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Colm Meaney

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Colm Meaney
Meaney in 2016
Born (1953-05-30) 30 May 1953 (age 71)
Dublin, Ireland
Years active1978–present
(m. 1977; div. 1994)
Ines Glorian
(m. 2007)

Colm J. Meaney (/ˈkɒləm/;[1] Irish: Colm Ó Maonaigh; born 30 May 1953) is an Irish actor best known for playing Miles O'Brien in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994) and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993–1999). He has guest-starred on many TV shows including Law & Order and The Simpsons, and starred as Thomas C. Durant on Hell on Wheels (2011–2016).

He has a career in films, appearing in Layer Cake, The Damned United, all three film adaptations of Roddy Doyle's The Barrytown Trilogy, and in Get Him to the Greek. He portrayed a principal character in the film The Englishman who Went up a Hill but Came down a Mountain.[2] In 2017, Meaney won the Best Actor IFTA for his portrayal of Irish politician Martin McGuinness in the film The Journey. In 2020, he was listed at number 24 on The Irish Times list of Ireland's greatest film actors.[3]

Early life[edit]

Meaney was born in Finglas, Dublin.[4] He began studying acting at age 14, and he entered the Abbey Theatre School of Acting after secondary school. He became a member of the Irish National Theatre and worked for the next eight years in England, touring with several theatre companies, including the 7:84 theatre group founded by John McGrath.[5]


Meaney (right) with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine co-stars Marc Alaimo (left) and Armin Shimerman (middle)

Meaney's first television appearance was in Z-Cars on BBC One, in 1978. He guest-starred on shows such as Remington Steele and Moonlighting before embarking on a successful film career; he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor for his role in The Snapper.[6]

Meaney first appeared on Star Trek: The Next Generation in its 1987 pilot episode, "Encounter at Farpoint", as an unnamed helm officer. His character became a frequently recurring one, and was given the name of Miles O'Brien as he became more prominent in the crew as Transporter Chief. In 1993, Meaney left The Next Generation for a main role in its spin-off Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and remained on that show until its final episode, in 1999. With 225 total appearances on Star Trek, he is second to Michael Dorn with most appearances on the franchise.

Meaney played Colum O'Hara in the 1994 miniseries Scarlett, the sequel to Gone With the Wind. He has played a minor recurring role as Cowen,[7] leader of the Genii on the series Stargate Atlantis,[8] guest-starred on Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and appeared as Bob O'Donnell on the ABC show Men in Trees. Meaney appeared in the film Die Hard 2, playing the pilot of the plane Windsor 114 that was later crashed by Colonel Stuart.

He was the only actor to appear in all three film adaptations of Roddy Doyle's The Barrytown Trilogy, as the father of the Rabbitte family. His stage appearances include the Old Vic production of Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten. Meaney starred in British comedy film Three and Out (released in the UK on 25 April 2008). In July of the same year An Post (the Irish Post Office[9]) issued a postage stamp showing Meaney as Joe Mullen in the film Kings.[10]

In 2009, Meaney co-starred with Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx in Law Abiding Citizen, playing Detective Dunnigan. In March 2009, Meaney voiced an Irish bartender on the St. Patrick's Day episode of The Simpsons, "In the Name of the Grandfather". In the same month the film The Damned United was released, a mostly fictional retelling of the 44-day period in which Brian Clough was manager of Leeds United F.C. Meaney played former Leeds manager Don Revie. He co-starred in Soldiers of Fortune. In 2013, Meaney co-starred in Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa. In 2014, he appeared as The Horse in the BBC's three-part crime story The Driver. For five seasons he portrayed railroad magnate Thomas C. Durant on AMC's drama series Hell on Wheels.[11]

Personal life[edit]

Meaney married Irish actress Bairbre Dowling in 1977.[4] Their daughter Brenda, also an actor, was born in 1984.[12] The couple divorced in 1994.[13] He married French costume designer Ines Glorian in March 2007. Their daughter was born in 2005. They live in the Majorcan town of Sóller.[4][5][14]

Meaney is a supporter of Sinn Féin.[6]

Acting credits[edit]


Year Title Role Notes
1981 Nailed Younger Protestant
1987 Omega Syndrome Sean
The Dead Mr. Bergin
1990 Die Hard 2 Pilot
Dick Tracy Cop at Tess's
Come See the Paradise Gerry McGurn
1991 The Commitments Jimmy Rabbitte, Sr.
1992 Under Siege Daumer
The Last of the Mohicans Maj. Ambrose
Far and Away Kelly
Into the West Barreller
1993 The Snapper Dessie Curley Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1994 War of the Buttons Jerome/Geronimo's father
The Road to Wellville Dr. Lionel Badger
1995 The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain Morgan the Goat
1996 The Van Larry
The Last of the High Kings Jim Davern
1997 Con Air Agent Duncan Malloy
Owd Bob Keith Moore
1998 This Is My Father Seamus, owner of the Bed and Breakfast
Monument Ave. Jackie O'Hara a.k.a. Snitch
October 22 Steve
Claire Dolan Roland Cain
1999 Mystery, Alaska Mayor Scott Pitcher
Chapter Zero Frank Lazarus
Four Days Fury
Most Important Dan O'Neill
The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns Seamus Muldoon
2001 Backflash Gin O'Malley Video
How Harry Became a Tree Harry Irish Film and Television Award for Best Actor
2003 The Boys from County Clare Jimmy
Intermission Jerry Lynch
2004 Blueberry Jimmy McClure
Layer Cake Gene
Battle of the Brave Benjamin Franklin
2005 Turning Green Tom
2006 Five Fingers Gavin
A Lobster Tale Cody
2007 Kings Joe Mullan Nominated – Irish Film and Television Award for Best Actor
The Metrosexual The Mayor Great Lakes Film Festival Award for Best Supporting Actor
2008 Clean Break Trevor Jones
Three and Out Tommy
2009 The Damned United Don Revie
The Race Frank Kensay
Law Abiding Citizen Detective Dunnigan
2010 Get Him to the Greek Jonathan Snow
Alleged H. L. Mencken
Parked Fred Daly
The Conspirator Gen. David Hunter
2011 El Perfecto Desconocido Mark O'Reilly
2012 Whole Lotta Sole Detective Weller Known as Stand Off in North America
Bel Ami Monsieur Rousset
Soldiers of Fortune Carter Mason
The Hot Potato Harry
The Cold Light of Day CIA Agent
2013 Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa Pat Farrell
One Chance Roland Potts
A Belfast Story Detective
Free Birds Myles Standish Voice
2014 The Devil's Hand Elder Beacon
2016 Norm of the North Grandfather Voice
Pelé: Birth of a Legend George Raynor
The Journey Martin McGuinness
The Secrets of Emily Blair Father Avital
2017 Halal Daddy Martin Logan
2019 Tolkien Father Francis
Seberg Frank Ellroy
The Last Right Detective Donall Crowley
2020 The Banker Patrick Barker
Pixie Dermot O’Brien
There's Always Hope[15] Jonathan Stack
2021 The Monkey[16][17] MacDonell Voice
2022 Marlowe Bernie Ohls
Three Day Millionaire Mr. Barr
2023 Unwelcome "Daddy" Whelan
In the Land of Saints and Sinners Robert McQue
2024 No Way Up Brandon
TBA Bring Them Down Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1978 Z-Cars McGlin Episode: "Pressure"
1981 Les roses de Dublin Michael Kavanaugh Miniseries
1982 Play for Tomorrow Kevin Murphy Episode: "Easter 2016"
Strangers Smollett Episode: "Charlie's Brother's Birthday (Part 1)
1983 Playboy of the Western World Shawn Television film
1984 The Hidden Curriculum David Dunn Television film
1986 Moonlighting Katharina Suitor Episode: "Atomic Shakespeare"
1987 Remington Steele Man in Tavern Episode: "Steele Hanging in There: Part 2"
Kenny Rogers as The Gambler, Part III: The Legend Continues Tinkerer Television film
Tales from the Darkside Constable Episode: "Beetles"
1987–1988 One Life to Live Alf Unknown episodes
1987–1992, 1994 Star Trek: The Next Generation Chief Miles O'Brien 52 episodes
1989 Perfect Witness Meagher Television film
1990 Equal Justice Nucchi Episode: "The Art of the Possible"
Father Dowling Mysteries Ernie Episode: "The Undercover Nun Mystery"
1991 The New Adam-12 Father Episode: "Panic in Alverez Park"
MacGyver Dr. Irwin Malcolm Episode: "Good Knight MacGyver: Part 1"
1993 Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman Jake Slicker Episode: "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman"
Brooklyn Bridge Mr. Kramer Episode: "Good as Gold"
1993–1999 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Chief Miles O'Brien 173 episodes
1994 Scarlett Father Colum O'Hara 2 episodes
1996 Gargoyles Mr. Dugan (voice) Episode: "The Hound of Ulster"
1998 Money Kings Al Sheehan Television film; a.k.a. Vig
1999 The Magical Legend of the Leprechauns Seamus Muldoon Television film
2002 Random Passage Thomas Hutchings Miniseries
Nominated – Gemini Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series
King of Texas Mr. Tumlinson Television film
2004 The Murdoch Mysteries Inspector Brackenreid 2 episodes
Bad Apple Gibbons Television film
2004–2006 Stargate Atlantis Chief Cowen 3 episodes
2005 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Judge Harold Garrett Episode: "In the Wee Small Hours"
2006 The Unit Charge D'Affaires Episode: "Security"
Caved In: Prehistoric Terror Vincent Television film
Covert One: The Hades Factor Peter Howell Television film
2007 Men in Trees Bob O'Donnell 2 episodes
2008 Law & Order Wyatt Landon Episode: "Lost Boys"
2009 The Simpsons Tom O'Flanagan (voice) Episode: "In the Name of the Grandfather"
Alice King of Hearts Miniseries
ZOS: Zone of Separation George Titac Miniseries
Mercy Dr. Parks Episode: "I Believe You Conrad"
2011–2016 Hell on Wheels Thomas "Doc" Durant 51 episodes
Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor on Television (2013)
Nominated – Irish Film & Television Award for Best Actor TV (2013)
2014 The Driver The Horse 3 episodes
2015 Childhood's End[18] Wainwright Episode: "The Overlords"
2017 Will James Burbage 10 episodes
2020 Gangs of London Finn Wallace 5 episodes
The Singapore Grip Brendan Archer 6 episodes
2021 It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Shelley Kelly 2 episodes
2022 The Serpent Queen King Francis I


Year(s) Production Role(s) Theater Notes Ref.
1987 Breaking the Code Mick Ross Neil Simon Theatre 7 November − 10 April [19]
1992, 1993 Every Good Boy Deserves Favour Colonel Don Wash Auditorium
Chicago Theatre
Fox Theatre
15 − 16 February
10 − 11 April
17 April
24 April
2007 A Moon for the Misbegotten Phil Hogan Brooks Atkinson Theater 29 March − 10 June [23]
2017 Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Big Daddy Apollo Theatre 23 July − 7 October [24]
2018 The Iceman Cometh Harry Hope Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre 26 April − 1 July [25]
2023 Bedbound Dad Galway International Arts Festival
Olympia Theatre
14 − 29 July
8 − 12 August


  1. ^ "Article: Las Vegas 2004: Sunday's Highlights". Star Trek. Archived from the original on 14 August 2004. Retrieved 1 January 2006.
  2. ^ "The Holy Family in a Pane of Frosted Glass". A Million Tiny Gods. 2 April 2019. Retrieved 3 April 2021.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ Clarke, Donald; Brady, Tara (13 June 2020). "The 50 greatest Irish film actors of all time – in order". The Irish Times.
  4. ^ a b c "I had no time for them crying into their pints". The Irish Times. 22 September 2007. Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  5. ^ a b Jarlath Regan (10 May 2020). "Colm Meaney". An Irishman Abroad (Podcast) (356 ed.). SoundCloud. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  6. ^ a b Addley, Esther (3 May 2017). "Colm Meaney on playing Martin McGuinness: 'He was born into this'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 26 February 2020. Retrieved 26 February 2020.
  7. ^ "10 Shows With The Best Cameos From Star Trek Actors". Screen Rant. 25 November 2019. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  8. ^ "Stargate Atlantis on Sci Fi". TV Guide. Retrieved 9 December 2009.
  9. ^ An Post—the Irish Post Office An Post (retrieved 28 May 2018)
  10. ^ Warren, Brian (Spring 2009). "That Was the Year That Was–2008 (part 1)". The Revealer. 58 (4). Seminole, FL: Éire Philatelic Association: 63. ISSN 0484-6125.
  11. ^ "Interview: Colm Meaney talks about Hell on Wheels". Flickering Myth. 16 August 2015. Retrieved 7 May 2017.
  12. ^ Murphy, Lauren (9 April 2024). "Colm Meaney's daughter Brenda on sharing the stage with her famous dad". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 9 April 2024.
  13. ^ Clarke, Donald (6 May 2017). "Colm Meaney: 'In this business, anybody who keeps their word for 7 minutes is pretty f**king rare'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  14. ^ "Meaney: still cursing after all these years". Sunday Independent. 16 October 2011.
  15. ^ "British feature film 'There's Always Hope' completes filming in Algarve". The Portugal News. Retrieved 20 December 2021.
  16. ^ "Animation Film Session: The Monkey + Flee". Huesca International Film Festival. 6 January 2022. Archived from the original on 19 June 2022. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  17. ^ "The Monkey". Comunidad de Madrid [Madrid Community]. 2021. Archived from the original on 15 August 2021. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  18. ^ The Deadline Team (12 January 2015). "'Hell On Wheels' Star Colm Meaney Cast In 'Childhood's End On Syfy - Deadline". Deadline.
  19. ^ "Breaking the Code". Playbill. Retrieved 9 April 2024.
  20. ^ Mangan, Timothy (17 February 1992). "MUSIC / STAGE REVIEW : A Starry Staging of 'Every Good Boy'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 April 2024.
  21. ^ "It's Mom Gates Mcfadden When Junior Comes Crawlin'". Chicago Tribune. 9 April 1993. Retrieved 25 April 2024.
  22. ^ "People - Patrick Stewart | WNYC | New York Public Radio, Podcasts, Live Streaming Radio, News". WNYC. Retrieved 25 April 2024.
  23. ^ "A Moon for the Misbegotten". Playbill. Retrieved 9 April 2024.
  24. ^ Gans, Andrew (5 December 2017). "Colm Meaney Joins Cast of London's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Starring Sienna Miller". Playbill. Retrieved 9 April 2024.
  25. ^ McPhee, Ryan (1 July 2018). "The Iceman Cometh, Starring Denzel Washington, Concludes Broadway Run July 1". Playbill. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  26. ^ "Bedbound". Landmark Productions. Retrieved 9 April 2024.

External links[edit]