Liam Neeson OBE (born William John Neeson, 7.6.1952) Liam Neeson is an Irish actor, perhaps best known for his roles in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Schindler's List.
Childhood: Liam Neeson was born in Ballymena, County Antrim, in Northern Ireland. His mother, Kitty, was a cook and his father, Bernard, was a caretaker at the local boy's primary school. He was one of four children and has three sisters, Elizabeth, Bernadette and Rosaline.
Liam Neeson first acted onstage when he was 11, when his teacher gave him the lead role in a school play. As a child, Neeson used to sneak into Ian Paisley's church. Paisley has commented on Neeson's "presence" whilst reading Bible passages in church.
Acting Career: After graduating from university, Liam Neeson's first film appearance came in 1973, when he played Jesus Christ in Ken Anderson's Pilgrim's Progress. He later applied for an audition at the Lyric Players' Theatre in Belfast. After two years there, he moved to Dublin and joined Dublin's Abbey Theatre.
John Boorman watched Neeson in a stage production of Of Mice and Men and offered him a role in Excalibur. He met the actress Helen Mirren on the set of the film and lived with her around this time. The highest profile film that Liam Neeson appeared in, in this era, was The Bounty, which also starred Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins.
Neeson moved to Hollywood in 1987 in order to raise his profile as an actor. The move seemed to work and he landed a role in Suspect, along with Dennis Quaid and Cher. He was praised for his role in the film and in 1990, his appearance in Sam Raimi's Darkman brought his name to public attention.
Steven Spielberg saw Liam Neeson performing onstage in a production of Anna Christie and offered him a lead role in Schindler's List, the award winning film, which also starred Ben Kingsley and Ralph Fiennes. Neeson himself was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar but lost out to Tom Hanks' performance in Philadelphia.
In 1995, Neeson starred in Rob Roy and another period piece, Michael Collins the year after. His performance in Michael Collins earned him a Golden Globe nomination. Two years later, Liam Neeson was cast as Jean Valjean in an adaptation of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables. In 1999, he played Dr. David Marrow in The Haunting.
In 1999, Liam Neeson was cast as Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn for the first film in the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Natalie Portman and Ewan McGregor were also cast in the film as Obi Wan Kenobi and Padmé Amidala, respectively.
Returning to the stage, Liam Neeson earned himself a Tony Award for his role in Arthur Miller's The Crucible, which also starred Laura Linney.
In 2002, Liam Neeson joined Harrison Ford in the submarine-based thriller K19: The Widowmaker, followed by an appearance in Martin Scorsese's lauded Gangs of New York, which starred Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz. The following year, Neeson took a role in Richard Curtis' romantic comedy, Love Actually. The film, which was a huge financial success, had a strong cast, including Hugh Grant, Bill Nighy, Rowan Atkinson, Emma Thompson and Keira Knightley.
Liam Neeson was awarded with yet more awards nominations for his role in Kinsey, in which he plays the lead role, Alfred Kinsey. He lost out on the award to Leonardo DiCaprio, for his role in The Aviator.
The renowned director Ridley Scott cast Neeson in Kingdom of Heaven, opposite Edward Norton, Orlando Bloom and Jeremy Irons. Neeson then went on to work with Cillian Murphy in the film adaptation of Patrick McCabe's novel Breakfast on Pluto. He also voiced the lion, Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as well as its sequel, Prince Caspian.
Personal Life: Liam Neeson married Natasha Richardson in 1994. The couple had previously worked together on the film Nell. Natasha is the daughter of Tony Richardson and Vanessa Redgrave and her sister is the actress Joely Richardson.
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. A trade dispute on the planet Naboo has led to a full-scale invasion of the planet. Two members of the of the honourable Jedi Order, Master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and his Padawan Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) travel to the Trade Federation flagship to negotiate an end to the blockade. While they are there, however, they uncover a secret invasion of the entire planet which threatens to endanger millions of lives. Their quest to save the planet and keep the peace will lead them to a young boy with incredible potential. And the fate of the entire galaxy will be thrown into danger.
Continue: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Trailer
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. The majestic order of honourable, strong Jedi, do all they can to keep the peace in a galaxy slowly tearing itself apart through trade disputes and separatist uprisings. All the while, they are becoming aware of the steady growth of an ancient group of darker, hate filler Jedi known as The Sith, are returning. In amongst their troubles, a young boy is discovered; a boy who could be more powerful than any Jedi that has ever lived. If a legendary prophecy can be believed, he is the one who will destroy the Sith and bring balance back to the Force - the energy which binds all life together.
Liam Neeson is set to narrate a documentary series to mark the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising.
Liam Neeson will narrate a series to commemorate the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising. The three-part documentary series, entitled 1916: The Irish Rebellion, will be broadcast on Irish television next year. The documentary will also be shown in Irish embassies across the world.
Liam Neeson will narrate1916: The Irish Rebellion.
Continue reading: Liam Neeson Will Narrate Documentary Series On 1916 Easter Rising
Following on from the example set by Liam Neeson in 2008, Sean Penn has taken up what he calls the 'geri-action' genre.
After Liam Neeson launched himself as an action star at age 56 with 'Taken' (2008), middle-aged actors are showing up in cinemas to prove that they can take it too. Now with 'The Gunman' (directed by Taken's Pierre Morel), it's Sean Penn's turn. This seems like an unlikely role for the double Oscar winner, but he says he never thinks about his career when he takes on a job.
Sean Penn in 'The Gunman'
"I'm more of a movie by movie person," he said. "I take each one as its own animal. Harrison Ford made a whole career out of this stuff. So it's not a new trend - it's what I call 'geri-action'! Many of these are 'wink at the audience' kinds of movies, but 'The Gunman' was more a straight line. There were consequences to the violence - that appealed to me more."
Continue reading: 'The Gunman' Turns Sean Penn Into The New Liam Neeson