Real name: William John Neeson
Birthdate: June 7, 1952
Partner: Natsha Richardson
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William John "Liam" Neeson OBE (born June 7, 1952) is an Academy Award-nominated Irish actor. He is known for his role as Oskar Schindler in the 1993 film Schindler's List, and has since appeared in several popular film series, including the Star Wars prequel trilogy, The Chronicles of Narnia and Batman Begins. He has also continued to play real-life characters, including Michael Collins and Alfred Kinsey.
Still boxing at sixteen, he had been Youth Heavyweight Champion of Ireland for three consecutive years, aided by his height.
Schindler's List established Neeson as a widely sought after leading actor. He later starred in period pieces Rob Roy (1995) and Michael Collins (1996), the latter earning him another Golden Globes nomination and a win for Best Starring Role at the Venice Film Festival. Neeson went onto star as Jean Valjean in the 1998 adaptation of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables and in The Haunting as Dr. David Marrow. In 1999, Neeson took on the role as Obi-Wan Kenobi's mentor, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, in George Lucas' much anticipated Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. His voice would later be used in Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Neeson was to appear in the third prequel, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith as a Force Ghost, but a motorcycle accident prevented this and instead the character was mentioned only. Due to his height (6 ft 4 in), Neeson cost George Lucas an additional $150,000 in set design on The Phantom Menace.
In 2007, Neeson starred in the American Civil War epic Seraphim Falls alongside Pierce Brosnan and Angelica Huston. He is also set to star as Abraham Lincoln in a film directed by Steven Spielberg. In preparation for the role, Neeson visited Washington, D.C. and read Lincoln's personal letters. He also visited Ford's Theatre, where the President was shot. He will again give his voice to Aslan in The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008). Neeson's voice will also be featured in the video game, Fallout 3. The executive producer of the game, Todd Howard, said "This role was written with Liam in mind, and provides the dramatic tone for the entire game". This is Neeson's second time voicing a video game character; his first was as Henri Ducard in the 2005 adaption of Batman Begins.
Since July 3, 1994, Neeson has been married to actress Natasha Richardson, daughter of the late director Tony Richardson and screen legend Vanessa Redgrave. She is also a sister to Joely Richardson and a member of the theatrical Redgrave family. They have two sons, Micheál Richard Antonio (born June 22, 1995) and Daniel Jack (born August 28, 1996). The family home is in exurban Millbrook, New York. Neeson turned down the 'Freedom of the town of Ballymena' offered to him by Ballymena Borough Council, because of objections made by members of the Democratic Unionist Party about his comments that he had felt like a 'second-class citizen' growing up in the town. Neeson was raised Catholic, still attends church, and raised his children in the faith.
Neeson was named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in her 1999 New Year's Honours List.