Liam Neeson

From real life legends like Oskar Schindler and Michael Collins to classic literature's Jean Valjean, actor Liam Neeson's masterful characterizations of flawed men capable of extraordinary things established him as a performer of great note, while managing to bring an uncommon humble grace to his profession. Though he started performing in the mid-1970s as part of an Irish acting company, Neeson earned international prominence years later when he played the flawed, but ultimately redemptive German industrialist in "Schindler's List" (1993), which earned him his first Academy Award nomination. Neeson would sink his teeth into "Michael Collins" (1996), playing an Irish hero revered by multiple generations, then settled into a series of lesser known, but no less accomplished performances in features, including a compelling performance in the title role of "Kinsey" (2004). Along with turns as Jedi master Qui-Gon Jinn in "Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace" (1999), Zeus in the remake of "Clash of the Titans" (2010) and John "Hannibal" Smith in "The A-Team" (2010), Neeson developed an unexpected second career as a middle-aged action hero in the thriller "Taken" (2008) and its sequels, making him an international box office heavyweight as well as a respected character actor. Shockingly widowed in 2009 after his wife, actress Natasha Richardson, passed away after a ski-related concussion, Neeson continued to work steadily, becoming admired as much for the strength of character he exhibited in the wake of the family tragedy as he was for his acting talent. Whether appearing in big-budget blockbusters like "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012) or smaller fare like "Chloe" (2009) and Martin Scorsese's "Silence" (2016), Liam Neeson consistently delivered quality work in both leading and supporting roles.