Liam John Neeson, OBE (born 7 June 1952 in Ballymena, County Antrim, Northern Ireland) is an Irish actor.
In 1976, he joined the Lyric Players' Theatre in Belfast for two years. He then acted in the Arthurian film, Excalibur (1981). Between 1982 and 1987, Neeson starred in five films; most notably alongside Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins in The Bounty (1984) and Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons in The Mission (1986).
He rose to prominence when he starred in the title role in Steven Spielberg's 1993 Oscar winner Schindler's List. He has since starred in other successful films, including the title role in the historical biopic Michael Collins (1996), the film adaptation of Victor Hugo's 1862 novel Les Misérables (1998), the epic space opera Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999), the biographical drama Kinsey (2004), the superhero film Batman Begins (2005), the action thriller Taken (2008), the fantasy adventure film Clash of the Titans (2010), the fantasy films in the The Chronicles of Narnia series (2005-2010), the thriller-survival film The Grey (2011) plus many others.
He has been nominated for a number of awards, including an Academy Award for Best Actor, a BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and three Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama. Empire magazine ranked Neeson among both the "100 Sexiest Stars in Film History" and "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time." Neeson lived with actress Helen Mirren during the early 1980s. They had met while working on Excalibur (1981).
Interviewed by James Lipton for Inside the Actors Studio, Neeson said Mirren was instrumental in his getting an agent.
Neeson met his future wife, actress Natasha Richardson, while performing in a revival of the play Anna Christie on Broadway in 1993. They married on 3 July 1994. In August 2004, Neeson and his wife purchased an estate in Millbrook, New York. On 18 March 2009, Richardson died when she suffered a severe head injury in a skiing accident at the Mont Tremblant Resort, north of Montreal.
Speaking to CBS Television's Anderson Cooper in the interview which was broadcast on 60 MINUTES, Neeson spoke openly about his grief and about donating his late wife Natasha Richardson's organs following her death. She and Neeson had two sons together, Micheál (born 1995) and Daniel (born 1996).
His nephew Ronan Sexton (son of his sister Bernadette) received a serious head injury after falling from a telephone box in Brighton in June 2014. A heavy smoker earlier in his career, Neeson quit smoking in 2003, while working on Love Actually.
When he took the role of Hannibal for the 2010 film adaptation of The A-Team, Neeson had reservations about smoking cigars (which is a signature trait of the character) in the film due to being an ex-smoker, but agreed to keep that personality trait of Hannibal intact for the film. In August 2009, Neeson stated on ABC's Good Morning America that he had been naturalised as a United States citizen.
Neeson is a fan of Liverpool FC. and also Crystal Palace F.C.. According to former Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan's autobiography, Neeson asked for tickets, explaining that a friend introduced him to the club when he moved from Ireland to London early in his career. In March 2011, he was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. In June 2012, reports that Neeson was converting to Islam were denied by his publicist.
However, he has expressed an affection for the Adhan, the Islamic call to prayer, that he grew used to while filming Taken 2 in Istanbul: "By the third week, it was like I couldn't live without it. It really became hypnotic and very moving for me in a very special way. Very beautiful." He has also expressed admiration for the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.
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