Brendan Gleeson (born 29 March 1955) is an Irish actor and film director. He is the recipient of three IFTA Awards, two British Independent Film Awards, and an Primetime Emmy Award and has been nominated twice for a BAFTA Award and twice for a Golden Globe Award.
Gleeson at the 2014 British Independent Film Awards
|Alma mater||University College Dublin|
|Children||4; including Domhnall and Brian|
He is best known for his performance as Alastor Moody in the Harry Potter films from (2005–2010), and for his supporting roles in films such as Braveheart (1995), Michael Collins (1996), Gangs of New York (2002), Cold Mountain (2003), Troy (2004), The Smurfs 2 (2013), Suffragette (2015), Paddington 2 (2018), and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018), as well as leading roles in films such as In Bruges (2008), The Guard (2011), The Grand Seduction (2013), and Calvary (2014). He has starred as detective Bill Hodges in the television adaptation of Stephen King's Mr. Mercedes.
He won an Emmy Award in 2009 for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in the television film Into the Storm. In 2020, he was listed at number 18 on The Irish Times list of Ireland's greatest film actors.
Gleeson was born in Dublin, the son of Pat and Frank Gleeson. Gleeson has described himself as having been an avid reader as a child. He received his second-level education at St Joseph's CBS in Fairview, Dublin where he was a member of the school drama group. He received his Bachelor of Arts at University College Dublin, majoring in English and Irish. After training as an actor, he worked for several years as a secondary school teacher of Irish and English at the now defunct Catholic Belcamp College in North County Dublin, which closed in 2004. He was working simultaneously as an actor while teaching, doing semi-professional and professional productions in Dublin and surrounding areas. He left the teaching profession to commit full-time to acting in 1991.
As a member of the Dublin-based Passion Machine Theatre company, Gleeson appeared in several of the theatre company's early and highly successful plays such as Brownbread (1987), [written by Roddy Doyle, directed by Paul Mercier] Wasters (1985) and Home (1988) [written and directed by Paul Mercier.] He has also written three plays for Passion Machine: The Birdtable (1987) and Breaking Up (1988), both of which he directed, and Babies and Bathwater (1994) in which he acted. Among his other Dublin theatre work are Patrick Süskind's one-man play The Double Bass and John B. Keane's The Year of the Hiker.
Gleeson started his film career at the age of 34. He first came to prominence in Ireland for his role as Michael Collins in The Treaty, a television film broadcast on RTÉ One, and for which he won a Jacob's Award in 1992. He has acted in such films as Braveheart, I Went Down, Michael Collins, Gangs of New York, Cold Mountain, 28 Days Later, Troy, Kingdom of Heaven, Lake Placid, A.I. Artificial Intelligence, Mission: Impossible 2, and The Village. He won critical acclaim for his performance as Irish gangster Martin Cahill in John Boorman's 1998 film The General.
While Gleeson portrayed Irish statesman Michael Collins in The Treaty, he later portrayed Collins' close collaborator Liam Tobin in the film Michael Collins with Liam Neeson taking the role of Collins. Gleeson later went on to portray Winston Churchill in Into the Storm. Gleeson won an Emmy Award for his performance. Gleeson played Hogwarts professor Mad-Eye Moody in the fourth, fifth and seventh Harry Potter films. His son Domhnall played Bill Weasley in the seventh and eighth films.
Gleeson provided the voice of Abbot Cellach in The Secret of Kells, an animated film co-directed by Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey of Cartoon Saloon which premiered in February 2009 at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival.
Gleeson starred in the short film Six Shooter in 2006, which won an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film. This film was written and directed by Martin McDonagh who also wrote and directed In Bruges in 2008. The film, and Gleeson's performance, enjoyed huge critical acclaim, earning Gleeson several award nominations, including his first Golden Globe nomination. In the movie, Gleeson plays a mentor-like figure for Colin Farrell's hitman. In his review of In Bruges, Roger Ebert described the elder Gleeson as having a "noble shambles of a face and the heft of a boxer gone to seed."
In July 2012, he started filming The Grand Seduction, with Taylor Kitsch, a remake of Jean-François Pouliot's French-Canadian La Grande Séduction (2003) directed by Don McKellar; the film was released in 2013. In 2016, he appeared in the video game adaptation Assassin's Creed and Ben Affleck's crime drama Live by Night. In 2017 he finished Psychic, a short he directed and starred in.
Gleeson is a fiddle and mandolin player, with an interest in Irish folklore. He played the fiddle during his role in Cold Mountain, Michael Collins and also The Grand Seduction, and also features on Altan's 2009 live album. In the Coen Brothers' The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018), Gleeson sings "The Unfortunate Rake." He has also made a contribution in 2019 to the new album by Irish folk group 'Dervish' with a version of 'The Rocky Road To Dublin'.
He has been married to Mary Weldon since 1982. He has four sons; Domhnall, Brían, Fergus, and Rúairí. Domhnall and Brían are also actors. Gleeson speaks fluent Irish and is an advocate of the promotion of the Irish language. Gleeson is a fan of English football club Aston Villa, as is his son Domhnall.
|1992||The Bargain Shop||Jim Kennedy|
|M.A.N.: Matrix Adjusted Normal||Dr. Abraham||Short film|
|Far and Away||Social Club Policeman|
|Conneely's Choice||Josie Conneely||Short film|
|Into the West||Inspector Bolger|
|1995||The Life of Reilly||Patient||Short film|
|1996||Angela Mooney Dies Again||Barney Mooney|
|Michael Collins||Liam Tobin|
|1997||Spaghetti Slow||Frank Ferguson|
|The Butcher Boy||Father Bubbles|
|A Further Gesture||Richard|
|I Went Down||Bunny Kelly||Nominated—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor|
|Before I Sleep||John Harte||Short film|
|1998||The General||Martin Cahill||Nominated—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor|
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
|The Tale of Sweety Barrett||Sweet Barrett|
|1999||Lake Placid||Sheriff Hank Keough|
|My Life So Far||Jim Menries|
|2000||Mission: Impossible 2||John C. McCloy|
|Harrison's Flowers||Marc Stevenson|
|Wild About Harry||Harry McKee|
|Cáca Milis||Pól||Short film |
|The Tailor of Panama||Michelangelo 'Mickie' Abraxas|
|A.I. Artificial Intelligence||Lord Johnson-Johnson|
|2002||28 Days Later||Frank|
|Gangs of New York||Walter 'Monk' McGinn|
|Dark Blue||Jack Van Meter|
|2003||Cold Mountain||Stobrod Thewes|
|2004||In My Country||De Jager|
|The Village||August Nicholson|
|Six Shooter||Donnelly||Short film|
|2005||Kingdom of Heaven||Raynald of Châtillon|
|Breakfast on Pluto||John Joe Kenny|
|Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire||Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody|
|2006||Studs||Walter Keegan||Nominated—IFTA Award for Best Actor in a Lead Role – Film|
|The Tiger's Tail||Liam O'Leary|
|Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix||Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody|
|2008||In Bruges||Ken||Nominated—IFTA Award for Best Actor in a Lead Role – Film|
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated—British Independent Film Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
|2009||The Secret of Kells||Abbot Cellach||Voice|
|Perrier's Bounty||Darren Perrier||Nominated—IFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Film|
|2010||Green Zone||Martin Brown|
|Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1||Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody|
|Noreen||Con Keogh||Short film|
|2011||The Guard||Sergeant Gerry Boyle||Nominated—British Independent Film Award for Best Actor|
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated—IFTA Award for Best Actor in a Lead Role - Film
|Albert Nobbs||Dr. Holloran||Nominated—IFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Film|
|The Cup||Dermot Weld|
|2012||Safe House||David Barlow|
|The Raven||Captain Charles Hamilton|
|The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!||Pirate with Gout||Voice|
|The Company You Keep||Henry Osborne|
|2013||The Smurfs 2||Victor Doyle|
|The Grand Seduction||Murray French|
|2014||Calvary||Father James Lavelle||British Independent Film Award for Best Actor|
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
IFTA Award for Best Actor in a Lead Role - Film
Nominated—Detroit Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
|Edge of Tomorrow||General Brigham|
|Song of the Sea||Conor / Mac Lir||Voices; English and Irish-language versions|
|Stonehearst Asylum||The Alienist|
|2015||Suffragette||Arthur Steed||British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|In the Heart of the Sea||Old Thomas Nickerson|
|2016||Alone in Berlin||Otto Quangel|
|Trespass Against Us||Colby|
|Live by Night||Thomas Coughlin|
|Assassin's Creed||Joseph Lynch|
|Paddington 2||Knuckles McGinty|
|2018||Captain Morten and the Spider Queen||Father||Voice|
|Psychic||Jeremiah||Short film; also director|
|The Ballad of Buster Scruggs||Irishman (Clarence)||Segment: "The Mortal Remains"|
|TBA||The Tragedy of Macbeth||King Duncan||Post-production|
|1989||Dear Sarah||Brendan Dowd||Television film|
|1990||Hard Shoulder||Lorry Driver||Television film|
|1991||Saint Oscar||Television film|
|The Treaty||Michael Collins||Television film|
|In the Border Country||Farmer||Television play|
|1993||The Snapper||Lester||Television film|
|Screenplay||Thomas Macken||Episode: "Love Lies Bleeding"|
|1994||The Lifeboat||Leslie Parry||9 episodes|
|1995||Kidnapped||Red Fox||Television film|
|1998||Making the Cut||Flanagan||Television film|
|This Is My Father||Garda Jim||Television film|
|2009||Into the Storm||Winston Churchill||Television film|
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor – Miniseries or a Movie
Satellite Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated—IFTA Award for Best Actor in a Lead Role – Television
Nominated—British Academy Television Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
|2017–2019||Mr. Mercedes||Bill Hodges||30 episodes|
Satellite Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama (2019)
Nominated—IFTA Award for Best Actor in a Lead Role – Television (2018 and 2020)
|2020||The Comey Rule||Donald Trump||Upcoming miniseries - CBS|
- "The heart of the matter" Archived 11 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine 17 February 2011, RTE.ie
- In Conversations with Eamon scruphy Archived 20 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine 10 November 2007, RTÉ
- "School is out for Brandon Gleeson", 23 July 1999, Entertainment Weekly
- "Gannon to get €400m for Belcamp College site" Archived 4 November 2010 at the Wayback Machine 10 September 2006, Business Post
- "Brendan Gleeson reveals abuse by Christian Brother". Independent.ie.
- "Irish Theatre Institute's Playography database". Irish Theatre Institute.
- "STARS WHO HIT IT BIG AFTER 30". The Hype. Archived from the original on 23 August 2013.
- "The Devoted Friend". Wilde Stories. Channel 4. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
- Brendan Gleeson Archived 17 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine on Foodandwine.net
- "THE SECRET OF KELLS to screen at the Dublin International Film Festival" 10 December 2008, Irish Film Board web site
- Review of In Bruges by Ebert at Rogerebrt.com
- Fleming, Mike (30 July 2012). "Brendan Gleeson, Taylor Kitsch Find 'The Grand Seduction'". Deadline Hollywood. PMC. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
- "Altan EPK". Mpibands.com. Archived from the original on 9 October 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- "Capturing the Glee factor", 16 July 2011, The Irish Times
- "Star Wars actor Gleeson: Villa Wembley win was special day" Archived 16 May 2015 at the Wayback Machine, 13 May 2015, Aston Villa
- "Hugh Grant joins Paddington sequel as shooting begins".
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