Stephen Rea

An Irish actor raised by working-class parents in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Stephen Rea was born Oct. 31, 1946. Following on the heels of his training at the Abbey Theatre School in Dublin, he made his big-screen debut in Cry of the Banshee (1970).

Rea is best known for his Oscar-nominated portrayal of an Irish Republican Army foot soldier in The Crying Game (1992), a moody drama that caused controversy because of its provocative plot: After discovering that the woman he's been falling for is a pre-op transsexual, Rea's character continues the relationship.

Rea's résumé includes several other films with overtly political themes regarding the long-standing problems between Northern Ireland and England, including Michael Collins (1996) and The Break (1998). Rea has also appeared in such notable movies as Interview with the Vampire (1994) and V for Vendetta (2005).