Cillian Murphy is an Irish actor and musician. He played the Scarecrow in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy. In 2020, he was ranked number 12 on The Irish Times’ list of Ireland’s greatest film actors. Since 2013, Murphy has portrayed Thomas Shelby, the lead of the BBC gangster series Peaky Blinders.
About Cillian Murphy in brief
Cillian Murphy is an Irish actor and musician. He played the Scarecrow in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Trilogy. In 2020, he was ranked number 12 on The Irish Times’ list of Ireland’s greatest film actors. Murphy is married to Irish visual artist Yvonne McGuinness. He is a patron of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at the National University of Ireland Galway. He has a younger brother, Páidi Murphy, and two younger sisters, Sile Murphy and Orla Murphy. Murphy started playing music and writing songs at the age of 10. In his late teens and early twenties, Murphy pursued a career as a musician, singing and playing on the piano in several bands alongside his brother. In 2011, Murphy won the Irish Times Theatre Award for Best Actor, and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance for Misterman. Since 2013, Murphy has portrayed Thomas Shelby, the lead of the BBC gangster series Peaky Blinders, which has won him two Irish Film and Television Awards for Best actor, in 2017 and 2018, respectively. He also appeared in Transcendence, In the Heart of the Sea, Anthropoid, Dunkirk, Delinquent Season, and Anna. His father Brendan worked for the Irish Department of Education, and his mother was a French teacher. His grandfather, aunts and uncles were also teachers. He was raised Roman Catholic, and attended the Catholic secondary school Presentation Brothers College.
He did well academically but got into trouble often, sometimes being suspended, until he decided in his fourth year that misbehaving was not worth the hassle. His English teacher, the poet and novelist William Wall, encouraged him to pursue acting; however, to Murphy, performing meant becoming a rock star. His first major role was in the UCC Drama Society’s amateur production of Sons of the Sons of Mr. Greengenes, which also starred the Irish-American Desmee Somme. According to his primary motivation to start acting, Murphy then made his professional acting debut on the stage, and in September 1996, he played the lead in a production of Little Shop of Horrors, which was performed in the Cork Opera House. Not only was he busy with his band, but he has said that he also knew within days after starting at UCC that law was not what he wanted to do. In 2000, he starred in films such as The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Sunshine, and The Edge of Love. In the early 2010s, he appeared in Inception, Peacock, In Time, Retreat, and Red Lights. He has also starred in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the Planet of the Apes, as well as a number of short films and TV shows. He had a role in the film adaptation of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, in which he also played the role of the lead character, Liam Neeson.