Edit
Brendan Gleeson Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (5) | Trivia (15) | Personal Quotes (31) | Salary (1)

Overview (2)

Date of Birth 29 March 1955Dublin, Ireland
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Brendan Gleeson was born in Dublin, Ireland, to Pat and Frank Gleeson. From a very young age, he loved to learn, especially reading classical text in and outside the classroom. He took great attention to Irish play writers such as Samuel Beckett, which eventually led to him performing in his high school play production of "Waiting for Godot", and paying great attention to detail in his high school drama classes. Upon finishing 12th grade, he spent a couple of years with the Dublin Shakespeare Festival, and under the advice of a director there, headed across to London and auditioned for drama schools. Soon to follow, he was invited to audition for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford upon Avon, and spent a couple of seasons back in England on the stage. He then, at the age of thirty five, decided to audition for films in the UK and began to build a very respectable resume playing many different diverse characters.

He made his debut as a quarryman in The Field (1990). He had several small roles in major Hollywood movies based in Ireland, such as Far and Away (1992) and Into the West (1992). Memorably played historical Irish figure "Michael Collins" in The Treaty (1991). Made his breakthrough in Scottish themed Braveheart (1995), which was largely filmed in Ireland, opposite Mel Gibson. He played Gibson's right-hand man "Hamish". Since then, he has appeared in numerous major films such as Mission: Impossible II (2000), Lake Placid (1999), Turbulence (1997). He has made a name for himself taking the titular role in The General (1998), based on the life of Irish criminal "Martin Cahill", for which he won the Boston Society of Film Critics Award. He appears in director John Boorman's film The Tailor of Panama (2001) as well as Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York (2002) and Steven Spielberg's A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001).

Ever since, he has continued to bring his huge stage presence to the screen, always delivering the character in full development to his audience. He is married to his lovely wife, Mary, since 1982. They have four sons.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: D'OH <dohallor@yahoo.co.uk and dacraftman

Spouse (1)

Mary Gleeson (1982 - present) (4 children)

Trade Mark (5)

Frequently works with fellow Irish actor Liam Neeson
Frequently makes historical films
Irish accent
Red hair
Tall heavy figure

Trivia (15)

He is a fine fiddle player and can be seen playing it in Michael Collins (1996) and also in Cold Mountain (2003).
He has four sons from his marriage to Mary Gleeson: Domhnall Gleeson, Fergus Gleeson, Brian Gleeson and Rory Gleeson. Appeared with all his sons in the Irish television special Immaturity for Charity (2012).
He was a teacher for 10 years before becoming an actor.
Joined the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in Stratford Upon Avon, England, in the late eighties for two seasons where his credits included King Lear and King Richard II.
Participated in the Dublin Shakespeare Theatre Festival the during mid-eighties.
Plays a professor of Defense Against the Dark Arts in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005). This makes him the first, and to date, only actor to play a Hogwarts professor who has himself been employed as a teacher.
He started acting at the age of 34.
Taught Maths at St. Joseph's Secondary school in Fairview, Dublin.
He played Irish leader Michael Collins in The Treaty (1991). He later had a supporting role in the biopic Michael Collins (1996).
He taught English, Irish & Physical Education at Belcamp College Secondary School in Dublin.
He has starred in feature films with two of his sons: Studs (2006) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (2010) with his eldest son Domhnall Gleeson, and The Tiger's Tail (2006) with his second youngest, Brian Gleeson.
Played British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill in Into the Storm (2009). In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005), he appears with Timothy Spall and Robert Hardy, both of whom have also played Churchill.
He worked with the three actors before they were cast as the Doctor in Doctor Who (2005) before they were cast in the role. He was worked with Christopher Eccleston in 28 Days Later... (2002), with David Tennant in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005) and with Matt Smith in In Bruges (2008).
He is the only actor from the "Harry Potter" films to have co-starred with Daniel Radcliffe in his feature debut The Tailor of Panama (2001).
He has worked 8 directors who have won an Oscar for Best Director: Ron Howard, Mel Gibson, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Danny Boyle, Anthony Minghella, Robert Zemeckis, and Robert Redford.

Personal Quotes (31)

[on In Bruges (2008)] A real test of our acting ability.
[About In Bruges (2008) director Martin McDonagh] Yeah, similar to that, I'd kind of worked with Martin on Six Shooter (2004)... he showed me that script before we knew it was going to happen... It was kind of a notion at that time, so you just kind of think, 'how cool this would be to make'.
I don't want people poking around in my private stuff. They've no business in it. My work is what I give to people, that's my job, and that's where it stops.
For me, it's just about keeping the standards up. We're a small country, so we have to punch above our weight. I'm not a great man for doing something just because it's Irish, and you never know what's going to work. But as long as we keep the standards up, people will continue to invest in films. It's as simple as that.
The horror of a death without dignity has so much implications for the people who are left behind.
When I started out at about 19, 20, it took me two years just to tell the difference between a jig and a reel. It does all sound the same, but what you can find once you go in - it's never-ending. So that's my love.
It's interesting going between small parts and then bigger roles where you carry the film. If the writing is good, and if the people involved have integrity, then you'll do it, even if it's only five minutes on screen.
I'm very proud of Calvary (2014). It's been doing well; it has legs. It's no easy ride. It packs a punch, this one.
Everyone's waiting for the seventh book, and looking at each other saying, 'Oh, I wonder will I be in the running?'
Actors will always tell you it's more fun playing bad guys. A lot of the time, it's criminals who are the people who don't care. There's something extraordinarily seductive about the guy who doesn't care, and to play that guy is terribly empowering, because you don't have to worry about the consequences of your actions.
Look at the Coen brothers. All their minor characters are as interesting as their protagonists. If the smaller characters are well-written, the whole world of the film becomes enriched. It's not the size of the thing, but the detail.
Winston was a bit of a challenge, all right, from a lot of different perspectives. It wasn't just the culture or the class divide or the historical baggage - it was also the age difference. We had to see if I could be aged-up legitimately, without it becoming some sort of hokey acting challenge.
I hope I'm worthy in my dying. I hope I can maintain myself - that I wouldn't become pathetic and needy, and the worst part of myself come out in adversity. But I'm not afraid of it. It'd be such a silly thing to do! To ruin the life you have by fearing its ending.
I worked with Steven Spielberg on 'AI' and his level of preparation was extraordinary. He told me there was a time at the beginning when he was a bit more spontaneous and went over budget, and it absolutely wrecked his head. When you look at the power and assuredness of his movies, it makes sense that he works out so much in advance.
I'm aware now over the last 5 or 10 years that when you do an accent, you really have to kind of get down to the nitty gritty and go into the phonetics of it, if necessary. Find out not just the sounds but the rhythms and the music - or lack thereof - in a particular accent.
I think it was a possibility, I think we're all kind of delusional like that, we think that we can all carry on being who we are without bending ourselves to make ourselves acceptable and expect someone to come along and see to us and rescue to us.
I loved teaching. And I always used to say that acting was just something I did purely on my own terms, and that if I had to make a living from it there would be too much pressure.
What I voice, I voice though my art, if that's not too vainglorious a word. But I don't think it is.
I find myself really privileged to be able to go in and look at a set that the likes of Hollywood can provide, and say, 'My God, look at the craftsmanship in this; look at the ambition in it, the scale of it.'
I tend to look for the good in bad people and the bad in good people, to make them human. 'Cause I don't think that people generally are that black and white. Maybe in movie-land they can be... but that isn't necessarily all there is.
I don't plan in terms of career ambitions. The only career ambition I have is to work with people who are going to bring you up and elevate your performance. They'll let you know things that you didn't know already and bring you places that you might not have gotten to otherwise.
The whole point of film for me is that it's such a joy. It's such a wonder. The possibilities are literally endless in terms of what you can creatively do.
I think every character actor at some stage likes to carry a film. It can be extremely liberating to just come in for a scene or two and do your thing. But I find it frustrating if I'm just doing little bits here and there for too long.
I'd never had any problem finding inspiration; Ireland was always just there, you know? All this richness of culture was there to tap into.
I started hitching about the country when I was 16 or 17 years old. I found the music that was played around the country - Irish music - had a particular resonance.
I think it's what art should do: make you feel less alone - either in the quest for truth or in dealing with any pain you have.
I don't maybe follow the normal star profile, and it's not something that I particularly want to embrace in terms of the publicity thing and wanting to be famous and known.
The good thing about my part in 'Harry Potter' was that I was pretty well disguised. When I was walking down the street, there was no real recognition factor. Parents would sometimes call their children to come say hello to Mad-Eye, and the kids wouldn't know what they were looking at.
You can channel a lot within a comic framework, and I think The Guard (2011) had a lot going on outside of the comedy, which is satisfying.
My grandfather played a mandolin, so I got my hands on that. Then on down to a banjo, and I found I couldn't play any kind of soft or mournful music with that so I took up the fiddle in my late 20s or early 30s - and that was far too late. But it keeps me off the streets. It has been a love of mine since I was 17 maybe.
When I first was able to fill in A-C-T-O-R for the occupation line on my passport, that was the first time I really felt, 'Wow, I'm home.'

Salary (1)

The Village (2004) $1,500,000

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page