Liam Neeson: the violence that marked him forever, the desire to be a priest, the premature death of the great love of his life

Liam Neeson’s new action movie on Netflix

These days the figure of Liam Neeson resurfaced in the role he plays best: the action genre. Because although during his career he has tried his hand at a variety of characters-da Star Wars a The Miserables-, he knows – as well as the public – that putting oneself in the shoes of honest men who fight for the good or to safeguard someone’s integrity, depending on the circumstances, is infallible. Relentless research, The passenger, relentless revenge Y Non-Stop: Run away from sinconfirms this maxim of the Irishman, who is doing his duty these days risk below zeroone of the great successes of Netflix.

There, the noble Liam is a truck driver who must embark on a journey to rescue some trapped miners, driving on an icy road and making other adventures that will not be told here, avoiding spoilers.

However, not all was rosy for Neeson before he achieved that reputation that surrounds and protects him. What he has been able to earn with his own merits brings with it a path of suffering and constant requests. Situations that marked him with fire since childhood. And with a controversial adolescence.

Liam grew up under the Catholic religion very strictly. Every Sunday, together with his parents and his three brothers, he went to mass, and during the week he held social actions in Bellymena, his hometown in Northern Ireland. “The Church has had a great presence in our home. I was an altar boy as a child and had the fantasy of being a priest, “he said in an interview for the CNN.

Liam Neeson, decades ago
Liam Neeson, decades ago

Neeson was born on June 7, 1952 in a complex period. In those years Northern Ireland was experiencing violent social conflicts. There were two options: to be Catholic or Protestant; there was nothing in between. “It was not easy to grow up in that environment, with two conflicting religions, with demonstrators on the street. All of this makes you cautious. Many friends have died in encounters with other gangs. I was a boy who grew up in a place where there was war for 30 years.

The actor has a date marked. On January 30, 1972, British paratroopers descended on the town of Deery and, without saying a word, began firing at close range. 14 unarmed civilians were killed. There was a 19-year-old Liam: his life was saved almost miraculously by managing to take refuge in time. “I have met boys and girls who have been perpetrators and victims. Protestants and Catholics. It’s part of my DNA, ”he warns, without taking away the drama.

Neeson was only 9 when his parents enrolled him in boxing school, worried that he might play a sport, but even more so because he knew how to defend himself. His teacher was the village parish priest. “He was a great boxer, he soon became the best in Ireland,” recalled the man in an interview when Liam was already starting to make himself known around the world.

Liam Neeson is a kidnapper of men at arms, but only in the movies
Liam Neeson is a kidnapper of men at arms, but only in the movies

“I had two pairs of old gloves and a book on how to box,” the actor said of those first shots. He has grown so much that at 11 he started boxing professionally. In the same year he begins studying theater: far from a vocation, he does it to be close to a classmate he likes.

At 17, after school, he enrolled at the university to obtain a degree in Physics and Computer Science, but soon gave up the books. Not studying, she had to work. And that was her big goal of hers: since there was not enough money in the house, she wanted to get it to have some independence. Her first job was in a renowned brewery. Soon after he would leave boxing too, even when everyone imagined a great future: a hard blow in a fight sent him to the hospital, and Liam no longer wanted to have anything to do with returning to the ring.

In this series of dropouts, Neeson quit his job to become a professor of computer science. The argument with a 15-year-old teenager ended in a way that was as violent as it was reprehensible: Liam beat him up. And they kicked him out. He was in the year 1976 and decided to devote himself decisively to acting. He quickly gained ground to become a landmark in his city theater. It was also tested in minor films and was brilliant.

Liam Neeson and Helen Mirren, his first famous girlfriend (Photo: Shutterstock)
Liam Neeson and Helen Mirren, his first famous girlfriend (Photo: Shutterstock)

His first was in 1980, when the British director John Boorman summoned him for Excalibur. He moved to England and met the actress on the set Elena Mirren, his first famous girlfriend. It was love at first sight. They soon tried to live together and four years later they distanced themselves. It was just when Liam was called in for the series Miami vicefrom Don Johnsonwhich forced him to move again, this time to the United States.

Liam was 42 when he met the great love of his life: the English actress Natasha Richardson. They got married and had two children: Michael Y Daniele. Until in 2000 his life put them to the test for the first time when the actor suffered a serious accident: he was riding his motorcycle on a road when a deer crossed his path, and ended up falling in a ravine. Neeson walked back to the side of the road, hoping someone would see him. He was hospitalized with multiple fractures and bruises. The doctors’ diagnosis was not promising. Over the months he has managed to recover. And there, from the first minute, Natasha has always been by his side. The Irishman has returned to making films, but he has never been able to get on a motorcycle, even when the script stated it.

Liam Neeson and his remembered wife and mother of his children, Natasha Richardson
Liam Neeson and his remembered wife and mother of his children, Natasha Richardson

Liam and Natasha’s idyllic world collapsed on March 18, 2009. The actress was skiing in a resort in Mont Tremblant, near Quebec, Canada when she lost her balance at high speed and ended up banging her head on the ice. She was treated quickly, but the doctors could not do anything after verifying that she was brain dead. She was 45.

Since that time the life of the actor has changed dramatically. Immersed in pain, he asked if he would please go back to work to try and clear his mind, as he was afraid of going into depression. “I’m not fine without a job,” he said in an interview with the show 60 minutes. “I just didn’t want, especially for my kids, to seem like I was wallowing in sadness or depression.” Not long ago he observed that Natasha’s death left him a lesson. “I learned to live and love each day as if it were my last. Because one day it will be “.

Today, at 69, supported by his working life, his friends and his family, he gets up every morning with a heavy weight on his shoulders. But understand that you have to move on.

Liam Neeson (Photo: Shutterstock)
Liam Neeson (Photo: Shutterstock)

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