Liam Neeson lives in Millbrook, New York with his children Michael and Daniel. His wife, actress Natasha Richardson, died during a skiing accident in March 2009.
He was born William John Neeson on June 7, 1952 in Ballymena, Northern Ireland. His mother Katherine was a cook and his father worked as a caretaker for a school. The name Liam is the Irish word for William and he was named after a local clergyman.
He has three sisters, two of whom are older than him. Early on he showed interest in boxing and would become an amateur boxing champ. When he turned 11 he acted in a school play. His involvement with school plays would spur him on to an acting career.
After he left college, Liam Neeson worked a number of jobs (including stints as a fork lift operator). His first film appearance was in 1978 in the religious movie Pilgrim’s Progress where he played the role of Jesus.
He would then appear in several stage plays where he would get noticed by filmmaker John Boorman. He was encouraged to do the movie Excalibur. From 1982 to 87 he would continue appearing in TV movies.
He moved to the US in 1987. His role in the 1990 film Suspect earned him critical acclaim. His performance in the 1993 movie Nell made director Steven Spielberg take notice. He was offered the chance to star in Schindler’s List.
The movie would be a blockbuster hit and win several Oscars. Although Liam Neeson didn’t win the Oscar, he became a major film star. He would follow this up by starring in such movies as Rob Roy in 1995 and Michael Collins a year later.
In 1999, he was cast as Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn in the Phantom Menace. He was supposed to appear in the sequels but was unable to do so because of an accident. In 2002 he co starred with Harrison Ford in the Widowmaker and appeared in the movie Gangs of New York.
He also appeared in the blockbuster film Batman Begins. He also had a voice guest appearance in the Simpsons. Liam Neeson also did voice over work in the fantasy film Chronicles of Narnia. He also performed voice over duties in the sequel to Narnia in 2007. He is slated to star in another Steven Spielberg film about US President Abraham Lincoln.
Neeson is football fan and has been seen watching Liverpool FC games. He has also been made an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1999. He has also received an acting award from the American Ireland Fund for his contribution to Irish art and cinema.
In a recent interview, the actor stated that he has become a naturalized American citizen. He is a good friend of Ralph Fiennes who has helped him cope with his wife’s sudden demise.
Liam Neeson’s versatility as an actor has been recognized by his numerous acting awards and nominations. He is one of the few who have been able to work in art / critically acclaimed films and blockbusters and attain success.