Born: May 12, 1950
Birthplace: Dublin, Republic of Ireland
Gabriel James Byrne (born 12 May 1950) is an Irish actor, film director, film producer, writer, cultural ambassador and audiobook narrator. His acting career began in the Focus Theatre before he joined London's Royal Court Theatre in 1979. Byrne's screen debut came in the Irish soap opera The Riordans and the spin-off show Bracken.
He has appeared in over 35 feature films, including Excalibur (1981), Miller's Crossing (1990), The Usual Suspects (1995), Stigmata (1999), End of Days (1999), Spider (2002), Jindabyne (2006), Vampire Academy (2014) and The 33 (2015), and co-wrote The Last of the High Kings (1996). Byrne has also produced several films, including the Academy Award-nominated In the Name of the Father (1993).
One of Byrne's most identifiable roles is that of Paul Weston in the HBO drama In Treatment (2008-2011), for which he won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for two Emmy Awards and two Satellite Awards.
Byrne was born in Walkinstown, Dublin, the eldest of six children raised by devoutly Roman Catholic parents: a cooper and soldier, Dan, and a hospital nurse, Eileen (née Gannon) from Elphin, County Roscommon. He has four siblings: Donal, Thomas, Breda, and Margaret; another, Marian, died at an early age.
He attended Ardscoil Éanna in Crumlin, where he later taught Spanish and History. About his early training to become a priest, he said in an interview, "I spent five years in the seminary and I suppose it was assumed that one had a vocation. I realised subsequently that I didn't." He attended University College Dublin, where he studied archaeology and linguistics, becoming proficient in Irish.
He played football in Dublin with Stella Maris.
In January 2011, he spoke in an interview on The Meaning of Life about being sexually abused by priests during his childhood.
Byrne worked in archaeology when he left UCD. He maintained his love of his language, later writing the first television drama in Irish, Draíocht, on Ireland's national Irish-language television station, TG4, when it began broadcasting in 1996.
Before becoming an actor, Byrne had many jobs, including archaeologist, cook, and Spanish and History schoolteacher at Ardscoil Éanna in Crumlin, Dublin. He started acting at age 29, and began his career on stage with the Focus Theatre and the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. He later joined the Performing Arts Course in Sandymount Dublin 4 (Roslyn Park College) . Byrne came to prominence on the final season of the Irish television show The Riordans, subsequently starring in his own spin-off series, Bracken. His first play for television was Michael Feeney Callan's Love Is ... (RTÉ). He made his film debut in 1981, as King Uther Pendragon in John Boorman's King Arthur epic, Excalibur.
In 1983, he appeared with Richard Burton in the miniseries Wagner, co-starring Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud and Ralph Richardson. In 1985, Byrne starred in the acclaimed political thriller Defence of the Realm, though he subsequently claimed he had been upstaged by his co-star, veteran actor Denholm Elliott: "I amended the actor's cliché to 'Never work with children, animals or Denholm Elliott'."
In 2007 Byrne topped Kerry Film Festival's jury lineup.
Upon his return to theatre in 2008, he appeared as King Arthur in Camelot with the New York Philharmonic from 7 to 10 May, following the footsteps of veteran actors Richard Burton and Richard Harris. Byrne was cast in a film adaptation of Flann O'Brien's metafictional novel At Swim-Two-Birds, alongside Colin Farrell and Cillian Murphy. Actor Brendan Gleeson was set to direct the film. In October 2009, however, Gleeson expressed fear that, should the Irish Film Board be abolished as planned by the Irish State, the production might fall through.
Byrne starred as therapist Paul Weston in the critically acclaimed HBO primetime weeknight series In Treatment from 2008 to 2010. He was named as TV's "latest Dr. McDreamy" by The New York Times for this role, and won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Drama Series in 2008. He also received his first Emmy Award nomination (Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series) for the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards that same year.
In 2011, Byrne signed up to appear in the new movie by Oscar-winning director Costa Gavras; Le Capital, an adaptation of Stéphane Osmont's novel of the same name. In 2013, he starred as Earl Haraldson in the first season of Vikings opposite Travis Fimmel and Clive Standen.
In early 2016, he is due to star in Mad to be Normal (previously titled Metanoia), a biopic of the Scottish psychiatrist R. D. Laing, produced by Gizmo Films.
He was cultural ambassador for Ireland until he criticised the tourism initiative The Gathering, describing it as an attempt by Ireland's politicians and media to fleece wealthy Americans. Byrne criticised the marketing strategy employed by Guinness known as Arthur's Day as "a cynical piece of exercise in a country which has a huge drinking problem."
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Byrne had a 12-year relationship with the TV producer and presenter, Aine O'Connor, from 1974-86.
He had begun a relationship with actress Ellen Barkin, and relocated to New York City to be with her. A year later, in 1988, Byrne married Barkin, with whom he has two children, John "Jack" Daniel (born 1989) and Romy Marion (born 1992). The couple separated amicably in 1993, and then divorced in 1999. Byrne currently resides in Manhattan.
Byrne is actively involved in various charities. In 2004, Byrne was appointed a UNICEF Ireland Ambassador. He became a patron of Croí (The West of Ireland Cardiology Foundation) in 1997 in response to the care given to his mother while she was a patient in a Galway hospital.
At the 5th Jameson Dublin International Film Festival in 2007, Byrne was presented with the first of the newly created Volta awards, for lifetime achievement in acting. He received the Honorary Patronage of the University Philosophical Society, of Trinity College, Dublin on 20 February 2007. In November 2007, he was awarded an honorary degree by the National University of Ireland, Galway; the president of the University, Iognáid Ó Muircheartaigh, said that this award is in recognition of the actor's "outstanding contribution to Irish and international film".
Although the actor is noted as a fiercely private person, he released a documentary for the 20th Galway Film Fleadh in the summer of 2008 called Stories from Home, an intimate portrait about his life. It premiered in the US in September 2009 at the Los Angeles Irish Film Festival.
Byrne mentioned in interviews and his 1995 autobiography, Pictures in My Head that he hates being called "brooding". He has been listed by People as one of the "Sexiest Men Alive". Entertainment Weekly has also dubbed Byrne as one of the hottest celebrities over the age of 50.
Byrne married his partner, Hannah Beth King, on 4 August 2014 at Ballymaloe House in County Cork, Ireland. The couple had a baby girl in February 2017.
|1981||Love Is ...||Larry|
|1983||Hanna K.||Joshua Herzog|
|1983||The Keep||Sturmbannfuhrer Erich Kaempffer|
|1985||Defence of the Realm||Nicholas 'Nick' Mullen|
|1987||Lionheart||The Black Prince|
|1987||Hello Again||Dr. Kevin Scanlon|
|1987||Julia and Julia||Paolo Vinci|
|1988||A Soldier's Tale||Saul|
|1989||Dark Obsession||Lord Hugo Bruckton|
|1990||Miller's Crossing||Tom Reagan|
|1990||Shipwrecked||Lt. John Merrick|
|1992||Into the West||Papa Reilly||Also the associate producer|
|1992||Cool World||Jack Deebs|
|1993||Point of No Return||Bob|
|1993||A Dangerous Woman||Colin Mackey|
|1994||A Simple Twist of Fate||John Newland|
|1994||Trial by Jury||Daniel Graham|
|1994||Little Women||Professor Friedrich Bhaer|
|1994||Prince of Jutland||Fenge|
|1995||The Usual Suspects||Dean Keaton||National Board of Review Award for Best Cast|
|1995||Buffalo Girls||Teddy Blue|
|1995||Dead Man||Charlie Dickinson|
|1995||Frankie Starlight||Jack Kelly|
|1996||Mad Dog Time||Ben London|
|1996||The Last of the High Kings||Jack Griffin||Also the writer and executive producer|
|1996||Dr. Hagard's Disease||Also the executive producer|
|1996||The Lark in the Clear Air||Executive producer, writer and director|
|1996||Somebody is Waiting||Roger Ellis||Also the co-producer|
|1997||Smilla's Sense of Snow||The mechanic|
|1997||The End of Violence||Ray Bering|
|1997||Weapons of Mass Distraction||Lionel Powers||Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor - Miniseries or Television Film|
|1997||This Is the Sea||Rohan|
|1998||The Man in the Iron Mask||D'Artagnan|
|1998||The Brylcreem Boys||Sean O'Brien||Also the co-producer|
|1998||Quest for Camelot||Sir Lionel|
|1998||Enemy of the State||Fake Brill|
|1999||Stigmata||Father Andrew Kiernan||Nominated—Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actor - Horror
Nominated—Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor
|1999||End of Days||Satan's host/The Nameless Banker||Nominated—Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor|
|2000||Canone inverso||Jeno Varga|
|2002||Virginia's Run||Ford Lofton|
|2002||Emmett's Mark||Jack Marlow/Stephen Bracken|
|2002||Ghost Ship||Captain Sean Murphy|
|2004||Vanity Fair||The Marquess of Steyne|
|2004||The Bridge of San Luis Rey||Brother Juniper|
|2005||Assault on Precinct 13||Captain Marcus Duvall|
|2006||Jindabyne||Stewart Kane||Nominated—Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role|
|2006||Emotional Arithmetic||Christopher Lewis|
|2009||Perrier's Bounty||Voice of The Reaper|
|2012||Le Capital||Dittmar Rigule|
|2012||I, Anna||Detective Bernie Reid|
|2013||Le temps de L'aventure||l'homme|
|2013||All Things to All Men||Joseph Corsco|
|2014||Vampire Academy||Victor Dashkov|
|2014||The 33||Andre Sougarret|
|2015||Louder Than Bombs||Gene Reed|
|2015||Nobody Wants the Night||Bram Trevor|
|2016||Carrie Pilby||Mr. Pilby|
|2016||No Pay, Nudity||Lawrence Rose|
|2017||Mad to Be Normal||Jim|
|1978-79||The Riordans||Pat Barry||4 episodes|
|1980-82||Bracken||Pat Barry||11 episodes|
|1981||Strangers||Johnny Maguire||Episode: "The Flowers of Edinburgh"|
|1981||The Search for Alexander the Great||Ptolemy||4 episodes|
|1985||Christopher Columbus||Christopher Columbus||4 episodes|
|1994||Screen Two||The Good Thief||Episode: "All Things Bright and Beautiful"|
|1997||Glenroe||Pat Barry||Episode: "Miley's New Bullock"|
|2000||Madigan Men||Benjamin "Ben" Madigan||12 episodes|
|2008-10||In Treatment||Dr. Paul Weston||106 episodes
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Television Series Drama
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actor - Television Series Drama
|2012||Secret State||Tom Dawkins||4 episodes|
|2013||Vikings||Earl Haraldson||Main role; 6 episodes|
|2016||Marco Polo||Pope Gregory X||Episode: "Let God's Work Begin"|
|2000||Walter Kerr Theatre (Broadway)||A Moon for the Misbegotten||James 'Jim' Tyrone, Jr.||Nominated for a Tony Award (Best Actor in a Play) and Drama Desk Award (Outstanding Actor in a Play); Winner of the Theatre World Award|
|2002||Bleecker Street Theatre (Off-Broadway)||The Exonerated||Kerry Max Cook||Replacement|
|2005||Studio 54 (Broadway)||A Touch of the Poet||Cornelius Melody||Winner of the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play|
|2008||Avery Fisher Hall||Camelot||King Arthur||Performance for the New York Philharmonic's annual musical event from 7-10 May 2008|
|2016||American Airlines Theatre (Broadway)||Long Day's Journey into Night||James Tyrone||Nominated for a Tony Award (Best Actor in a Play)|
|1979||Jacob's Awards||Jacob's Award for Best Actor in a TV Series (Drama)||Won||For Bracken|
|1987||Fantasporto||International Fantasy Film Award for Best Actor||Won||For Gothic and Defence of the Realm|
|1995||National Board of Review of Motion Pictures||NBR Award for Best Acting by an Ensemble||Won||For The Usual Suspects|
|1998||Satellite Awards||Golden Satellite Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television||Nominated||For Weapons of Mass Distraction|
|Grammy Awards||Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album (Children)||Nominated||For The Star-Child and The Nightingale and the Rose (Oscar Wilde)|
|1999||Cinequest Film Festival||Maverick Tribute Award||Won|
|2000||Theatre World Awards||Theatre World Award for Acting||Won||For A Moon for the Misbegotten|
|Tony Awards||Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play||Nominated||For A Moon for the Misbegotten|
|Razzie Awards||Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor||Nominated||For End of Days and Stigmata|
|Blockbuster Entertainment Awards||Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favourite Actor (Horror)||Nominated||For Stigmata|
|2005||Irish Film and Television Awards||IFTA Award for Best Lead Actor in a Feature Film||Nominated||For Wah-Wah|
|2006||Inside Film Awards||IF Award for Best Actor||Nominated||For Jindabyne|
|Australian Film Institute Awards||AFI Award for Best Lead Actor||Nominated||For Jindabyne|
|Outer Critics Circle Awards||Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Actor in a Play||Won||For A Touch of the Poet|
|2007||Jameson Dublin International Film Festival||Volta Award for Lifetime Achievement in Acting||Won||This was the first year for the presentation of the award.|
|2008||Irish Film and Television Awards||IFTA Award for Best Lead Actor in a Feature Film||Nominated||For Jindabyne|
|Primetime Emmy Awards||Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series||Nominated||For In Treatment|
|Dingle Film Festival||Gregory Peck Excellence in the Art of Film Award||Won||This is the first year for the presentation of the award, which was named in honour of the late Gregory Peck.|
|Golden Globe Awards||Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama||Won||For In Treatment|
|Satellite Awards||Golden Satellite Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series - Drama||Nominated||For In Treatment|
|2009||Primetime Emmy Awards||Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series||Nominated||For In Treatment|
|2016||Tony Awards||Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play||Nominated||For Long Day's Journey into Night|