- Actor, Voice
Jun 07, 1952 in Northern Ireland, U.K
Jun 07, 1952 in Northern Ireland, U.K
One of the most versatile, charismatic and talented artists, Liam Neeson is an actor of Irish descent who is best known for his work in critically acclaimed such as Schindler's List (1993) Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) and Taken (2004). The winner of several prestigious awards, Neeson started his acting career with Pilgrim’s Progress in 1978 and over the course of four decades he has established his name in ‘The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time’ list.
Neeson was born in Ballymena Ireland to Katherine Neeson and Bernard Neeson. Neeson started learning boxing at a young age of 11 at the All Saints Youth Club and later became Ulster's senior boxing champion. Neeson did his schooling at the Gaiety School of Drama in Ireland. He first appeared on stage at the age of 11 when his English teacher offered him a title role in a play. After that he kept acting in in school plays. In 1971, Neeson went to Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland where he pursued his graduation in Physics and Computer Science.
In 1994, Neeson married actress Natasha Richardson whom he had met while performing a play together in 1993 and has two sons, Michael and Daniel. His wife Natasha died in a tragic accident in 2009 as she had sustained severe head injury while skiing accident in Mont Tremblant Resort, north of Montreal.
Neeson started his career in the film industry in the year 1976 when he joined Belfast’s Lyric theatre. Two years later the actor began performing the classics at Dublin's famed Abbey Theatre until he made his debut on the big screen with Pilgrim’s Progress in 1978. The actor gained prominence with his role in the British dramatic fantasy film, Excalibur (1981) directed by John Boorman. Whilst the film won opened to positive reviews, Neeson did not get any attention.
Over the next few years, Neeson appeared in several films like The Bounty (1984), If Tomorrow Comes (1986), High Spirits (1988), and Next of Kin (1989) but none of these did any good to establish Neeson as an accomplished actor. The dawn of new decade though bought good fortune for Neeson as he rose to fame as he played the lead role in the critically acclaimed film Schindler’s List (1993) directed by the stalwart director Steven Spielberg. The film, which won several laurels including seven Academy Awards and three Golden Globes was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2014. Neeson for his brilliant role as Oskar Schindler won his maiden Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor.
Following the huge success of Schindler’s list, Neeson got his next major hit in 1996 as he starred in the historical biopic Michael Collins, which was based on the life of an Irish patriot who died in the Irish Civil War. The film directed by Neil Jordan and co-starring Aidan Quinn, Stephan Rea, Alan Rickman and Julia Roberts became the highest-grossing film that year and earned positive reviews from critics. The film won Neeson his second Golden Globe nomination. The following year, the actor starred in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, which is the first instalment in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. The film co-starring Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Jake Lloyd, Anthony Daniels and Frank Oz received mixed critical reviews but turned out to be a huge commercial hit; it grossed more than one billion USD worldwide.
By the beginning of the new millennium, Neeson had already established himself as one of the most accomplished actors in Hollywood. In 2000, he starred in Eric Blakeney directed drama film Gun Shy sharing the screen with Sandra Bullock and Oliver Pratt. The film received mixed reviews and underperformed at the box office. His next major hit came in 2002 as he appeared in Martin Scorsese’s period drama Gangs Of New York (2002) where he depicted the role of the leader of immigrant Irish. The film received critical acclaim and generated revenue worth 193.7 million USD.
In 2005, the actor made his debut as a voice actor in the critically and commercially successful fantasy drama film, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe where the lent his voice to one of the lead characters, Aslan, the lion. He reprised he role in the second instalment of the movie titled The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, which released in May 2008. The film directed by Andrew Adamson, just like its first instalment was a massive at the box office. The actor’s next major release came in 2012 as he collaborated with director Jonathan Liebesman for his epic action adventure fantasy film Wrath of the Titans co-starring Sam Worthington, Rosamund Pike, Edgar Ramirez, Toby Kebbell, Ralph Fiennes and Bill Nighy. Although the movie received negative critical reviews grossed more than 305 million USD worldwide.
Later in the year, the actor did a cameo in the blockbuster film The Dark Knight Rises directed by Christopher Nolan. The film, which premiered in New York City receive positive reviews from critics and was named one of the best films in 2012. Over the next few years, the actor mainly worked as a voice actor in several films like Khumba (2013), The Nut Job (2014), and The Prophet (2014) and later did a few cameos in Ted 2 and Entourage both of which released in 2015.
In 2016, the actor starred alongside Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver, Tadanobu Asano and Ciaran Hinds in the historical drama Silence directed by Martin Scorsesse. The film based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Shusaku Endo received wide critical acclaim and received two nominations at the 89 th Academy Awards. His 2017 releases include Felt an American spy thriller film directed by Peter Landesman and The Commuter, a British- American action thriller film directed by Jaume Collet-Serra.