Well respected in the stage world for her frequent work with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Court Theater, Irish actress Sinéad Cusack has also made quite an impression in the world of cinema. If her Shakespearian past has followed her from stage to screen with such efforts as Twelfth Night, the classically trained actress has also branched out with roles in such diverse features as Hoffman (1970), Waterland (1992), and Stealing Beauty (1996). Though Cusack spent her early years aspiring to sainthood in convent school, her carefree, attention-getting nature instead led her to the spotlight. When Cusack was 11, her father, Cyril, cast his young daughter in an Olympia Theater production of The Trial; although she wasn't thrilled with the prospect of acting early on, she kept gravitating back toward the stage. It was during her college years that Cusack became a fixture of Dublin's Abbey Theater, and a move to London found her covering for a pregnant Judi Dench in a 1975 production of London Assurance. Cusack credits her subsequent stint at the Royal Shakespeare Company with teaching her everything she knows as an actress.
In 1960, Cusack made her feature debut in director Clive Donner's Alfred the Great, and though numerous roles were offered to her in the years that followed, the actress chose her film roles carefully, opting to concentrate on her stage work. Shakespearian roles in such Royal Court productions as Macbeth and The Merchant of Venice balanced numerous small-screen efforts including Notorious Woman (1974) and Quiller (1975). In 1984, Cusack cemented her reputation when she made her Broadway debut in Much Ado About Nothing, and she also made quite an impression with her concurrent performance as Roxanne in the Broadway production of Cyrano de Bergerac (the two productions played in repertory at the George Gershwin Theatre); in 1985, a performance of the latter play was taped for television broadcast. A return to London found Cusack taking the stage with her father and sisters Sorcha and Niamh for a production of, appropriately enough, The Three Sisters.
In the late 1980s and early '90s, Cusack became a more familiar face to movie lovers thanks to roles in Waterland (opposite real-life husband Jeremy Irons), Sparrow (1993), and Uncovered (1994). After once again joining husband Irons onscreen with Stealing Beauty, Cusack was directed by him in the 1997 U.K. television drama Mirad. In 2000, Cusack got laughs with her role as a meddlesome mother who enrolls in college to keep an eye on her son in My Mother Frank, and after a role in the quirky drama I Capture the Castle in 2003, she made a trip back to the small screen with the television drama Winter Solstice.