Gabriel Byrne just might be my favorite actor. If not, he's at least in my top five, even if the films he appears in are on occasion substandard. Okay, how about this - Gabriel Byrne is, at the very least, one of the top five most fascinating celebrities.

Gabriel Byrne was born in Dublin, Ireland on May 12th, 1950. He did not discover acting until he was 29 years old. Before that, he had been a school teacher, archaelogist, chef, bullfighter, and a priest-in-training. Talk about a Hollywood resume.

At the age of 37 he came to America for the first time and began appearing in major studio films. His first big role was in the film "Excalibur", but it wasn't until 1990 that he became a prominent american leading man when he starred in "Miller's Crossing" - a gangster noir written and directed by the Coen Brothers. From then on Byrne was all set. He spent the nineties going back in forth between high profile studio work like "Enemy of the State" and "Stigmata" and more personal indie fair, often seizing the oppurtunity to work with highly praised artists such as Wim Wenders, Jim Jarmusch and yes, Joel and Ethan Coen. His choices maintain their dignity, whether it's "Cool World" or "The Usual Suspects", "Smilla's Sense of Snow" or doing a mean Keith Richards impression. Whatever he does, Byrne is always cool.

He met Hollywood Sex Kitten Ellen Barkin on the set of the film "Seista" in 1988, the two fell in love and were married from 1989 to 1993, during which time they had a son and daughter. They apparently remain close friends. He has written a novel about his childhood in Ireland called "Pictures in my Head". Byrne has not remarried, and currently resides in Manhattan, where there is allegedly a group of devoted stalkers who follow him twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, every time he leaves the apartment, like clockwork. I don't make these things up. He certainly does lead the surreal life you'd expect from an actor/bullfighting priest.

Gabriel Byrne's Filmography:

Shade (2003)
Virginia's Run (2002) .... Ford Lofton
Ghost Ship (2002) .... Murphy
Emmett's Mark (2002) .... Jack Marlow
Horses: The Story of Equus (2002) .... Narrator
Spider (2002) .... Bill Cleg
When Brendan Met Trudy (2000) .... Special Appearance
Canone inverso - making love (2000) .... The Violinist
End of Days (1999) .... The Man/Satan
Stigmata (1999) .... Father Andrew Kiernan
Enemy of the State (1998) .... Fake Brill
Quest for Camelot (1998) (voice) .... Sir Lionel
Man in the Iron Mask, The (1998) .... Captain D'Artagnan
This Is the Sea (1998) .... Rohan
Polish Wedding (1998) .... Bolek Pzoniak
Brylcreem Boys, The (1997) .... Sean O'Brien
Weapons of Mass Distraction (1997) (TV) .... Lionel Powers
End of Violence, The (1997) .... Ray Bering
Irish Cinema: Ourselves Alone? (1997) (voice) .... Narrator
Smilla's Sense of Snow (1997) .... The Mechanic
Lark in the Clear Air (1996) .... (writer and director)
Dr Hagard's Disease (1996)
Past Into Present (1996) .... Himself
Somebody Is Waiting (1996) .... Roger Ellis
Summer Fling (1996) .... Jack Griffin (also writer)
Mad Dog Time (1996) .... Ben London
Usual Suspects, The (1995) .... Dean Keaton
Frankie Starlight (1995) .... Jack Kelly
Dead Man (1995) .... Charles Ludlow 'Charlie' Dickinson
All Things Bright and Beautiful (1994) .... The Good Thief
Little Women (1994) .... Friedrich Bhaer
Trial by Jury (1994) .... Daniel Graham
Simple Twist of Fate, A (1994) .... John Newland
Prince of Jutland (1994) .... Fenge
Dangerous Woman, A (1993) .... Mackey
Point of No Return (1993) .... Bob
Into the West (1992) .... Papa Reilly
Cool World (1992) .... Jack Deebs
Shipwrecked (1990) .... Lt. John Merrick
Miller's Crossing (1990) .... Tom Reagan
Dark Obsession (1991) .... Hugo
Courier, The (1988) .... Val
Soldier's Tale, A (1988) .... Saul
Hello Again (1987) .... Kevin Scanlon
Lionheart (1987) .... Black Prince
Siesta (1987) .... Augustine
Julia and Julia (1988) .... Paolo
Gothic (1986) .... George Gordon, Lord Byron
Defence of the Realm (1985) .... Nicholas 'Nick' Mullen
Keep, The (1983) .... Major Kaempffer
Hanna K. (1983) .... Joshua Herzog
Rocking Horse Winner, The (1982) .... Bassett
Excalibur (1981) .... Uther Pendragon

SIDENOTE: Byrne made "Stigmata" and "End of Days" back to back, playing a priest and Satan respectively. Byrne was surprised to notice the two separate costume designers for the films had given him the same outfit for both characters.