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Liam Neeson (8 photo)

Actor Liam Neeson of "Five Minutes of Heaven" poses for a portrait at the Gibson Guitar Lounge during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, on Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Mark Mainz)
Written by Adadha.com

Liam John Neeson, OBE (born 7 June 1952) 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 landed a leading role alongside Patrick Swayze in Next of Kin (1989).

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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 as Qui-Gon Jinn (1999), the biographical drama Kinsey (2004), the superhero film Batman Begins as Ra’s al Ghul (2005), the action thriller series Taken (2008–14), the fantasy adventure film Clash of the Titans (2010), the fantasy films in the The Chronicles of Narnia series (2005–10), and the thriller-survival film The Grey (2011).

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”.

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2008–present

He starred in the action film Taken in 2008, a French-produced film also starring Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace. Based on a script by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen and directed by Pierre Morel, the film stars Neeson as a retired CIA operative from their elite Special Activities Division who sets about tracking down his teenage daughter after she is kidnapped. Taken was a worldwide box office hit, grossing $223.9 million worldwide, making almost $200 million more than its production budget. Neeson has stated in interviews that he believed that Taken had put some people off the idea of actually travelling to Europe.

Taken brought Neeson back into the center of the public eye and resulted in his being cast in many more big-budget Hollywood movies. That year he also narrated the documentary Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity and again lent his voice to Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008). He also provided a voice for Hayao Miyazaki’s anime film Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, which received an August 2009 release.

In 2010, Neeson played Zeus in the remake of the 1981 film, Clash of the Titans. The film went on becoming a huge box office hit, grossing $475 million worldwide. Neeson also starred in Atom Egoyan’s erotic thriller Chloe, theatrically released by Sony Pictures Classics on 26 March 2010. Chloe had enjoyed commercial success and became the Canadian director’s biggest money maker ever. Later the same year, he played John “Hannibal” Smith in the spin-off movie from the television series The A-Team.

In 2010, Neeson voiced the character Aslan again in the sequel The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Later, he stated, “Aslan symbolises a Christlike figure, but he also symbolises for me Mohammed, Buddha and all the great spiritual leaders and prophets over the centuries”; this disappointed many fans of the series, who felt that he was “destroying the author’s legacy to be politically correct”. In 2011, Neeson starred in Unknown, a German-British-American co-production of a French book, it was filmed in Berlin in early 2010. It has been compared to Taken, which was set in Paris. Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, the film enjoyed box office success in the United States. It was largely funded by Dark Castle entertainment with smaller amounts coming from the Berlin film agency.

Best images 1152x864 Liam Neeson HD Liam,Neeson

Best images 1152×864 Liam Neeson HD Liam,Neeson

Neeson reunited with director Steven Spielberg with plans to star as Abraham Lincoln in the 2012 film Lincoln, based on the book Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. In preparation for the role, Neeson visited the District of Columbia and Springfield, Illinois, where Lincoln lived prior to being elected, and read Lincoln’s personal letters. Neeson eventually declined the role, claiming he was “past his sell date” and had grown too old to play Lincoln. He was later replaced in the role by Daniel Day-Lewis.

It was announced in July 2010 that Neeson would guest-star on the new Showtime series The Big C. In 2011, he played himself, in BBC2’s series Life’s Too Short. In late 2011, Neeson was cast to play the lead character, a journalist, in a new album recording and arena production of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds. He replaced Richard Burton, who had posthumously appeared in the arena production through CGI animation. Neeson did not physically appear on the stage, instead playing the role through the use of 3D holography. In 2012, Neeson starred as John Ottway in Joe Carnahan’s The Grey. The film received mostly positive reviews and Neeson’s performance as Ottway received critical acclaim. He also starred in Taken 2, a successful sequel to his 2008 blockbuster. That year, he once again played Ra’s al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises, the third and final film in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy. He narrated the first trailer for the film.

On 31 January 2014, it was reported that Neeson would work with director Martin Scorsese again in an adaptation of the novel Silence. Neeson had a supporting role as the henchman Bad Cop/Good Cop in the animated film The Lego Movie, which was a critical and commercial success. He later played Bill Marks in the action film Non-Stop. The film was released on 28 February 2014. He also appeared, uncredited, as God in the BBC2 series Rev.. Neeson stars in the 2014 film A Walk Among the Tombstones, an adaption of the best-selling novel of the same name, in which he plays former cop Matthew Scudder, a detective hired to hunt the killers of a drug dealer’s wife.

During Super Bowl XLIX, Supercell did a Clash of Clans commercial with him playing the game as “AngryNeeson52” and vowing revenge on his opponent “BigBuffetBoy85” while waiting for his scone at a bakery. The appearance was a parody of his role in Taken.

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Political views

Neeson is a critic of the proliferation of firearms in the US and has made calls for gun control. In January 2015, he repeated his views, calling US gun laws a “disgrace” in an interview with Dubai newspaper Gulf News when replying to a question about the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris earlier that month. In response, US gun manufacturer Para USA, which provided the weapons used by Neeson in the Taken film series, expressed regret at working with him, saying: “We will no longer provide firearms for use in films starring Liam Neeson and ask that our friends and partners in Hollywood refrain from associating our brand and products with his projects”.

In 2014 he protested the anti-carriage horse campaign of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said he would outlaw horse-drawn carriages in Central Park once he took office. Neeson wrote an opinion page published in The New York Times citing the carriage trade as a safe one for employees, horses and tourists and noted it was a livelihood for many immigrants.

Neeson narrated a video for Amnesty International in favour of the decriminalization of abortion in Ireland, which was attacked for being “creepily anti-Catholic”.

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Personal life

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 him 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, northwest of Montreal. Neeson donated her organs following her death. She and Neeson had two sons together, Micheál Richard Antonio (born 22 June 1995, in Dublin) and Daniel Jack (born 27 August 1996, in New York City).

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 said that he had been naturalised as a United States citizen. Neeson is a fan of Liverpool FC. In March 2011, he was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF. Neeson is a patron of Belfast based charity and film festival CineMagic, which encourages and helps young people to get involved in the movie industry.

In June 2012, Neeson’s publicist denied reports that Neeson was converting to Islam. However, the actor 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 also expressed admiration for the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

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Honours and awards

In the year 2000, Neeson was offered the “Freedom of the Town of Ballymena” by the Ballymena Borough Council, but because of objections made by members of the Democratic Unionist Party regarding his comments that he had felt like a “second-class citizen” growing up as a Catholic in the town, he declined the award, citing tensions. Following the controversy, Neeson wrote a letter to the council, stating; “I will always remain very proud of my upbringing in, and association with, the town and my country of birth, which I will continue to promote at every opportunity. Indeed I regard the enduring support over the years from all sections of the community in Ballymena as being more than sufficient recognition for any success which I may have achieved as an actor.” Subsequently, on 28 January 2013, Neeson received the Freedom of the Borough from Ballymena Borough Council at a ceremony in the town.

Neeson was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in her 1999 New Year Honours. The American Ireland Fund honoured Neeson with their Performing Arts Award for the great distinction he has brought to Ireland at their 2008 Dinner Gala in New York.In 2009, at a ceremony in New York, Neeson was awarded an honorary doctorate by Queen’s University, Belfast.

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Filmography

Main article: Liam Neeson filmography

Awards and nominations

Year Awards Category Recipient Outcome
1990 Saturn Award Best Actor Darkman Nominated
1993 Academy Awards Best Actor Schindler’s List Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Best Actor Won
London Film Critics’ Circle Actor of the Year Nominated
BAFTA Awards Best Actor in a Leading Role Nominated
Dallas–Fort Worth Film Critics Association Best Actor Nominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Nominated
1996 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Michael Collins Nominated
Evening Standard British Film Awards Best Actor Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Best Actor Nominated
1999 Saturn Awards Best Actor Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Fight Nominated
2003 Phoenix Film Critics Society Award Best Actor Love Actually Nominated
2004 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Kinsey Nominated
Irish Film & Television Academy Best Actor Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Actor Won
Independent Spirit Awards Best Male Lead Nominated
Independent Spirit Awards Best Male Lead Nominated
London Film Critics’ Circle Actor of the Year Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Actor – Motion Picture Nominated
Vancouver Film Critics Circle Best Actor Nominated
2005 Saturn Awards Best Supporting Actor Batman Begins Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Fight Nominated
2009 Irish Film & Television Academy Actor in a Lead Role Five Minutes of Heaven Nominated

Actor Liam Neeson of "Five Minutes of Heaven" poses for a portrait at the Gibson Guitar Lounge during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, on Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. (AP Photo/Mark Mainz)

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