Liam Neeson filmography and biography
Date of birth: 7 June 1952, Ballymena, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland, UK
Liam Neeson biography
Born in Northern Ireland, UK, Neeson worked as a forklift operator for Guinness, truck driver, assistant architect and an amateur boxer. He had originally sought a career as a teacher by attending St. Mary's Teaching College in Belfast. However, in 1976, Neeson joined the Belfast Lyric Players' Theater and made his professional acting debut in the play "The Risen People". After two years, Neeson moved to Dublin's Abbey Theater where he performed the classics. It was here that he was spotted by director John Boorman and was cast in the film Excalibur, which dealt with the Arthurian legend. From there, he acted in a number of average films and Television Mini-series until he gained notice for his role as the mute in Suspect. Neeson did not play the lead in a movie until he appeared in Darkman. Good performances in Leap of Faith and Husbands and Wives led to Neeson being picked for the role of Oskar Schindler in Steven Spielberg's Schindlers List. For this role, Neeson was nominated for the Academy Award and the Golden Globe. In 1993, he made his Broadway debut in "Anna Christie" in which he co-starred with Natasha Richardson. For his role in this play, Neeson was nominated for a Tony. When he returned to the big screen, Neeson again co-starred with Richardson in the Jodie Foster movie Nell. In the next 2 years, Neeson played characters close to his roots when he was the eighteenth century Scottish Highlander Rob Roy and the Irish revolutionary leader Michael Collins. He was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in her 1999 New Year's Honours List.
Liam Neeson trivia
- On 11 July 2000 he fractured his right pelvis and chipped his left pelvis and sustained multiple abrasions to his legs after hitting a deer while riding his 1989 Harley-Davidson motorcycle in Connecticut. He was thrown off the motorcycle just before it smashed into a nearby tree. A passing motorist found him crawling along the roadside. Due to this accident he was unable to appear as a "Force Ghost" in Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones, and is only heard as a disembodied voice in the scene following Anakin's slaughter of the Tusken Raider Camp.
- (1995) Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#74).
- He was awarded the OBE (Officer of the Order of British Empire) in the 2000 Queen's Millennium Honors List for his services to drama.
- Children, with Natasha Richardson: Michael Richard Antonio Neeson(born on June 22, 1995) and Daniel Jack Neeson (born on August 27, 1996).
- Loves fly-fishing
- Was a boxer as a teen-ager in Northern Ireland, which resulted in getting his nose broken at the age of 15. Nevertheless, he went on to win the Irish Youth Championship. A brief blackout after one of his fights, however, caused him to give up the ring for good.
- (October 1998) Won a libel case against newspapers who claimed that his marriage was in trouble.
- (October 1997) Ranked #69 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list.
- Has dated actresses Helen Mirren, Julia Roberts (I), Brooke Shields, Barbra Streisand and singer 'SinÃ©ad OConnor.
- First worked with future wife actress Natasha Richardson on the TV mini-series Ellis Island.
- Son-in-law of actress Vanessa Redgrave and Tony Richardson (I).
- Was considered for the role of James Bond in GoldenEye.
- Attended Queen's University of Belfast for a short while to study physics and computer science, but flunked out.
- Nominated for Tony award for Best Leading Actor in a play for role in "The Crucible", May 2002.
- Was connected to David Lean (I)'s production of "Nostromo", but he withdrew before pre-production began and Lean's subsequent death.
- He was considered for the role of Van Helsing in Dracula (and reportedly he very much wanted the role), however, he was turned down when Anthony Hopkins showed an interest in the role and ultimately got it.
- Brother-in-law of Joely Richardson.
- Has worked together repeatedly with Laura Linney, including in Kinsey, Love Actually, and in a Broadway revival of "The Crucible", having played husband and wife in Kinsey and "The Crucible". The two have joked about feeling like "an old married couple".
- Wanted to be in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace so badly, he didn't even bother reading the script.
- Graduated from the Gaiety School of Drama in Dublin, Ireland.
- A member of the Dublin Shakespeare Theatre Festival where his past credits include "Hamlet", "King Richard II" and "All's Well That Ends Well".
- He recalled his most embarrassing moment in acting as, relatively early in his career, he auditioned for the role of Fezzik, the giant, in The Princess Bride. Director Rob Reiner had a look of disgust on his face when he realized that Neeson was "only" six-feet-four and AndrÃ© the Giant ended up getting the role.
- Though he was eager to be a part of Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (the first of the Star Wars prequel trilogy), he reportedly hated working on the film, once shooting started, remarking that he "felt like a puppet".
- Was chosen for the role of Gawain in Excalibur primarily because director John Boorman wanted a large man in the role for the duel between Gawain and Lancelot (Nicholas Clay (I)). It was on this film where he met Helen Mirren, who was playing Morgana.
- Auditioned for, and was accepted by, the Bristol Old Vic Drama School in England, but decided to attend the Gaiety School of acting instead so he could stay active with the Dublin Shakespeare Festival while in school.
- Is an honorary board member of the CDS (Conference of Drama Schools) in England, which also includes Sir Anthony Hopkins, Brian Cox (I), Richard Harris (I), 'Peter OToole (I) and Jeremy Irons (to name a few). The board oversees all drama schools in England.
- Was very active with the Royal National Theatre in London during the nineties where he performed a wide range of Shakespeare's works.
- Was twice nominated for Broadway's Tony Award as Best Actor (Play): in 1993 for a revival of 'Eugene ONeill (I)'s "Anna Christie," and in 2002 for a revival of Arthur Miller (I)'s "The Crucible."
- It was his role in Shining Through as a high Nazi party official that got him noticed by Steven Spielberg, and that eventually led to him being cast as Oskar Schindler in Schindlers List.
- Is one of seven actors who played a character in both the "Star Wars" and "Batman" films: William Hootkins (X-Wing pilot/Lt. Eckhardt), 'Garrick Hagon' (Biggs/mugging victim), Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian/Harvey Dent), Mark Hamill (I) (Luke Skywalker/voice of The Joker, Clive Revill, (voice of the Emperor/voice of Alfred Pennyworth), Brock Peters, (radio voice of Darth Vader/voice of Lucuis Fox and Neeson (Qui-Gon Jinn/Ra's Al Ghul).
- Schindlers List is ranked #3 on the American Film Institute's 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time.
- Was Oliver Stone (I)'s very first choice for the role of King Phillip of Macedonia in Alexander.
- Friend of actor Henry Herman (II).
- Was considered for the part of Dracula in the cult classic The Monster Squad.
- In an interview with the BBC, he said that Northern Irish Protestant minister Ian Paisley influenced his decision to become an actor. He use to sneak into the church in his hometown of Ballymena and watch Mr. Paisley preach. "He had a magnificent presence and it was incredible to watch this six foot-plus man just bible-thumping away. It was acting but it was also great acting and stirring too.".
- On 16 March 2009, his wife Natasha Richardson suffered a brain injury in a skiing accident. On 18 March 2009, she died in hospital. Liam interrupted filming of his movie Chloe in order to be by her side in the hospital.
- Received an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Queen's University of Belfast, at the British consulate on May 6, 2009 in New York.
- Friends with Ralph Fiennes.
Liam Neeson quotes
- I never did think of myself as handsome--terribly attractive, yes, but not handsome.
- I think I realized there were two communities in Northern Ireland when I was about nine or 10, not because there was any trouble but because in certain years my parents would keep us indoors on the 12th of July. I couldn't figure that out, because all my mates were out dancing in the streets and I wanted to go out and join them. So it was then that I sensed a "them and us" attitude.
- No, I don't get obsessed with acting. Because in the past when I have got obsessed about it, it really got in the way of the creative process. I've learned to hang the character on the coat-peg at the end of the day, and when I leave in the morning I pick it up again. And I had to work at that because the other way lies a strange sort of madness.
- Laid-back? My wife said that? Well, I guess I am. It takes a lot to get me riled.
- [on the widespread unemployment of actors and their fear of it] The truth is I love the insecurity part of it, it keeps me on my toes. I think you become bland and predictable without the stress and angst. There's a certain lethargy that sets in.
- Before Schindlers List, I wouldn't have believed movies had a lot of power for social change. But having seen what happened with "Schindler's List", and touring the world with it, it really made me realize the power of images.
- Some mornings you wake up and think, "Gee, I look handsome today." Other days I think, "What am I doing in the movies? I wanna go back to Ireland and drive a forklift".
- Acting is invigorating. But I don't analyze it too much. It's like a dog smelling where it's going to do its toilet in the morning.
- In Los Angeles, it's like they jog for two hours a day and then they think they're morally right. That's when you want to choke people, you know?
- I grew up in Northern Ireland, of course. Lived all through the Troubles; saw violence, the results of violence, at first hand. It's always terrified me and fascinated me. So it was a gut reaction, something about how that rage can eat you alive. I can understand that. I haven't known it myself, but I knew guys who did. Some of them aren't on this planet any more because of it.
- (on the state of his family after the death of Natasha Richardson) We're doing good. To be honest, we're taking each day as it comes.