Famous Irish Film & Theater Personalities

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Ireland may have been capped by the domineering power of Great Britain but this ‘emerald’ country on British Isles has more to it than just beer and revelry. It is when you study closely about Irish culture and tradition that you would realise the country has been the address of some of the world famous men and women. From ingenious inventors to creative litterateurs, national heroes to prodigious leaders, it has an impressive lot of people with extraordinary achievements and accomplishments. What’s more, the country is not just about wit and wisdom – Ireland has produced some of the most talented and ingeniously gifted actors and actresses. Topping the list is Pierce Brosnam, popularly identified as James Bond, from the 1994 to 2005 Bond series. But that is not all. George Brent, Kenneth Branagh, Sarah Bolger, Daniel Day Lewis, Alison Doody, Brenda Ficker, Barry Fitzgerald, Aidan Turner and Barry McGowen are all Irish film and theatre personalities who have made their way into our hearts through their bountiful baggage of excellent works. Discover interesting facts and trivia about the life and works of Irish film and theatre personalities with this section.
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 1 
Angela Lansbury
(Actress and Singer Whose Career Spanned Over 80 Years)
Angela Lansbury
23
Birthdate: October 16, 1925
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England

Angela Lansbury played a key role in shaping the Golden Age of Hollywood. Recognized as one of the few stars still alive from the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema, Angela Lansbury has received accolades, such as an Honorary Oscar. In 2014, Queen Elizabeth II appointed her a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

 2 
Cillian Murphy
(One of the Greatest Irish Actors Who is Known for His Collaboration With Director Christopher Nolan)
Cillian Murphy
7
Birthdate: May 25, 1976
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Douglas, Ireland

Cillian Murphy is one of the greatest Irish film actors. He has done some of his best work in collaboration with director Christopher Nolan. The includes The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception and Dunkirk. Cillian was also the lead singer, guitarist, and lyricist of the rock band The Sons of Mr. Green Genes

 3 
Daniel Day-Lewis
(British Actor and Only Person to Have Won Three 'Academy Awards for Best Actor')
Daniel Day-Lewis
10
Birthdate: April 29, 1957
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Kensington, London, England

Retired English actor, Daniel Day-Lewis, is widely regarded as one of the best cinema actors. Known for his dedication to method acting, he has entertained audience with both positive and negative roles. His work in movies like My Left Foot, There Will Be Blood, Lincoln and Gangs of New York have won him fame, critical acclaim and numerous prestigious awards.

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 4 
Saoirse Ronan
(American-Born Irish Actress Known for Her Work in Period Dramas)
Saoirse Ronan
13
Birthdate: April 12, 1994
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Bronx, New York, United States

Saoirse Ronan is noted for her roles in period dramas since she was in her teens. Her breakthrough came when in 2007 she played a precocious teenager in the film Atonement. Since then she has acted in several successful movies. She’s also a stage artist and was featured by Forbes in two of their 30 Under 30 lists in 2016.

 5 
Pierce Brosnan
(Best Known for His Role of the Secret Agent 'James Bond' in the 'Bond' Film Series)
Pierce Brosnan
4
Birthdate: May 16, 1953
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Drogheda, Ireland

Irish-American actor and film producer Pierce Brosnan is best known for playing secret agent James Bond in the Bond film series. As a young man, he trained at the Drama Centre London and made his acting debut soon after. First gaining fame as a TV actor, he didn’t take long to enter films as well.

 6 
Michael Fassbender
(German-Irish Actor and Racing Driver)
Michael Fassbender
6
Birthdate: April 2, 1977
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Heidelberg, Germany

Michael Fassbender is a critically-acclaimed Irish-German actor best known for playing a sex addict in the psychological erotic drama film Shame. Apart from being an actor, Michael is also a well-known racing driver; he started his auto racing career in 2017 and currently races for Proton Competition in the European Le Mans Series.

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 7 
Martin Sheen
(Best Known for His Role in the Film 'Apocalypse Now' and TV Series 'The West Wing')
Martin Sheen
6
Birthdate: August 3, 1940
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Dayton, Ohio, United States

One of the most celebrated actors of Hollywood, Martin Sheen has won multiple Emmys and Golden Globes. Best known to fans as Captain Benjamin Willard from Apocalypse Now, he has also been involved in countless protests against nuclear power and strongly opposes abortion, capital punishment, and euthanasia.

 8 
Colin Farrell
8
Birthdate: May 31, 1976
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Castleknock, Ireland

Colin Farrell is one of the most popular and celebrated Irish actors. He was ranked fifth in The Irish Times newspaper's Ireland's greatest film actors list in 2020. Known for his casanova image, Colin has also had drug addiction problems and suffers from insomnia. In 2006, he filed a lawsuit against Nicole Narain for releasing their 13-minute sex tape.

 9 
Richard Harris
(One of Ireland's Greatest Film Actors)
Richard Harris
5
Birthdate: October 1, 1930
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Limerick, Ireland
Died: October 25, 2002

A multitalented personality, Richard Harris was an Irish actor, singer, director and writer. He began as a stage actor and later moved to films. His famous films include This Sporting Life, Camelot, A Man Called Horse, Gladiator and the first two Harry Potter films. He released numerous musical albums, published a poetry book and ventured into film direction with Bloomfield.

 10 
Domhnall Gleeson
(Known for His Role as Bill Weasley in 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 & Part 2')
Domhnall Gleeson
4
Birthdate: May 12, 1983
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Born to award-winning Irish actor Brendan Gleeson, Domhnall Gleeson initially gained fame with his Tony-nominated role in the Broadway play The Lieutenant of Inishmore. However, he is best known to audiences as Bill Weasley from the Harry Potter film series. He has also been part of series such as Black Mirror.

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 11 
Becky Lynch
(One of WWE's Most Recognizable and Highest-Paid Wrestlers)
Becky Lynch
4
Birthdate: January 30, 1987
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Limerick, Ireland
Becky Lynch is a four-time WWE champion and was named sixth on Twitter’s 2019 Top Female Athletes Worldwide list. She initially wrestled as "Rebecca Knox", teaming up with her brother. She became the only woman to hold both the Raw Women's Championship and the SmackDown Women's Championship simultaneously.
 12 
Brendan Gleeson
(Actor and Director Best Known for His Role as ‘Alastor Moody’ in the ‘Harry Potter’ Films)
Brendan Gleeson
4
Birthdate: March 29, 1955
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

One of the most talented Irish film actors of all time, Brendan Gleeson gained international attention after playing Alastor Moody in the Harry Potter movie series. He was ranked 18th in The Irish Times' Ireland's greatest film actors list in 2020. Brendan Gleeson is also credited with inspiring his sons Domhnall and Brian Gleeson to become actors.

 13 
Aidan Gillen
4
Birthdate: April 24, 1968
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Aidan Gillen is best known as Petyr Baelish from the iconic series Game of Thrones and as Tommy Carcetti from The Wire. He has also appeared in Project Blue Book, Peaky Blinders, and the Maze Runner movies. A talented theater actor, he has earned a Drama Desk Award nomination, too.
 14 
Michael Gambon
(Best Known for His Role as Professor ‘Albus Dumbledore’ in the ‘Harry Potter' Film Series)
Michael Gambon
4
Birthdate: October 19, 1940
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cabra, Ireland

Actor Michael Gambon is best known for playing Albus Dumbledore in the popular Harry Potter movie series. Not surprisingly, Gambon is one of the most recognized faces in the world and a favorite actor among Harry Potter fans. Ranked 28th in Ireland's greatest film actors list published by The Irish Times, Gambon was knighted for hisservices to drama, in 1998.

 15 
Robert Sheehan
(Irish Actor Best Known for His TV Shows: ‘Misfits’ and 'The Umbrella Academy')
Robert Sheehan
7
Birthdate: January 7, 1988
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Portlaoise, Ireland

An Irish actor who is counted among the country’s greatest actors, Robert Sheehan has received multiple Irish Film and Television Award and BAFTA Award nominations. Interested in performing from a young age, he studied film and television before beginning his career. He is known for questioning gender norms in the acting industry.

 16 
Jonathan Rhys Meyers
4
Birthdate: July 27, 1977
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Drimnagh, Dublin, Ireland
Jonathan Rhys Meyers is best known for his Golden Globe-winning portrayal of Elvis Presley in the miniseries Elvis. Fans also loved him as King Henry VIII in The Tudors and as the titular character in Dracula. The Irish Post Legend Award-winner has worked with Hope Foundation and endorsed Hugo Boss.
 17 
Maureen O’Hara
4
Birthdate: August 17, 1920
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ranelagh, Dublin, Ireland
Died: October 24, 2015

Maureen O'Hara was an Irish singer and actress. Dubbed The Queen of Technicolor due to her long and successful career throughout the 1940s and 1950s, Maureen O'Hara was popular for playing passionate, but sensible characters. In 2014, she received an Honorary Academy Award. In 2020, she was ranked first on Ireland's greatest film actors list published by The Irish Times.

 18 
Evanna Lynch
(Best Known for Her Role of 'Luna Lovegood' in the 'Harry Potter' Film Series)
Evanna Lynch
6
Birthdate: August 16, 1991
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Termonfeckin, Ireland
Evanna Lynch is best known as Luna Lovegood in the Harry Potter movie franchise, Harry Potter-themed video games, and the musical A Very Potter Senior Year. An avid animal rights activist, she has launched a vegan-themed podcast titled The ChickPeeps and a cruelty-free make-up box named Kinder Beauty Box.
 19 
Aidan Turner
(Irish Actor Best Known for His Role as ‘Dante Gabriel Rossetti’ in the TV Series ‘Desperate Romantics’)
Aidan Turner
4
Birthdate: June 9, 1983
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Clondalkin, Ireland
Aidan Turner is best known as Ross Poldark from the series Poldark and Kili from The Hobbit movie franchise. He has also played English poet Dante in Desperate Romantics. A skilled stage artist, he has also made waves in the Dublin theater scene, appearing in plays such as Titus Andronicus.
 20 
Katie McGrath
(Irish Actress Known for Her TV Series: 'Merlin', 'Dracula' and 'Supergirl')
Katie McGrath
4
Birthdate: February 21, 1983
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ashford, Ireland

Katie McGrath is an Irish actress known for playing important roles in popular TV series like Merlin, Dracula, Supergirl, and Frontier. Her journey from being a wardrobe assistant on the set of a television series titled The Tudors to becoming an actress after being advised to try her hand at acting is quite inspirational.

 21 
Chris O'Dowd
4
Birthdate: October 9, 1979
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Boyle, County Roscommon, Ireland
 22 
Gabriel Byrne
(One of Ireland's Greatest Film Actors)
Gabriel Byrne
4
Birthdate: May 12, 1950
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Walkinstown, Dublin, Ireland
Irish actor Gabriel Byrne is best known for his Golden Globe-winning and Emmy-nominated role of Dr. Paul Weston in the series In Treatment. He has also been part of movies such as Stigmata and End of Days. He is also a seasoned theater actor and has narrated several audiobooks.
 23 
Aisling Bea
(Irish Comedian and Actress Known for Her Comedy Series 'This Way Up')
Aisling Bea
7
Birthdate: March 16, 1984
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kildare, Ireland

Aisling Bea is an Irish actor, screenwriter, and comedian who has been serving as a team captain on the popular British comedy panel show 8 Out of 10 Cats since 2016. Apart from being a comedian and actor, Aisling Bea is also an activist; she campaigned successfully for the introduction of legal abortion and same-sex marriage legislation in Ireland.

 24 
Ruth Negga
(Irish Actress Known for Her Portrayal of 'Mildred Loving' in the Movie 'Loving')
Ruth Negga
4
Birthdate: January 7, 1982
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Born to an Irish mother and an Ethiopian father, Ruth Negga didn’t look back after grabbing a Laurence Olivier Award nomination for the Best Newcomer, with her performance in the play Duck. She also played both Ophelia and Prince Hamlet in two different productions of the play.

 25 
Yvonne McGuinness
(Irish Visual Artist)
Yvonne McGuinness
5
Birthdate: October 12, 1972
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Kilkenny, Ireland
Irish visual artist Yvonne McGuinness is renowned for her video installations and prints. Most of her art works revolve around themes of conflict between revealing and hiding one’s true self. She has also made several short films, such as Charlie's Place. She is married to Irish actor Cillian Murphy.
 26 
Ciarán Hinds
5
Birthdate: February 9, 1953
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Belfast, Northern Ireland

Ciarán Hinds is an Irish actor who is popular for playing villainous roles, Ciarán Hinds has contributed immensely across all three major acting mediums: films, television and theatre. In 2020, Ciarán Hinds was ranked 31st on The Irish Times newspaper's Ireland's greatest film actors list.

 27 
Nicola Coughlan
3
Birthdate: January 9, 1987
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Galway, Ireland
 28 
Martin McDonagh
(Playwright, Screenwriter, Filmmaker)
Martin McDonagh
3
Birthdate: March 26, 1970
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Camberwell

The director and writer of the Academy Award-winning short film, Six Shooter, Martin McDonagh is also well known as a playwright and stage director. The Beauty Queen of Leenane is one of the his noted works. The crime drama film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was another successful venture of McDonagh. He says he prefers films to plays.

 29 
Sarah Bolger
(Actress)
Sarah Bolger
3
Birthdate: February 28, 1991
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Sarah Bolger is best known for her roles in movies such as Stormbreaker, The Lazarus Effect, and The Spiderwick Chronicles. She is also known for her IFTA Award-winning performance as Princess Mary Tudor in the series The Tudors and for her role as Princess Aurora in Once Upon a Time.

 30 
Patrick McGoohan
(Actor Known for His Roles as ‘Dr. Paul Ruth’ in Scanners (1981) & ‘King Edward I’ in Braveheart (1995))
Patrick McGoohan
3
Birthdate: March 19, 1928
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Astoria, New York, United States
Died: January 13, 2009

Though born in the US, Patrick McGoohan moved to the US with his family as a child and later became one of Britain’s best-known actors. Fans loved him as John Drake in Danger Man and as Number Six in The Prisoner. He is also known for his Emmy-winning performance in the series Columbo.

 31 
Vogue Williams
(Television presenter)
Vogue Williams
3
Birthdate: October 2, 1985
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Reality TV star Vogue Williams soared to fame with the show Fade Street. Initially a DJ, Vogue had also worked for Stellar magazine. She later won Bear Grylls: Mission Survive. She also once launched her own fitness bootcamp. Vogue is married to TV personality Spencer Matthews.

 32 
Jessie Buckley
(Irish Actress and Singer Known for Her Films: ‘Beast’, ‘Wild Rose’ and ‘The Lost Daughter’)
Jessie Buckley
20
Birthdate: December 28, 1989
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Killarney, Ireland

One of the most popular actresses from Ireland, Jessie Buckley was ranked 38th on Ireland's greatest film actors list published by The Irish Times in 2020. Also known for her singing abilities, Jessie Buckley is a member of the Tipperary Millennium Orchestra. She can also play the piano, clarinet, and harp.

 33 
Colin O’Donoghue
(Actor and Musician Known for His Role as ‘Captain Hook’ in the TV Series ‘Once Upon a Time’)
Colin O’Donoghue
3
Birthdate: January 26, 1981
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Drogheda, Ireland

Identified as the “Best New Talent” of Ireland at the age of 23, Colin Arthur O'Donoghue attracted the attention of TV viewers with his performance in the TV show Once Upon a Time aired on ABC network and went on to star in the movie, The Rite, and Netflix series, Heartstrings. The actor and musician was also a member of the Irish band The Enemies.

 34 
Dominique McElligott
(Irish Actress)
Dominique McElligott
8
Birthdate: March 5, 1986
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
Irish actor Dominique McElligott is best known for her appearances in Hell on Wheels, The Astronaut Wives Club, The Boys, and the Netflix series House of Cards. She began her career with On Home Ground, in her teens. Her character in The Philanthropist was dropped before the series started airing.
 35 
Stuart Townsend
(Irish Actor & Director Known for His Role as ‘Lestat de Lioncourt’ in the Film ‘Queen of the Damned’)
Stuart Townsend
4
Birthdate: December 15, 1972
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Howth, County Dublin, Ireland
Stuart Townsend is best known as Lestat de Lioncourt from Queen of the Damned and as Dorian Gray from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. He quit acting in 2015 and became a car garage owner in Costa Rica but later returned with the series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
 36 
Brian Gleeson
3
Birthdate: November 14, 1987
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
 37 
Jimmy Carr
(Actor, Comedian, Television presenter)
Jimmy Carr
6
Birthdate: September 15, 1972
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England

Jimmy Carr is one of the biggest selling live comedians of Britain. The award-winning performer is best known for shows such as 8 Out of 10 Cats and jokes about everything from politics to sex. He has gained fame for his signature deadpan delivery, his high-pitched laughter, and his dark humor.

 38 
Barry Keoghan
3
Birthdate: October 18, 1992
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Summerhill, Dublin, Ireland
 39 
Paul Mescal
4
Birthdate: February 2, 1996
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Maynooth, Ireland
 40 
Sinéad Cusack
(Irish Stage and Film Actress)
Sinéad Cusack
3
Birthdate: February 18, 1948
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Dalkey, Ireland

Sinéad Cusack is an Irish actress best known for her contribution to British and Irish theatre. Over the years, she has received nominations for prestigious awards, such as the Tony Award and Olivier Award. In 2020, Sinéad Cusack was named in Ireland's greatest film actors list published by The Irish Times.

 41 
Nadine Coyle
(Pop Singer and a Member of the Girl Group ‘Girls Aloud')
Nadine Coyle
3
Birthdate: June 15, 1985
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Derry, Northern Ireland

Part of the award-winning girl band Girls Aloud, Irish singer-actor Nadine Coyle began her career with the show Popstars and later launched a solo career, with songs such as Go To Work. She has also been a model and has launched an Irish pub, which was later run by her family.

 42 
Liam Cunningham
(Best Known for Playing Davos Seaworth in the HBO Epic-Fantasy Series 'Game of Thrones')
Liam Cunningham
3
Birthdate: June 2, 1961
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Initially an electrician who worked at a Zimbabwean safari park, Liam Cunningham changed his luck by applying for an acting school after coming across an ad. The Irish actor is known for his signature stare and thick Irish accent and became internationally renowned as Davos Seaworth in Game of Thrones.

 43 
Maureen O'Sullivan
3
Birthdate: May 17, 1911
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Boyle, County Roscommon, Ireland
Died: June 23, 1998
 44 
Colm Meaney
(Best Known for His Role as ‘Miles O'Brien’ in the TV Series ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’)
Colm Meaney
3
Birthdate: May 30, 1953
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Colm Meaney is an actor known for portraying Miles O'Brien in TV series, such as Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Also known for his significant film career, Meaney received the Best Actor IFTA for playing Martin McGuinness in The Journey. Meaney was named in The Irish Times' Ireland's greatest film actors list in 2020.

 45 
Sharon Horgan
(Known for the Comedy Series 'Pulling' and 'Catastrophe')
Sharon Horgan
5
Birthdate: July 13, 1970
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Hackney, London, England

London-born Irish actor and writer Sharon Horgan is best known for her BAFTA-winning and Emmy-nominated writing for the series Catastrophe. She has also won awards for her acting in the sitcom Pulling and established the production company Merman. She is the sister of former rugby player Shane Horgan.

 46 
Louis Walsh
(Irish Music Manager & Television Personality)
Louis Walsh
3
Birthdate: August 5, 1952
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Kiltimagh, Ireland

Louis Walsh is an Irish TV personality and music manager. In the 1990s and 2000s, Walsh managed three of Ireland's most prominent pop acts— Westlife, Boyzone, and Johnny Logan. A controversial personality, Louis Walsh has been accused of sexual harassment and making homophobic comments in the past.

 47 
Jack Gleeson
(Irish Actor Best Known for His Role as Joffrey Baratheon on the HBO TV Series ‘Game of Thrones’)
Jack Gleeson
7
Birthdate: May 20, 1992
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cork, Ireland
Irish actor Jack Gleeson soared to fame with his portrayal of Joffrey Baratheon in the iconic series Game of Thrones. He later switched to independent theater and appeared in the BBC miniseries Out of Her Mind. The Trinity College alumnus later also co-established the Collapsing Horse Theatre Company.
 48 
Ruth Kearney
3
Birthdate: November 11, 1984
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland
 49 
Sarah Greene
(Actress)
Sarah Greene
3
Birthdate: July 21, 1984
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cork, Ireland
 50 
Charlie Murphy
3
Birthdate: April 19, 1988
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Enniscorthy, County Wexford, Ireland