Born on March 29, 1955 in Dublin, Ireland, Brendan Gleeson spent several years with the Dublin Shakespeare Festival prior to being accepted to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where he completed a three-year Acting Drama Course with honors. Brendan returned to Dublin after graduating, where he continued in theater while also working as a secondary school teacher of Irish and English. He spent several seasons with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon, where he performed in works such as King Lear, Richard III, and Hamlet.
Brendan began his film career at the age of 34 and shortly thereafter gained international critical acclaim for his role as Dublin folk hero and criminal Martin Cahill in John Boorman’s The General. He has since been nominated for and won numerous awards, including the 2009 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in Into the Storm.
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Brendan joined the Harry Potter films as Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody, paranoid former Auror and Hogwarts Defense Against the Dark Arts professor with a diabolical secret, in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Speaking to The Guardian in 2011 about being cast as Moody, Brendan commented that his sons were the reason he agreed to do it:
They all roared when they heard. ‘Dad’s going to be Mad-Eye Moody. Wa-hey!’ After that, it was never not going to happen.
When Brendan joined the films, he feared that the young child actors would be brats but was happy to find that they were very well-adjusted. He spoke to Cinema Blend about how he enjoyed being on set:
It just became really magical… What I loved about it was that a lot of the crafts that maybe were on their way out hung around for a while longer like creature effects, and people actually putting the feathers on things. People were building sets that were extraordinarily intricate, there was craftsmanship going on at a massive level.
Brendan reprised the role of Moody in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, the latter of which became a family affair when son Domhnall Gleeson was cast as Bill Weasley.
- Brendan is an accomplished fiddler, as well as playing the mandolin and guitar.
- He speaks fluent Gaelic and advocates the preservation of Irish language and culture.
- Two of Brendan’s four sons are also actors. In addition to sharing the screen with Domhnall in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1, he co-starred with his son Bríain in The Tiger’s Tail (2006).
- Brendan has worked with three actors who have played the Doctor on Doctor Who: Christopher Eccleston (28 Days Later), David Tennant (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire), and Matt Smith (In Bruges).
Connect with Brendan Gleeson
Connect with Brendan Gleeson
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