Category:20th-century male actors from Northern Ireland
Pages in category "20th-century male actors from Northern Ireland"
The following 40 pages are in this category, out of 40 total. This list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).
The following 40 pages are in this category, out of 40 total. This list may not reflect recent changes (learn more).
1. Liam Neeson – Liam John Neeson, OBE, is an actor from Northern Ireland. In 1976, he joined the Lyric Players Theatre in Belfast for two years and he then acted in the Arthurian film, Excalibur. Between 1982 and 1987, Neeson starred in five films, most notably alongside Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins in The Bounty and Robert De Niro and he landed a leading role alongside Patrick Swayze in Next of Kin. He rose to prominence when he starred in the role in Steven Spielbergs 1993 Oscar winner Schindlers List. Empire magazine ranked Neeson among both the 100 Sexiest Stars in Film History and The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time. Neeson was born in Ballymena, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, the son of Katherine Kitty Neeson, a cook, and Bernard Barney Neeson and he was raised as a Roman Catholic and was named Liam after the local priest. He said growing up as a Catholic in a predominately Protestant town made him cautious, the third of four siblings, he has three sisters, Elizabeth, Bernadette and Rosaleen. At age nine, Neeson began boxing lessons at the All Saints Youth Club, Neeson first stepped on stage at age 11 after his English teacher offered him the lead role in a school play, which he accepted because the girl he was attracted to was starring in it. He continued to act in school productions over the following years, Neesons interest in acting and decision to become an actor was also influenced by minister Ian Paisley, into whose Free Presbyterian church Neeson would sneak. Neeson has said of Paisley, He had a magnificent presence and it was acting, but it was also great acting and stirring too. In 1971, Neeson was enrolled as a physics and computer science student at Queens University Belfast, Northern Ireland, at Queens, he discovered a talent for football and was spotted by Seán Thomas at Bohemian F. C. There was a trial in Dublin and Neeson played one game as a substitute against Shamrock Rovers F. C. After leaving the university, Neeson returned to Ballymena where he worked in a variety of casual jobs and he also attended teacher training college for two years in Newcastle upon Tyne, England, before again returning to his hometown. In 1976, Neeson joined the Lyric Players Theatre in Belfast where he performed for two years and he got his first film experience in 1977, playing Jesus Christ and Evangelist in the religious film Pilgrims Progress. Neeson moved to Dublin in 1978 after he was offered a part in Ron Hutchinsons Says I, Says He and he acted in several other Project productions and joined the Abbey Theatre. In 1980, filmmaker John Boorman saw him on stage as Lennie Small in Of Mice and Men and offered him the role of Sir Gawain in the Arthurian film, Excalibur. After Excalibur, Neeson moved to London, where he continued working on stage, in small budget films and he lived with the actress Helen Mirren at this time, whom he met working on Excalibur. Between 1982 and 1987, Neeson starred in five films, most notably alongside Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins in 1984s The Bounty and Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons in 1986s The Mission
2. James Nesbitt – William James Nesbitt, OBE is an actor and presenter from Northern Ireland. Born in Ballymena, County Antrim, Nesbitt grew up in the village of Broughshane, before moving to Coleraine. He wanted to become a teacher like his father, so he began a degree in French at the University of Ulster and he dropped out after a year when he decided to become an actor, and transferred to the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. After graduating in 1987, he spent seven years performing in plays that varied from the musical Up on the Roof to the political drama Paddywack and he made his feature film debut playing talent agent Fintan ODonnell in Hear My Song. His first significant film role came when he appeared as pig farmer Pig Finn in Waking Ned, with the rest of the starring cast, Nesbitt was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award. In Lucky Break, he made his debut as a film lead, the next year, he played Ivan Cooper in the television film Bloody Sunday, about the 1972 shootings in Derry. A departure from his previous cheeky chappie roles, the film was a point in his career. He won a British Independent Film Award and was nominated for the British Academy Television Award for Best Actor, Nesbitt has also starred in Murphys Law as undercover detective Tommy Murphy, in a role that was created for him by writer Colin Bateman. The role twice gained Nesbitt Best Actor nominations at the Irish Film & Television Awards, in 2007, he starred in the dual role of Tom Jackman and Mr Hyde in Steven Moffats Jekyll, which earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination in 2008. Nesbitt has since appeared in more dramatic roles, he starred alongside Liam Neeson in Five Minutes of Heaven. He also starred in the movies Outcast and The Way and he portrayed Bofur in Peter Jacksons three-part film adaptation of The Hobbit. In 2014, Nesbitt starred in the role as the father character Tony Hughes in the acclaim BBC One drama series The Missing. Nesbitt was married to former actress Sonia Forbes-Adam, with whom he has two daughters and he is an advocate of numerous charities, and in 2010 he accepted the ceremonial position of Chancellor of the University of Ulster. James Nesbitt was born on 15 January 1965 in Ballymena, County Antrim and his father, James Jim Nesbitt, was the headmaster of the primary school in Lisnamurrican, a hamlet near Broughshane, while his mother, May Nesbitt, was a civil servant. Jim and May already had three daughters—Margaret, Kathryn and Andrea, the family lived in the house adjoining the one-room school where Nesbitt was one of 32 pupils taught by Jim, the other pupils were all farmers children. Nesbitt grew up completely around women, and spent a lot of time alone and he had ambitions to play football for Manchester United, or to become a teacher like his father. The family was Protestant, and Lisnamurrican was in Paisley country, the Nesbitts spent Sunday evenings singing hymns around the piano. Jim marched in the Ballymena Young Conquerors flute band and Nesbitt joined him playing the flute, after the Drumcree conflicts, they stopped marching with the band
3. Stephen Boyd – Stephen Boyd was an actor from Glengormley, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. He appeared in some 60 films, most notably as Messala in Ben-Hur and he received his second Golden Globe Award nomination for Billy Roses Jumbo. Boyd was born William Millar in 1931, one of nine siblings, he attended Ballyclare High School. At the age of seven he became known in Belfast for his contributions to the Ulster Radios Children Hour. At the age of sixteen, Boyd quit school and joined the Ulster Group Theater, Boyd learned the behind the scenes tasks of the theater, and eventually worked his way up to character parts and leads, touring both Canada and the United States with stock companies. By the time he was twenty, Boyd had a range of theater experience. In 1952 Boyd moved to London and worked in a cafeteria, Boyd caught his first break as a doorman at the Odeon Theatre. The Leicester Square Cinema across the street recruited him to usher attendees during the British Academy Awards in the early 1950s, during the awards ceremony he was noticed by actor Sir Michael Redgrave, who used his connections to introduce Boyd to the director of the Windsor Repertory Group. Boyds first role which brought him acclaim was as an Irish spy in the movie The Man Who Never Was, the movie was released in 1956. Shortly thereafter he signed a contract with 20th Century Fox, Boyd starred in two Rank productions after this film. Hell in Korea was a role for Boyd, but an interesting movie which featured several renowned actors in early roles, such as Michael Caine. The Beast of Marseilles was a World War II romance set in Nazi-occupied Marseilles with Boyd as the main star, for Twentieth Century Fox, Boyd would be cast in the racially provocative film Island in the Sun, based on the Alec Waugh novel. For Columbia pictures he was cast in the nautical, ship-wreck adventure Abandon Ship. starring Tyrone Power, in early 1957 Brigitte Bardot was given the opportunity to cast her own leading man after her success in Roger Vadims And God Created Woman, and she chose Boyd. Being in the Bardot spotlight added much to Boyds film credit, Boyds first true Hollywood role came as a renegade cowboy in the Fox western The Bravados, which starred Gregory Peck and Joan Collins. It was during the making of film in Mexico in the early part of 1958 that Boyd was finally persuaded to audition for the coveted role of Messala in MGMs upcoming epic Ben-Hur. Many other actors had tried for the role, and Boyd initially wasnt interested, but he eventually signed and began filming in the summer of 1958. Boyd was required to wear contact lenses as Messala, which irritated his eyes. Despite this, Boyd described the experience of Ben-Hur, as the most exciting experience of his life
4. Kenneth Branagh – Sir Kenneth Charles Branagh is a Northern Irish actor, director, producer, and screenwriter originally from Belfast. Branagh trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and he has directed or starred in several film adaptations of William Shakespeares plays, including Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, Hamlet, Loves Labours Lost, and As You Like It. He also narrated the BBC documentary miniseries Walking with Dinosaurs, Walking with Beasts, Branagh has been nominated for five Academy Awards, five Golden Globes, and has won three BAFTAs, and an Emmy. He was appointed a knight bachelor in the 2012 Birthday Honours and was knighted on 9 November 2012, at the age of nine, he moved with his family to Reading, Berkshire, to escape the Troubles. He was educated at Grove Primary School, Whiteknights Primary School, then Meadway School, Tilehurst, at school, he acquired Received Pronunciation to avoid bullying. On his identity today he has said, I feel Irish, I dont think you can take Belfast out of the boy, and he attributes his love of words to his Irish heritage. He is known to have attended the Reading Cine & Video Society as a member and was a member of Progress Theatre for whom he is now the patron. Branagh went on to train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, Branagh was part of the new wave’ of actors to emerge from the Academy. Others included Jonathan Pryce, Juliet Stevenson, Alan Rickman, Anton Lesser, Bruce Payne, in 1984 he appeared in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Henry V, directed by Adrian Noble. The production played to full houses, especially at the Barbican in London and it was this production that he adapted for the film version of the play in 1989. This Twelfth Night was later adapted for television, on the negative side, he has not got the magnetism of Olivier, nor the mellifluous voice quality of Gielgud nor the intelligence of Guinness. A year later in 1989 Branagh co-starred with Emma Thompson in the Renaissance revival of Look Back in Anger, Judi Dench directed both the theatre and television productions, presented first in Belfast then at the London Coliseum and Lyric Theatre. In 2002, Branagh starred at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield as Richard III, in 2003 he starred in the Royal National Theatres production of David Mamets Edmond. Branagh directed The Play What I Wrote in England in 2001, from September to November 2008, Branagh appeared at Wyndhams Theatre as the title character in the Donmar West End revival of Anton Chekhovs Ivanov in a new version by Tom Stoppard. His performance was lauded as the performance of the year by several critics and it won him the Critics Circle Theatre Award for Best Male Performance but did not get him a Laurence Olivier Award nomination, to the surprise of critics. In July 2013 he co-directed Macbeth at Manchester International Festival with Rob Ashford, with Branagh in the title role, Alex Kingston played Lady Macbeth and Ray Fearon featured as Macduff. The final performance of the sold out run, was broadcast to cinemas on 20 July as part of National Theatre Live. He repeated his performance and directorial duties opposite Ashford and Kingston when the production moved to New York Citys Park Avenue Armory in June 2014, the production marked his New York stage debut