Brían F. O'Byrne

Active - 1997 - 2020  |   Born - May 16, 1967 in County Cavan, Ireland  |   Genres - Drama, Comedy Drama, Crime, Thriller, Historical Film

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Biography by Nathan Southern

Irish actor Brian O'Byrne divided his time more or less equally between theater and film. On stage, O'Byrne tackled lead and supporting roles in such on and off-Broadway productions as Frozen (2004, as a serial killer -- a performance that netted him a Tony), Doubt (2005), and Shining City (2006). Cinematically, he more or less adhered to supporting roles, in such outings as Bandits (2001), Million Dollar Baby (2004), Bug (2006), and Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007). In the years to come, O'Byrne would also find success on the small screen, starring in series like FlashForward, Prime Suspect, and the acclaimed mini-series Mildred Pierce.

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  • First name is pronounced Bree'un.
  • Grew up in a rural area in Ireland and was not exposed to theater or film in his youth (saw only three movies by age 17) and did not plan to become an actor.
  • Began acting in college because his two best friends were in theater.
  • Won a green card in a lottery in 1989, which paved the way for his entrance to acting in the U.S., where he joined the Irish Repertory Theatre and soon won a role in Philadelphia, Here I Come!
  • Big break came when cast in Martin McDonagh's play The Beauty Queen of Leenane in Galway, Ireland, after the original actor became sick the third day of rehearsal; show debuted on Broadway in 1998.
  • Divides time equally between lead roles on Broadway (Doubt; FrozenThe Coast of Utopia) and supporting roles in TV (Oz; Brotherhood; FlashForward) and film (Million Dollar Baby; Bug; Before the Devil Knows You're Dead).