Born in Northern Ireland on June 7, 1952, Liam Neeson is an Academy Award-nominated Irish actor. When he was nine, he studied boxing at the All Saints Youth Club. He first stepped on stage at age 11, when his English teacher gave him the role for their school play. At 16, he was still boxing, and had been the Youth Heavyweight Champion of Ireland for three consecutive years.
Liam Neeson worked in a variety of jobs, including fork-lift operator and teacher. He had his first film experience when he played Jesus Christ in the religious film Pilgrim’s Progress in 1979. He then applied for an audition at the Lyric Players’ Theatre in Belfast, and after two years, moved to Dublin to join the Abbey Theatre. Film-maker John Boorman saw Neeson on stage in 1980, portraying Lennie Small in Of Mice and Men. He was then offered the part of Sir Gawain in the Arthurian movie Excalibur in 1981. He appeared on several television shows before landing the role of Seaman Charles Churchill in 1984’s The Bounty, alongside Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins.
Neeson continued to star in other TV movies until he gained attention for his performance as a mute in Suspect in 1987. He then played the lead role in Sam Raimi’s Darkman, bringing him to public attention. In 1993, he starred with Natasha Richardson in the Broadway play Anne Christie. This impressed director Steven Spielberg and Neeson was subsequently offered the role of Oskar Schindler for the 1993 historical drama Schindler’s List. He earned an Academy Award nomination for his performance, as well as BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations.
In 1995, he starred in other period pieces like Rob Roy, followed by Michael Collins in 1996. This won him an award for Best Starring Role at the Venice Film Festival. He then co-starred in the adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables. In 1999, he took on the role of Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn in George Lucas’ Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Liam Neeson also narrated the documentaries Journey Into Amazing Caves and The Endurance: Shackleton’s Antartic Adventure. He also teamed up with Harrison Ford in the 2002 thriller K-19: The Widowmaker. He was also given a part in Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York and was a writer in the ensemble comedy Love Actually.
Neeson was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for his portrayal of the title role in Kinsey. He has also hosted an episode of Saturday Night Live, and has lent his voice to characters in The Simpsons and to the lion Aslan in the 2005 blockbuster fantasy The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. He also starred in the epic Seraphim Falls with Pierce Brosnan in 2007, and voiced Aslan once again in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.
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