Though the family moved to Birr when Aidan was only 13 years old, he moved back to Dublin. He was working as a roofer in the city during his late teens when he realised his passion for acting.
He shifted base from Dublin to Chicago in 1978, and started training at the ‘Piven Theatre Workshop’. Enacting in the play ‘The Man in 605’ marked his stage debut.
'Scheherazade' and 'The Irish Hebrew Lesson' are some of his other stage performances, before Quinn made his New York debut with the off-Broadway production ‘Fool for Love’, directed by American playwright Sam Shepard in 1983.
The movie ‘Reckless’, which released in the year 1984, saw the launch of Aidan Quinn as an actor. He played the role of an angry young man in this love story.
Though his role in ‘Reckless’ went unnoticed, his next movie ‘Desperately Seeking Susan’ which came out in the year 1985, brought him recognition. He shared the screen space with renowned actresses Rosanna Arquette and Madonna in this comedy drama. He also was seen in the acclaimed television film ‘An Early Frost’ the same year.
Following his role in Sam Shepard’s play ‘A Lie of the Mind’, Aidan was cast in the lead role by playwright Robert Falls for ‘Modern-day Hamlet’ in 1985. The play was performed at the Wisdom Bridge Theatre, Chicago.
In 1986, Aidan was seen in the movie ‘The Mission’, where he enacted the role of Robert Di Niro’s brother. Di Noro’s character kills Aidan in the movie after he finds him cheating.
The 1987 crime comedy ‘Stakeout’ saw Aidan playing the role of an escaped prison convict. He starred opposite actors Richard Dreyfuss and Emilio Estevez in the movie.
After portraying supporting roles in various movies, he was cast in the lead role in the 1988 flick ‘Crusoe’. Aiden’s character finds himself stranded in an island after surviving a ship-wreck, and the story is a narration of how he manages to survive till help arrives.
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In the Barry Levinson directed 1990’s movie ‘Avalon’, this actor portrayed the role of a son divided between his orthodox mother and a modern wife. The Jewish family immigrates to the US around the beginning of the 20th century, and the story revolves around how the family evolves stronger in the face of many adversities.
This renowned actor played the role of a flirtatious musician in the 1992 movie ‘The Playboys’, which garnered acclaim from the critics as well as the audiences.
In the 1993 Johnny Depp starrer ‘Benny and Joon’, Aidan played the character of Benny who takes care of his mentally unstable sister after the death of their parents.
The 1994 movie ‘Legends of the Fall’ saw Aidan portraying the character of a Native American. The eldest of the three brothers, Aidan’s character is the responsible one who tries to prevent a feud from rising among the brothers.
He plays the character of an Irish Republican leader Harry Boland in the biopic ‘Michael Collins’ directed by Neil Jordan in 1996.
In the 1997 spy-thriller ‘The Assignment’, Aidan plays a double role. One of the characters portrayed by him is a terrorist, and the other is a CIA Agent. The plot revolves around CIA’s plan to capture the terrorist with the help of the CIA Agent.
’This Is My Father’ is a harrowing tale of two lovers, who got separated owing to a fateful turn of events, written and directed by Paul Quinn and photographed by Declan Quinn. The movie also features Aidan in the role of an Irish farmer, who is in love with a pretty seventeen year old girl hailing from a middle class family. He is also the executive producer of this film which was released in 1998.
In the 1999 thriller ‘In Dreams’, Aidan plays the character of the husband of the female protagonist. In the same year, he was also seen in the Wes Craven's movie ‘Music of the Heart’as Meryl Streep's friend.
In 2000 he featured in the rural drama ‘Song catcher’ wherein he enacted the role of a mountaineer teaching folk music. He was also cast in the role of legendary English singer-composer Paul McCartney in the television drama ‘Two of Us’ in the same year.
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Quinn portrayed the character of Kerry Max Cook in the 2005 film ‘The exonerated’. The movie narrates the true story of people who are freed after being sentenced to the death row.
‘The Book of Daniel’, the NBC drama revolving around Christians and the Christian faith, aired in the year 2006, featured Aidan as the main lead. The show was dropped after being aired for three weeks, amidst much controversy among the Christian community.
Aidan appeared in a cameo role in the William Rainsferd movie ‘Sarah’s Key’ in 2010. The movie was set against the backdrop of World War II.
The actor also played a negative role in the movie ‘Unknown’ in the year 2011. He enacted the role of an assassin who plots to kill a scientist in this flick.This acclaimed artist was seen in the 2013 movie ‘Stay’, alongside Taylor Schilling. The movie was adapted from an Aislinn Hunter novel of the same name.
The actor appeared as Captain Thomas Gregson in the Television Drama Series ‘Elementary’. Broadcasted under the CBS television network in 2014, the series is a modern take on Conan Doyle’s ‘Sherlock Holmes’.
’The Gettysburg Address’ is a documentary being written and produced by Sean Conant, expected to come out in 2015. Aidan voices the character of ‘Theodore Parker’ in this documentary.