Date of Birth: May 12th 1950
Whereas many stars are bitten by the acting bug early in life, Gabriel Byrne did not become interested in the craft until he was in his late twenties. Since then, he has worked steadily as a leading and supporting actor in a wide variety of Hollywood and international films, gaining a reputation as one of th e most reliably solid performers on either side of the Atlantic.
As a youth, the Dublin-born and bred actor aspired to become a Catholic priest. He was thus sent to a seminary in England, where he studied for four years. His time there came to an abrupt end after the 16-year-old Byrne was caught smoking and expelled. Upon returning to Ireland, he worked at assorted jobs, eventually receiving a scholarship to Dublin's University College. After studying linguistics and archeology, Byrne worked as an archeologist for three years and then taught Spanish and Gaelic at a Catholic girls school for four years. During his teaching tenure, Byrne appeared in an amateur theatrical production and was good enough to attract the interest of an actor from the highly regarded Abbey Theatre, who encouraged him to try acting professionally.
Byrne's film career during the 1980s was decidedly uneven. Although there were a few hits, such as the 1981 Excalibur, the number of misses was substantial. One of those misses was the 1987 film Siesta, in which he starred opposite Ellen Barkin. Although the film failed to do well, it did result in a marriage between Byrne and his co-star. The two married in 1988, and during the course of their marriage they collaborated on one film, the children's adventure Into the West (1993). They divorced in 1993.