Who is Stephen Rea?
Stephen Rea is an Irish actor who is known for appearing in several popular films during his almost fifty-year long acting career. He was nominated at the Academy Awards for his role in the film ‘The Crying Game’. Rea also earned a nomination at the 1997 Golden Globes Awards for the Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television after impressing the critics with his acting in the television film ‘Crime of the Century’. He appeared in the popular television show ‘Father & Son’ for which he won an Irish Film and Television Award, and is known for his performance in the television miniseries ‘The Honourable Woman’ as well. Besides his successful film and television career, Rea has also had a distinguished career in the theatre industry. He appeared in several hit Broadway productions and was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actor in the early 1990s.
Stephen Rea began his acting career in Ireland in the early 1960s. He appeared in many television shows and theatre productions before venturing into films as well. Rea frequently worked with Irish filmmaker Neil Patrick Jordan during the early part of his career and made a name for himself in the British film industry as well. In 1964, Rea appeared in the British television series ‘Crossroads’. He appeared in several theatre productions between the late 1960s and mid-1970s. He appeared in ‘Shadow of a Gunman’ at The Mermaid Theatre in London. Later at the Royal Court Theatre in London, he featured in four different shows, ‘Captain Oates' Left Sock’, ‘Crete and Sargent Pepper’, ‘Freedom of the City’, and ‘Geography of a Horse Dreamer.’
After appearing in a number of television shows as a guest actor, Rea received an offer for a regular role, ‘Carter Brandon’, in the in the British comedy series ‘I Didn't Know You Cared’ in 1975. He was part of the show for two seasons, but struggled to find another regular role for many years.
In 1992, he appeared in the British thriller film ‘The Crying Game’ as ‘Fergus’, alongside Miranda Richardson, Jaye Davidson, and Forest Whitaker. The film changed his acting career for the better as he was nominated at the Academy Awards for the Best Actor in a Leading Role. The performance also earned him nominations at the BAFTA Awards and David di Donatello Awards, and won him the National Society of Film Critics Awards for Best Actor.
In the 1996 television film ‘Crime of the Century’, a crime thriller based on the infamous Lindbergh kidnapping of 1932, Rea portrayed the notorious ‘Bruno Hauptmann’. The film was telecast on HBO and featured Isabella Rossellini opposite Rea. He was nominated at the 1997 Golden Globe Awards for the Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television Award.
In the 2000s, Rea appeared in two miniseries which won him Irish Film and Television Awards for the Best Actor in Supporting/Leading Role. The first miniseries was ‘Father & Son’, a four-part crime thriller directed by Brian Kirk. The series also featured Dougray Scott, Sophie Okonedo, Reece Noi, and Wunmi Mosaku. The other one, ‘The Honourable Woman’, was released five years later in 2011. He portrayed the character of ‘Sir Hugh Hayden-Hoyle’ in this miniseries. Apart from winning two Irish Film and Television Awards, Rea has been nominated for the award five more times in his career for featuring in ‘The Halo Effect’, ‘Breakfast on Pluto’, ‘Dickensian’ and ‘War & Peace’.
He also appeared in numerous films, mostly in supporting or special roles. He has delivered some notable performances in ‘V for Vendetta’, ‘The Devil's Mercy’, ‘Nothing Personal’, ‘Underworld: Awakening’, and ‘Out of the Dark’.
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Personal Life & Family
Stephen Rea was born on October 31, 1946, in Belfast, Northern Ireland and was raised a Protestant. He attended Queen's University Belfast and Abbey Theatre School in Dublin to study English and drama, respectively.
In 1983, Rea married Dolours Price who was a former representative and bomber of the Provisional Irish Republican Army. The couple had two sons together. Price had also participated in the hunger strike for the IRA, and after the movement ended, she joined the left-wing Irish republican political party named ‘Sinn Féin’. The night before she participated in a bombing which resulted in over 200 people being injured, Price watched Stephen Rea perform at the Royal Court Theatre in London. The couple divorced in 2003.