Stephen Rea (born Graham Rea on October 31, 1946) is an Irish actor, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his lead performance as Fergus in the 1992 film The Crying Game.
Rea was born in Belfast
, Northern Ireland
. One of four children in a working-class Presbyterian
family, he attended Belfast High School
and the Queen's University of Belfast
, taking a degree in English.
Rea trained at the Abbey Theatre
School in Dublin
. In the late 1970s, he acted in the Focus Company
in Dublin with Gabriel Byrne
and Colm Meaney
. During the broadcasting ban on Sinn Féin
imposed by Margaret Thatcher
's government, in order to cut the 'oxygen of publicity', it was interpreted that Sinn Féin members could not be heard making statements expressing the views of Sinn Féin, so Rea was one of many actors contacted to provide an actor's voice to get around that problem. After appearing on the stage and in television and film for many years in Ireland and Britain
, Rea came to international attention when he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor
for the film The Crying Game
. He is a frequent collaborator with Irish film maker Neil Jordan
. Rea has long been associated with some of the most important writers in Ireland
. His association with playwright Stewart Parker
(1941-1988) for example, began when they were students together at the Queen's University of Belfast.
Rea helped establish the Field Day Theatre Company in 1980 with Tom Paulin, Brian Friel, Seamus Heaney, and Seamus Deane. In recognition for his contribution to theatre and performing arts, Rea was given honorary degrees from both the Queen's University of Belfast and the University of Ulster in 2004.
Rea was married to former Provisional Irish Republican Army
member and hunger striker
, Dolours Price
from 1983 to 2003. They have three children.
Stephen Rea is an Ambassasdor for UNICEF Ireland.
Awards and nominations
- Tony Awards - nominee, best actor, Someone Who'll Watch Over Me (1993)
- Academy Awards - nominee, best actor, The Crying Game (1993)
- BAFTA Awards - nominee, best actor, The Crying Game (1993)
- National Society of Film Critics - winner, The Crying Game (1993)
- National Board of Review - winner, best acting by an ensemble (shared), Prêt-à-Porter (1994)
- Catalonian International Film Festival - winner, best actor, Citizen X (1995)
- Golden Globes - nominee, best actor in a made-for-TV movie for mini-series, Crime of the Century (1997)
- Daytime Emmy Awards - nominee, outstanding performer in a children's special, Snow in August (2002)
- IFTA Awards - nominee, best actor, The Halo Effect (2004)