Real name: Gabriel Byrne
Birthdate: May 12, 1950
Click here for more images!
Born in Dublin Ireland, the first of six children born to devoutly Roman Catholic parents, Byrne was educated by the Irish Christian Brothers. He attended University College Dublin, where he studied archaeology and linguistics, becoming proficient in Irish. He worked in archaeology when he left UCD but maintained his love of the language, writing the first drama in Irish, Draiocht, on Ireland's national Irish Language television station, TG4 when it began broadcasting in 1996.
Byrne discovered his passion for acting later in his life. Before becoming an actor, he did work as everything from an archaeologist to a cook, to a bullfighter to a Spanish schoolteacher. When he finally found acting aged 29, he began his career on stage with the Focus Theatre and the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, later joining the Royal Court Theatre and the National Theatre in London.
Byrne came to prominence on the final season of the Irish television show The Riordans, subsequently starring in his own spin-off series, Bracken. He made his film debut in 1981 as Lord Uther in John Boorman's classic King Arthur epic, Excalibur. He first visited the United States when he was 37.
Byrne has won four awards for his acting: in 1979 the Jacobs' Award for Best Actor in a TV series for Bracken; 1999 the Theatre World Award for A Moon for the Misbegotten; and in 2000 the Outstanding Award for Irish Culture for Wild Geese.
He mentions in interviews and in his 1995 autobiography, Pictures in my Head (ISBN 0-86327-709-8), that he hates being called brooding.
Byrne married Jewish American actress Ellen Barkin and has two children with her, Jack Daniel (born 1989) and Romy Marion (born 1992). The couple separated amicably in 1993 and divorced in 1999.
In 2007 the 5th Dublin International Film Festival presented Mr. Bryne with the first of the newly created Volta awards, for lifetime achievement in acting. On February 20th 2007 he received the Honorary Patronage of the University Philosophical Society, of Trinity College, Dublin.