Won Broadway's 2004 Tony award as Best Actor (Featured Role - Play) for his performance as Ralph in "Frozen." This followed two Tony nominations for plays written by Martin McDonagh: in 1998 as Best Actor (Featured Role - Play) for "The Beauty Queen of Leenane;" and in 1999 as Best Actor (Play) for "The Lonesome West."
His first name is actually pronounced in the traditional Irish way (Bree'un).
In 1998 he was nominated for a Tony Award for best actor for his role in Martin McDonagh's The Beauty Queen of Leenane.
He is from County Cavan in Ireland.
In 2004 he withdrew from a Kennedy Center production of "A Streetcar Named Desire" starring Patricia Clarkson and girlfriend Amy Ryan in the role of Mitch in order to follow his hit off-Broadway show "Frozen" to Broadway. He subsequently won a Tony.
Trained at the Samuel Beckett Center and Trinity College in Dublin.
He won the 2004-2005 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actor for his Role in John Patrick Shanley's Doubt.
He was nominated for Outstanding Actor at the Drama Desk Awards for his role in Frozen.
Before he made his name on Broadway he used to perform in plays for a Theatre company he formed with writer Tony Kavanagh.
Born in Ireland, O'Byrne has lived in New York for nearly 20 years and he is a devoted follower of the New York Mets.
Appearing on Broadway in Conor McPherson's "Shining City". [May 2006]
Appearing on Broadway in John Patrick Shanley's Doubt, a parable. This play won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. [March 2005]
On Broadway, giving a Tony-nominated turn in the Tony-nominated trilogy "The Coast of Utopia". [June 2007]
Personal Quotes (4)
I'm not sure if a grinning Irish guy who's speechless for 45 seconds is going to make good TV, but it might be just what you get. There are no such things, I believe, as competition between actors. You can't really award any of us. What we try to do is be good. The nomination hopefully means that we're good. Any of the actors in this category would be standing here if they had my part. There are great parts. I have the best part on Broadway. If you are listening at home on television, I've just said that, so it's true, so you better come and see our show. Our show is called Frozen. In theater, in plays, in which I am passionate about, we don't have scores underneath. When I was watching these musical numbers, it was fantastic. I sat back and went, 'Wow.' In theater, on stage, we sit on the edge of our seats. We are part of the play, and it is every bit as electrifying. Come see Frozen! And thank you so much. I am very honored. - Best Featured Actor in a Play, Frozen
"I was doing a play at the time, and I had just won the Tony Award the night before. So I had to leave that, get on a plane and a few hours after that I had to be on the set. Honestly I was thinking about the play, I had to take a few performances off so I was thinking mostly about the play." - On what was going through his mind while on the set of Million Dollar Baby.
"Yeah, he did and extraordinary thing when there was one very emotional scene where he didn't rehearse it. He kinda blew me away because he went from zero to sixty immediately basically. He broke down and nailed it on the first take and then he did one more take exactly the same. I looked and there were people behind the camera who he has worked with for years and they were crying. I was blown away because I wasn't anticipating what happened to happen, so that was extraordinary to be around." - On Clint Eastwood shooting their scene in Million Dollar Baby.
My first reaction was I didn't think it was good. Thankfully, I'm a dumb actor and there are better people like director Doug Hughes and playwright John Patrick Shanley, himself who know this is a great script. And they go, 'Brían, you're dumb!' And I go, 'Thank you, Doug!' And I go ahead and do it." - first thoughts on the Tony Award winning play, Doubt.