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Gabriel Byrne

Gabriel Byrne

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Also Known As: Gabriel James Byrne Died:
Born: May 12, 1950 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Dublin, IE Profession: actor, director, producer, screenwriter, author, bartender, plumber's assistant, apprentice chef, salesman, columnist, busboy, toy factory worker, messenger, seminarian, teacher, archaeologist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Both a strong leading presence and compelling character performer, actor Gabriel Byrne emerged from his native Ireland to become one of the more sought-after talents in the United States. Though he had been acting for over a decade across the Atlantic, Byrne did not begin making a name for himself in America until his dark, brooding performance as an Irish mobster in the Coen Brothers' deft "Miller's Crossing" (1990). But it was his turn as a former corrupt cop drawn into a heist-gone-bad in "The Usual Suspects" (1995) that propelled Byrne to stardom. Ever since, he fluctuated with ease between romantic dramas, crime thrillers and period pieces in a fine display of diversity that translated well behind the camera as a writer and producer. Though he managed to get entangled in several flops - namely "Stigmata" (1999) and the miserable "End of Days" (1999) - Byrne managed to transcend setbacks with a varied slate of interesting projects, including "In Treatment" (HBO, 2007- ), an experimental drama that allowed Byrne to display his considerable acting chops to a sophisticated audience.

Both a strong leading presence and compelling character performer, actor Gabriel Byrne emerged from his native Ireland to become one of the more sought-after talents in the United States. Though he had been acting for over a decade across the Atlantic, Byrne did not begin making a name for himself in America until his dark, brooding performance as an Irish mobster in the Coen Brothers' deft "Miller's Crossing" (1990). But it was his turn as a former corrupt cop drawn into a heist-gone-bad in "The Usual Suspects" (1995) that propelled Byrne to stardom. Ever since, he fluctuated with ease between romantic dramas, crime thrillers and period pieces in a fine display of diversity that translated well behind the camera as a writer and producer. Though he managed to get entangled in several flops - namely "Stigmata" (1999) and the miserable "End of Days" (1999) - Byrne managed to transcend setbacks with a varied slate of interesting projects, including "In Treatment" (HBO, 2007- ), an experimental drama that allowed Byrne to display his considerable acting chops to a sophisticated audience.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
3.
 Vampire Academy (2014)
4.
 33, The (2014)
5.
 I, Anna (2013)
6.
7.
 2:22 (2010)
8.
 Perrier's Bounty (2009)
9.
 Leningrad (2009)
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1962:
Attended a Roman Catholic seminary in Birmingham, England
:
Worked as an archeologist for three years
:
Taught Spanish and Gaelic in a girls' school
:
Began participating in amateur theater
:
Acted with Ireland's Focus Theater, an experimental repertory company run by future filmmaker Jim Sheridan
:
Joined the Abbey Theatre and remained in their company for two years
1978:
Made film acting debut in the British feature "On a Paving Stone Mounted"
1979:
Appeared in the US-Netherlands co-production "The Outsider"
1979:
Moved to London
:
Joined the Royal Court Theater
:
Joined the National Theater in London
1981:
First substantial film role as Uther Pendragon, father of Arthur, in John Boorman's "Excalibur"
1982:
Starred in Irish TV series "The Riordens"
1983:
Had featured roles in Michael Mann's "The Keep" and Kevin Billington's "Reflections"
1985:
Had debut starring role in the political thriller "Defence of the Realm"
1985:
Portrayed the title character in the CBS-TV miniseries "Christopher Columbus"
1986:
Played Lord Byron in Ken Russell's "Gothic"
1987:
Featured in the Italian drama "Julia and Julia" opposite Kathleen Turner
1987:
Co-starred with future wife Ellen Barkin in the ambitious thriller "Siesta"
1990:
Cast as the cool-headed organized crime lieutenant in the Coen brothers' stylized feature "Miller's Crossing"
1992:
First credit as associate producer (also starred), "Into the West"; scripted by Jim Sheridan
1992:
Played a cartoon artist trapped in the world of his creation in "Cool World"
1993:
Co-starred opposite Bridget Fonda in "Point of No Return"
1993:
Executive produced Sheridan's "In the Name of the Father"
1995:
Was one of the ensemble of criminals in Bryan Singer's "The Usual Suspects"
1996:
Co-starred with ex-wife Ellen Barkin in "Mad Dog Time"
1996:
Co-wrote screenplay for (also produced and acted in) "Last of the High Kings"
1997:
Acted opposite Julia Ormond in "Smilla's Sense of Snow"
1997:
Portrayed Rohan in "This Is the Sea"; Sheridan played small role as Station Master
1997:
Co-starred opposite Ben Kingsley as rival executives in the HBO black comedy "Weapons of Mass Distraction"
:
Formed production company Plurabelle Films
1998:
Portrayed D'Artagnan in "The Man in the Iron Mask"
1998:
Played the patriarch in "Polish Wedding" opposite Claire Danes and Lena Olin
1999:
Played a Vatican-sanctioned investigator in "Stigmata"
2000:
Cast in the stage revival of Eugene O'Neill's "A Moon for the Misbegotten"; received a Tony nomination for Best Actor
2000:
Plurabelle Films produced the Belfast-set coming of age comedy "Mad About Mambo"
2002:
Appeared as a salavage vessel captain in the spooky thriller "Ghost Ship"
2002:
Cast as Ralph Finnes' father in David Cronenberg's "Spider"
2004:
Starred opposite Laura Linney and Topher Grace in "P.S."
2005:
Cast in Richard E. Grant's directorial debut, "Wah-Wah"
2008:
Portrayed therapist, Paul Weston in the critically acclaimed HBO series "In Treatment"; earned an Emmy (2008, 2009) nomination for Best Actor in a Drama Series
2009:
Nominated for the 2009 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in Drama Series
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University College Dublin: -
University College Dublin: -

Notes

Byrne's new production company is Plurabelle, named after Anna Livia Plurabelle, a character in James Joyce's "Finnegan's Wake".

"I still find it amazing that I'm an actor. I'm not a very gregarious person. I can't bear attention being called to me in a public place, which is ridiculous in a business that pays you to be noticed." --Gabriel Byrne to The New York Times, September 16, 1990

"My career--which I'm extremely happy with--has been a bit unpredictable. Steven Spielberg said to me recently, 'I've never been able to track your career; you turn up in the weirdest places.' I wasn't sure whether to take that as a compliment or as advice to get hold of the real world. Maybe I should cut the crap for a couple of years before I get too ancient and do the big Hollywood stuff." --Byrne quoted in New York's Daily News, March 17, 1993

"I believe that our views on everything from how we perceive nationalities to how we fall in love come from movies we've been exposed to. Having said that, I have to say, no, movies don't have a duty to have a political conscience. I often hear people say, 'I want to go to the movies and be swept away--I don't want to have to sit there and think about my life'--and that's a legitimate desire. It's no good being on a soapbox in the middle of the desert." --Gabriel Byrne quoted in Los Angeles Times, December 20, 1994

"He's very modest, but he does things effortlessly. Only when you're looking at the screen do you notice that Gabriel does all these subtle things with his hands, and especially his eyes." --"The Usual Suspects" director Bryan Singer quoted in The New York Times, September 24, 1995

"People who believe that being incredibly famous or wealthy or powerful is going to make them happier are on a fool's mission. I'm famous enough, that suits me fine. The relentless emphasis on celebrity in this country drives me around the fucking bend. Everywhere you go. The new religion is celebrity, but nobody stops to question what it means when you achieve it. Honestly, I'm scared of the whole notion of fame. You take it on at your own peril." --Byrne in Elle, February 1997

Liam Neeson on Byrne, quoted in Elle, February 1997: "Gabriel is a beautiful man. He epitomizes for me Modern European Man: dynamic, a great potential for hard work, for fun, for introspection and he's a wonderful father, actor and writer. He makes me sick."

"I was walking with my five-year-old son [by ex-wife Ellen Barkin] one day, and I had a mobile phone, which he picked up and just dialed, and I was amazed at his technical dexterity, his lack of fear. I realized that his world and mine are already aeons apart, and I thought, if I were to die, what would he know about me? The kind of world I came from and what it meant for me to leave Dublin and come to America, because I never thought I would. So I decided to write about it." --Gabriel Byrne to Premiere, March 1997

"I was teaching gorgeous 17-year-old girls in miniskirts when I was 22. I'd say, 'Did you translate that passage last night?' They'd say, 'No.' I'd say, 'That's OK, you don't have to.' They specialised in finding my weak points. On my birthday, they said, 'We got you a shirt and tie.' I said, 'Thanks, I'll put it on later.' They said, 'No, we want you to put it on now.' So I took off my jacket and undervest. Then the headmistress walked in. I was standing there with no top on. They were ruthless, those girls." --Gabriel Byrne on his days as a teacher, quoted in Neon, May 1998

In an interview with the London Sunday Times (August 8, 1999), Byrne revealed that he underwent physical and sexual abuse at the hands of the Christian Brothers and a priest from the ages of eight to 12. He was quoted as saying: "I'm not carping about it and I'm not being sorry for myself. To be honest, not a great deal of damage was done to me physically. The damage was emotional, and that took me a long time to shake off."

Byrne on his roles in "Stigmata" and "End of Days", playing a priest in the former and Satan in the latter: "I don't believe in acting as catharsis or therapy. I don't believe in bringing your work home with you, in 'becoming' a character. You do this job, you go home. So there's not much difference between playing a priest and playing the devil.

"I'm talking as an actor. One role is playing a good man who's lost his faith. The other is playing a man who believes he's good and who has lost his soul. So, therefore, the sense of torment is the same." -- quoted in the New York Post, November 23, 1999

Gabriel Byrne on religion: "A firm believer in the Buddhist 'You've got today, no one promised you tomorrow', I don't think much about Catholicism anymore. I was forced to so much as a child. I'm still seduced by the rituals--whoever invented them knew what theater was about, for sure." --quoted to Newsday, April 4, 2000

"A Moon for the Misbegotten" co-star Cherry Jones on Byrne's performance, particularly his take on the powerful confessional monologue: "He is meeting this great responsibility every night, and he never cheats O'Neill or the audience or me. It's one of those monologues that takes no prisoners. It leaves no one unshaken." --quoted in The New York Times, April 26, 2000

Byrne on how "A Moon for the Misbegotten" changed his attitude towards theater: "The whole process of going back to the stage has taught me more about myself than anything else I've done in a long time, and I've come back to totally respect the theater again. . .

"When a play works like this one does, it almost is a sacred experience. You can hear the audience leaning forward to listen. Sometimes you can hear people sniffling, sobbing. I think people start to see their own lives, their own ghosts." --quoted to The New York Times, April 26, 2000

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Aine O'Connor. Filmmaker. Had 12-year relationship from c. 1974 to c. 1986; died in 1998 at age 50.
wife:
Ellen Barkin. Actor. Met while filming "Siesta" (1987); married in 1988; separated in 1993; Barkin filed for divorce in 1999; mother of his two children.
companion:
Julia Ormond. Actor. Met during filming of "Smilla's Sense of Snow" in 1996.
companion:
Naomi Campbell. Model. Dated from late 1997 to early 1998.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

son:
Jack Daniel Byrne. Born in October 1989.
daughter:
Romy Marion Byrne. Born on November 18, 1992.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Landscape From a Window"
"Pictures in My Head"

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