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Stephen Rea

Stephen Rea

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: October 31, 1946 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: United Kingdom Profession: actor, director, composer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Perhaps one of the most respected and established actors to emerge from Ireland, Stephen Rea spent years performing on stage and on screen before staking his claim in the United States with an Oscar-nominated performance in "The Crying Game" (1992). Directed by long-time collaborator, Neil Jordan, "The Crying Game" both introduced him to a wider, international audience while reaffirming to fellow countrymen his status as an actor of considerable depth. Prior to his breakout performance, Rea spent two decades working on stage, touring his native Ireland in small theatres until he worked his way up to bigger stages in Dublin and eventually London, while performing in films like "Angel" (1982) and "Life is Sweet" (1991). He later formed his own stage company, Field Day, with acclaimed playwright Brian Friel, which allowed him to delve into more politically-themed material that helped attract attention to the debate concerning The Troubles, North Ireland's long conflict with England. Never shy about his stance on issues, Rea continued performing in movies and plays with overt political intentions, and even married Dolours Price, a former member of the Irish Republican Army who spent eight years in prison...

Perhaps one of the most respected and established actors to emerge from Ireland, Stephen Rea spent years performing on stage and on screen before staking his claim in the United States with an Oscar-nominated performance in "The Crying Game" (1992). Directed by long-time collaborator, Neil Jordan, "The Crying Game" both introduced him to a wider, international audience while reaffirming to fellow countrymen his status as an actor of considerable depth. Prior to his breakout performance, Rea spent two decades working on stage, touring his native Ireland in small theatres until he worked his way up to bigger stages in Dublin and eventually London, while performing in films like "Angel" (1982) and "Life is Sweet" (1991). He later formed his own stage company, Field Day, with acclaimed playwright Brian Friel, which allowed him to delve into more politically-themed material that helped attract attention to the debate concerning The Troubles, North Ireland's long conflict with England. Never shy about his stance on issues, Rea continued performing in movies and plays with overt political intentions, and even married Dolours Price, a former member of the Irish Republican Army who spent eight years in prison on suspicion of partaking in a terrorist bombing. But it was Rea's nuanced and often sympathetic portrayals of otherwise complex characters that attracted the most attention and endeared him to audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Roadkill (2011)
2.
 Blackthorn (2011)
3.
 Heavy, The (2010)
4.
 Espion(s) (2009)
5.
 Ondine (2009)
6.
 Nothing Personal (2009)
7.
8.
 Kisses (2008)
9.
 Sixty Six (2008)
10.
 Tara Road (2007)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
First stage appearance at age four as the wolf in "Little Red Riding Hood"
1970:
Film debut in the horror movie "Cry of the Banshee"
1973:
Breakthrough stage role, "Freedom of the City" by Brian Friel
1974:
U.S. TV debut in ABC mystery special "Color Him Dead"
1978:
Had first notable film role in "On a Paving Stone Mounted"
1980:
Formed the Field Day Theatre Company with Friel
1982:
First leading role in a feature film, "Angel"; written and directed by Neil Jordan
1985:
Reunited with Jordan for "The Company of Wolves"
1991:
Returned to features after a six-year absence in Mike Leigh's "Life Is Sweet"
1992:
Earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his performance in Jordan's "The Crying Game"
1992:
Nominated for a Tony Award for his Broadway debut as Edward in Frank McGuinness' "Someone to Watch Over Me"
1994:
Had leading roles in four major U.S. productions, "Angie" (U.S. film debut), "Princess Caraboo," Jordan's "Interview with the Vampire," and "Ready To Wear/Pret-a-Porter," directed by Robert Altman
1996:
Reteamed again with Jordan to play key supporting role in "Michael Collins," co-starring Aidan Quinn, Brendan Gleeson and Ian Hart
1996:
Was praised by critics for his portrayal of Bruno Richard Hauptmann in the HBO miniseries "Crime of the Century"
1997:
Played dual role in Jordan's ode to a psychopath "The Butcher Boy," which also featured Hart
1998:
Had a scene-stealing cameo as a passionate Irish preacher in "This Is My Father," starring Quinn and Gleeson
1999:
Appeared in Jordan's unpopular horror thriller "In Dreams" with Quinn
1999:
Played the older half of a May-December romance in the delightful "Guinevere" opposite Sarah Polley
1999:
Was praised for his touching portrayal of a cuckold in Jordan's World War II love story "The End of the Affair"; Ian Hart also featured in the film
2000:
Directed and starred in an updated version of the beloved Sean O'Casey play "The Plough and the Stars" at the Gaeity Theater in Dublin
2000:
Had pivotal role in "Crime + Punishment in Suburbia," an updating of the Dostoyevsky classic; premiered at Sundance
2000:
Co-starred in the medical drama "The Smiling Suicide Club"
2001:
Played Cardinal Richelieu in the adventure "The Musketeer"
2002:
Cast in the thriller "FeardotCom"
2004:
Co-starred with Peter O'Toole and Janet McTeer in the romantic drama "Romeo and Me," a love story set during World War II
2005:
Portrayed an aging magician opposite Cillian Murphy in Neil Jordan's "Breakfast on Pluto"
2006:
Played a cop opposite Natalie Portman in the Wachowski brothers' "V for Vendetta," based on the acclaimed graphic novel by author Alan Moore
2007:
Co-starred with Hilary Swank in the religion-themed horror film "The Reaping"
2009:
Cast in Jordan's romantic drama "Ondine," starring Colin Farrell
2011:
Starred in Syfy TV-movie "Roadkill"
2012:
Co-starred with Kate Beckinsale in "Underworld: Awakening"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Queen's University: -

Notes

Various sources report Mr. Rea's year of birth as 1943, 1946, 1947, 1948 and 1949.

"I love all those big American actors--Tracy, Mitchum, Bogart, Grant--particularly Mitchum. People thought he wasn't committed because that's how he protected himself. I loved what he said when somebody asked him what he looked for in a film script. He said 'days off.' Obviously, everybody loves Brando, but I wished the younger generation of American actors didn't always want to be him. Of the newer lot, I quite like Jeff Goldblum because I think he wants to be Walter Matthau." --Stephen Rea quoted in Daily News, January 5, 1993.

"I mean, look at him, he's not exactly . . . But no matter who you turn to on the set, women have this THING for him. He had his wife and kids visiting, and you've never seen such envy. I heard comments like, 'I'd even live in Belfast'." --"Angie" producer Larry Brezner quoted in US, March 1994.

"I can throw myself into [Neil Jordan's] hands. . . There isn't another director in the world I'd be that vulnerable to." --to the rish Echo, December 8, 1999.

"He's wonderful to work with, a delightful person and he gives a deeply considered performance. When you watch the rushes of a day's filming, the sum of what he's doing is not always evident. It's only later that his full scope emerges; he has a unique way of carrying the intelligence of a movie." --Screenwriter and director Neil Jordan on why he hired Rea for nine of his movies, quoted in The Observer, February 13, 2000.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Dolours Price. Married in 1983; served eight years for an IRA-related car bombing c. 1970-78.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Danny Rea. Born c. 1988; mother, Dolours Price.
son:
Oscar Rea. Born c. 1990; mother, Dolours Price.

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