#OTD in 1952 – Birth of actor, Liam Neeson, in Ballymena, Co Antrim.

Liam worked as a forklift operator for Guinness, truck driver, assistant architect and an amateur boxer. He had originally sought a career as a teacher by attending St. Mary’s Teaching College, Newcastle. However, in 1976, Neeson joined the Belfast Lyric Players’ Theater and made his professional acting debut in the play “The Risen People”. After two years, Neeson moved to Dublin’s Abbey Theatre where he performed the classics. It was here that he was spotted by director John Boorman and was cast in the film Excalibur (1981) as Sir Gawain, his first high-profile film role.

Neeson rose to prominence with his acclaimed starring role in Steven Spielberg’s 1993 Oscar winner Schindler’s List. He has since starred in a number of other successful films, including Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, the action thriller series Taken (2008–14), Michael Collins, Les Misérables, Batman Begins, Kinsey, Clash of the Titans, The Chronicles of Narnia series, The Grey and the historical drama Silence.

He has been nominated for a number of awards, including an Academy Award for Best Actor, a BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role and three Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama. Empire magazine ranked Neeson among both the “100 Sexiest Stars in Film History” and “The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time”.

On the 9th April 2016, Neeson was honoured with the Outstanding Contribution to Cinema award by the Irish Film and Television Academy (IFTA) at the Mansion House in Dublin. Uachtarain na hEireann (Irish President) Michael D. Higgins presented Neeson with the award.

In 2016 Neeson narrated the RTÉ One three-part documentary on the Easter Rising, 1916. In 2016, he voiced the Monster in the Spanish film A Monster Calls, and on 12 December 2016, he appeared on BBC’s The One Show to talk about the film. In 2017, Neeson was listed by UK-based company Richtopia at number 74 in the list of 200 Most Influential Philanthropists and Social Entrepreneurs Worldwide.

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