Wednesday 22 November 2017

The Irish men who have made it big in Hollywood

Gabriel Byrne
Gabriel Byrne
Actor Colin Farrell speaks onstage at the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards

Gillian Fitzpatrick

Jamie Dornan joins an exclusive club

Richard Harris

In a career spanning more than 40 years, he played King Arthur in Camelot; Bull McCabe in The Field (for which he received Oscar and Golden Globe nominations); Marcus Aurelius in Gladiator, and Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films.

His first taste of stardom was while playing rugby at his Jesuit school, Crescent College in Limerick; he later went on to compete with Garryowen but illness put paid to his pitch ambitions.

In later years, his drinking, on-set antics and womanising were to become legendary. After his death at the age of 72 in 2002, chat show host Michael Parkinson declared: "He was a hell-raiser - it's a cliché, but that's what he was. He was from the old school of stars, like Peter O'Toole, strolling players, guys who love life."

Gabriel Byrne

He famously spent five years training as a priest before deciding that he was better suited to acting. Best known for the likes of Into The West; The Usual Suspects, and Little Women, Gabriel (64) has also found later success with HBO's In Treatment, for which he received a Golden Globe award. He boasts screenwriting credits too and was a producer on the Oscar-nominated In The Name Of The Father.

Born in Walkinstown in Dublin, Gabriel has been listed by People as one of the Sexiest Men Alive.

Last August, he married his long-time girlfriend, Hannah Beth King at a secret ceremony at Ballymaloe House in Cork, attended only by close family and friends.

Gabriel has two children with his ex-wife, actress Ellen Barkin.

Pierce Brosnan

Often seen as the ultimate "nice guy of Hollywood", Navan-man Brosnan is still best-known for playing 007 in four James Bond films from 1995 to 2002. His role in The Matador earned him a Golden Globe nomination, while he also starred in Mamma Mia! which grossed more than €500m at the box-office.

A father to five children (his adopted daughter, Charlotte, died in 2013), Pierce has been marred to journalist Keely Shaye Smith for almost 14 years. His first wife, Australian actress Cassandra Harris, died from cancer in 1991.

He recently gushingly said of Keely: "I love her vitality, her passion. She has this strength that I wouldn't be able to live without. When Keely looks at me, I go weak."

Now aged 61, he has five major projects in post-production.

Colin Farrell

Arguably still our most high-profile acting talent in Hollywood, the Castleknock-native made a name for himself on BBC's Ballykissangel.

Despite auditioning, he also missed out on a place in Louis Walsh's Boyzone. Instead, Colin went on to star in the likes of Phone Booth; Minority Report; Intermission; Alexander, and In Bruges - for which he won a Golden Globe in 2008. Later this year he lends his talents to the second season of HBO's hit True Detective, which also stars Vince Vaughn and Rachel McAdams.

An enduring sex symbol, Colin has been linked over the course of his 15-year Hollywood career to the likes of Britney Spears, Angelina Jolie and Demi Moore. He has never married, though he has two sons, James (12) and five-year-old Henry, from previous relationships.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Entertainment Newsletter

Going out? Staying in? From great gigs to film reviews and listings, entertainment has you covered.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment