of War 1980.
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Geraldine Fitzgerald
Born Dublin 1914. Film credits include, Dark Victory 1939, Wuthering Heights 1939, Watch On the Rhine 1943, OSS 1946, Harry and Tonto 1974, Arthur 1981, Poltergeist II 1986.
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Neil Jordan
Born Sligo 1950. Director, author, screenwriter. Credits include, Excalibur 1981, Mona Lisa 1986, We're No Angles 1989, The Crying Game 1992, Interview with the Vampire 1994. Awarded Best Screen Play for "The Crying Game"
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Ray McNally
Born Donegal 1926. Died 1989.  Credits include, Shake Hands with the Devil 1959,Billy Budd 1962, The Mission 1986, The Fourth Protocol 1987, My Left Foot 1989,
Pat O'Connor Born Ardmore. Producer and director. Director of documentries with RTE .  Won British Academy Award for Ballroom of Romance. Other credits include, Fools of Fortune 1990, Circle of Friends 1995.
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Liam Cunningham

He was born in 2 June 1961 in Dublin, Ireland's North Wall area




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Kieron Moore
On stage from 1941, Moore made his first British film in 1944.  All but retired from acting since 1967, Kieron Moore has directed and narrated two Third World documentaries, 1975's The Progress of Peoples and 1979's The Parched Land, and has also served as associate editor of the Roman Catholic periodical The Universe. -- Custer of the West 1968  Run Like a Thief 1967 Arabesque    1966 Crack in the World 1965  The Thin Red Line 1964 The League of Gentlemen 1960  Darby O'Gill and the Little People 1959 Anna Karenina 1948


Liam Redmond Irish actor Liam Redmond spent his first twelve professional years at Dublin's Abbey Players, where he made his debut in 1935's The Silver Tassel. Redmond doubled as producer in ten of the fifty Abbey productions in which he appeared. In 1947, he made his London theatrical bow in The White Steed. Seven years later, he won the George Jean Nathan award for his portrayal of Canon McCooey in The Wayward Saint. In films since 1945's I See A Dark Stranger, Liam Redmond showed up before the cameras on both sides of the Atlantic, appearing with actors ranging from Dirk Bogarde (The Gentle Gunman) to Don Knotts (The Ghost and Mr. Chicken). -- Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide  David Copperfield 1970 Philadelphia Here I Come 1975 Barry Lyndon 1975 The Last Safari 1967 The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders 1965 Kid Galahad 1965 The Cruel Sea  1953 Tobruk 1966 Devil on Horseback 1954


Noel Purcell

Irish actor Noel Purcell graced many a film and TV show with variations of his standard character, the bearded, boozy son of the Auld Sod. Stage-trained in the classics in Dublin, Purcell moved into films in 1934. His days of prominence, which lasted until the '70s, began with 1947's Captain Boycott, and his best part to date was as the elderly salt whose death marooned the lovers-to-be in The Blue Lagoon (1948). Purcell was dominant among Captain Ahab's crew in Moby Dick (1956) and highly visible as a gameskeeper in The List of Adrian Messenger (1963), both films directed by John Huston. In 1955 he was an off-and-on regular on the British filmed TV series The Buccaneers (released to American TV in 1956), and in 1959 Purcell narrated a Hibernian documentary, Seven Wonders of Ireland. One of Noel Purcell's best-remembered appearances of the '60s was as Lebanese-American entertainer Danny Williams' tactiturn Irish in-law in a 1963 episode of TV's The Danny Thomas Show.

The Mackintosh Man 1973 The McKenzie Break 1970 Lord Jim 1965 The List of Adrian Messenger 1963 Shake Hands with the Devil 1959



Colin Farrell

Born Dublin. 1976. Attended Gaeity Drama school.  Well known to world audiences as Danny Byrne in the TV series "Ballykissangle" He also appeared Dublin-born Colin Farrell, a star in Ireland already thanks to his role as Danny Byrne on the hit series Ballykissangel. After two years on the series, he decided to leave and try his luck in other areas of acting. Soon after gaining the services of a Hollywood agent, he landed a leading role in a Joel Schumacher film. At the age of 15, Colin, the son of Irish soccer star Eamon Farrell, chose to pursue a career in acting rather than follow in his father's footsteps. He then entered Dublin's Gaeity Drama School, but left shortly before he landed the role of Danny on Ballykissangel. Following Ballykissangel, Farrell landed, among other places, on the London stage, and finally, LA, where he got an agent. Colin Farrell is on the verge of becoming a big name in ShowBiz thanks to his critically praised role as rebellious Bozz in Joel Schumacher's Vietnam-era drama Tigerland. The film follows a group of young soldiers training in Louisiana on their way to battle. While reviews for the film as a whole have been positive, most writers have singled out Farrell as the flawed hero leading man his Hollywood generation has been waiting for. Hollywood has wasted no time in snatching up Colin. He has three major films slated for release next year, including a major summer western, an Oscar-baiting World War II drama, and a thriller that teams him up with director Schumacher again in Phone Booth - a role that was previously offered to Will Smith and Jim Carrey.. He has also since acted opposite Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey in Ordinary Decent Criminal.
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Amanda Burton
Amanda Burton was born on January 8, 1957 in Ballougry, near Derry in Northern Ireland. Her father was the Head Master of the local school. She is the youngest of four girls.She studied biology and English for her A-levels at LondonDerry High School. She used to land the lead role in school plays. At the age of seven, she told her teachers she wanted to be an actress. And at the age of 18, she left Northern Ireland.  Visit this site for a wealth of information and photographs.

Her work includes, Brookside 1982 (TV), Casualty of War 1990, Peak Practice 1993 (TV), Silent Witness 1996 (TV), Forgotten 1999 (TV), The Whistle Blower 2001 (TV)

Edward Mulhare
Born. April 8, 1923--Died. May 24, 1997).Irish-born American actor who was best known for his portrayal of roles first made famous by Rex Harrison; on Broadway he followed Harrison as Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, and on television he played the ghost of Captain Gregg in "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir," Harrison's role in the film of the same name. Mulhare followed that with a co starring role in the TV series "Knight Rider" Visit Knight Rider for further information.

Joseph Maher

Joseph Maher. Born. Dec. 29, 1933, Westport, County Galway, Ireland.--Died. July 17, 1998, Los Angeles, Calif.. Irish-born American actor who, over the course of his more than 40-year career, filled a variety of character parts on television, in such motion pictures as Heaven Can Wait and Sister Act, and in live theatre, especially the black comedies of Joe Orton.  He had the most ever nominations for a supporting Tony. Other movies include "Out of Towners","Big Foot" , "Mars Attacks" and "My Stepmother is an Alien" 

Barry Fitzgerald

Dublin-born Barry Fitzgerald discounted his family's insistence that he was a descendant of 18th-century Irish patriot William Orr, but he readily admitted to being a childhood acquaintance of poet James Joyce. Educated at Civil Service College, Fitzgerald became a junior executive at the Unemployment Insurance Division, while moonlighting as a supernumerary at Dublin's famed Abbey Theatre. His first speaking role was in a 1915 production; his only line was "'Tis meet it should," which unfortunately emerged as "'Tis sheet it mould." A gust of laughter emanated from the audience, and Fitzgerald became a comedian then and there (at least, that was his story). By 1929, Fitzgerald felt secure enough as an actor to finally quit his day job with Unemployment Insurance; that same year, he briefly roomed with playwright Sean O'Casey, who subsequently wrote The Silver Tassle especially for Fitzgerald. In 1936, Fitzgerald was brought to Hollywood by John Ford to repeat his stage role in Ford's film version of The Plough and the Stars. It was the first of several Ford productions to co-star Fitzgerald; the best of these were How Green Was My Valley (1941) and The Quiet Man (1952). In 1944, Fitzgerald (a lifelong Protestant) was cast as feisty Roman Catholic priest Father Fitzgibbon in Leo McCarey's Going My Way, a role which won him an Academy Award. He spent the rest of his career playing variations on Fitzgibbon, laying on the Irish blarney rather thickly at times. His last film role was as a 110-year-old poacher in the Irish-filmed Broth of A Boy (1959). Barry Fitzgerald was the brother of character actor Arthur Shields, whose resemblance to Barry bordered on the uncanny. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide



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Last Updated 17-Apr-09