Stephen Rea

Perhaps one of the most respected and established actors to emerge from Ireland, Stephen Rea spent years performing on stage and on screen before staking his claim in the United States with an Oscar-nominated performance in "The Crying Game" (1992). Directed by long-time collaborator, Neil Jordan, "The Crying Game" both introduced him to a wider, international audience while reaffirming to fellow countrymen his status as an actor of considerable depth. Prior to his breakout performance, Rea spent two decades working on stage, touring his native Ireland in small theatres until he worked his way up to bigger stages in Dublin and eventually London, while performing in films like "Angel" (1982) and "Life is Sweet" (1991). He later formed his own stage company, Field Day, with acclaimed playwright Brian Friel, which allowed him to delve into more politically-themed material that helped attract attention to the debate concerning The Troubles, North Ireland's long conflict with England. Never shy about his stance on issues, Rea continued performing in movies and plays with overt political intentions, and even married Dolours Price, a former member of the Irish Republican Army who spent eight years in prison on suspicion of partaking in a terrorist bombing. But it was Rea's nuanced and often sympathetic portrayals of otherwise complex characters that attracted the most attention and endeared him to audiences on both sides of the Atlantic.