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.
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