Liam Cunningham

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Liam Cunningham
Cunningham at the San Diego Comic-Con in 2017
Born (1961-06-02) 2 June 1961 (age 62)
East Wall, Dublin, Ireland
EducationSt Davids, Artane, Dublin
Years active1992–present
SpouseColette Cunningham

Liam Cunningham (born 2 June 1961) is an Irish actor. He is known for playing Davos Seaworth in the HBO epic-fantasy series Game of Thrones.[1]

Cunningham has been nominated for the London Film Critics' Circle Award, the British Independent Film Award, has won two Irish Film & Television Awards, and shared a BAFTA with Michael Fassbender, for their crime-drama short film Pitch Black Heist. His film roles include A Little Princess (1995), Jude (1996), Dog Soldiers (2002), The Crooked Man (2003), The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006), Hunger (2008), The Escapist (2008), The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), Good Vibrations (2013), Let Us Prey (2014) and The Childhood of a Leader (2015). In 2020, he was listed at number 36 on The Irish Times list of Ireland's greatest film actors.[2]

Early life[edit]

Cunningham was born in East Wall, which is an inner city area of the Northside of Dublin.[3] He grew up in Kilmore West with his three sisters and a brother. Cunningham left secondary school at 15 and pursued a career as an electrician.[4] In the 1980s, Cunningham moved to Zimbabwe for three years where he maintained electrical equipment at a safari park and trained Zimbabwean electricians.[5][6] After returning to Ireland, Cunningham became dissatisfied with his work as an electrician and decided to pursue his interest in acting. He attended acting classes and began to work in local theatre, including the Royal Shakespeare Company. He appeared in a production of Studs at The Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn, London.[7]


Cunningham at the Game of Thrones exhibition in May 2013

Cunningham's debut film role came in Into the West (1992), where he played a police officer. His on-screen acting continued with roles in War of the Buttons (1994), and A Little Princess (1995),[8][9] before making his role as Phillotson in Jude (1996).[10] He continued with character roles in Falling for a Dancer (TV, 1998), RKO 281 (1999), Shooting the Past (TV, 1999), When the Sky Falls (2000) and Stranded (2002). Cunningham came to international prominence with his role as Captain Ryan in the critically acclaimed, independent horror film, Dog Soldiers (2002).[11]

Cunningham starred in well-received films such as The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006) which won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival; Hunger; The Escapist (both 2008); The Guard; and Black Butterflies (both 2011). He also had roles in many high budget British and American films including The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse (2005), The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008), Harry Brown (2009), Clash of the Titans, Centurion (both 2010).[12] On television, he appeared as President Richard Tate in the BBC programme Outcasts.[13] Cunningham was producer Philip Segal’s first choice to portray the Eighth Doctor in the TV movie of Doctor Who (1996), but was vetoed by Fox executives.[14][15]

In 2012, Cunningham joined the main cast for the second season of HBO's Game of Thrones portraying former smuggler Davos Seaworth,[16] and in 2013 he starred in The Numbers Station alongside John Cusack.[17] He was also cast in season 5 of the BBC series Merlin as a sorcerer.[18] He featured in the music video for "High Hopes" by Irish alternative rock band Kodaline from their EP The High Hopes.[19] In April 2013, he appeared in the seventh series of the BBC One series Doctor Who in the episode "Cold War", where he played Captain Zhukov, the commander of a Russian submarine in 1983 facing one of the Ice Warriors.[20] In 2015, he played the father in Brady Corbet's directorial debut film, The Childhood of a Leader.[21]

In February 2020, it was announced that Cunningham would voice Man-At-Arms in the Netflix animated series Masters of the Universe: Revelation.[22]

Personal life[edit]

Cunningham resides in Dublin with his wife Colette, with whom he has three children, daughter Ellen and sons Liam Jr. and Sean.[23]


In 2015, Cunningham was one of over 100 artists who signed a letter to The Guardian announcing support for a cultural boycott of Israel.[24] In light of the 2023 Israel–Hamas war, he was one of over two thousand to sign an Artists for Palestine letter calling for a ceasefire and accusing western governments of "not only tolerating war crimes but aiding and abetting them."[25]

Cunningham endorsed Solidarity–People Before Profit in the 2020 Irish general election.[26]


Liam Cunningham at DIFF 2024


Year Title Role Notes
1992 Into the West Police Officer
Public Toilet Short film
Heaven Only Knows Paul Clarke
1993 The Sea
1994 Undercurrent Greg Laughton
War of the Buttons The Master
1995 A Little Princess Capt. Crewe / Prince Rama
First Knight Sir Agravaine
1996 Jude Phillotson
1997 The Doherty Brothers Connor Doherty Short film
The Life of Stuff Alex Sneddon
1998 The Tale of Sweety Barrett Detective Bone
1999 A Love Divided Sean Cloney
2000 When the Sky Falls John Cosgrave (The Runner)
The Second Death James Mangan Short film
2001 Revelation Father Ray Connolly
The Island of the Mapmaker's Wife John Wyndham
2002 Dog Soldiers Capt. Ryan
The Abduction Club John Power
2003 Mystics Sean Foley
The Crooked Man Hamilton
The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse Director
2004 The Card Player John Brennan
Screwback Harry Short film
2005 Breakfast on Pluto 1st Biker
2006 The Wind That Shakes the Barley Dan
2008 The Escapist Brodie
Hunger Father Dominic Moran
Paris Noir Douglas
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor Mad Dog Maguire
2009 Blood: The Last Vampire Michael Harrison
The Tournament Powers
Perrier's Bounty The Mutt
Harry Brown Sid Rourke
2010 Centurion Brick
Clash of the Titans Solon
The Whistleblower Bill Hynes
2011 Pitch Black Heist Liam Short film
Also executive producer
The Guard Francis Sheehy-Skelfington
Black Butterflies Jack Cope
The Silence of Joan The English Captain
War Horse The Army Doctor
2012 Safe House Alec Wade
2013 SLR Elliot Short film
The Numbers Station Grey
Good Vibrations Davy
2014 I Am Here Father Short film
Noble Thomas
Let Us Prey Six
2015 Ladygrey Angus
Dusha shpiona Hillsman
The Childhood of a Leader The Father
Pursuit Fionn
2017 24 Hours to Live Wetzler
2021 The Vault Walter Moreland
2023 The Last Voyage of the Demeter Captain Elliot


Year Title Role Notes
1993 A Handful of Stars Stapler TV movie
Poor Beast in the Rain Danger Doyle
1994–1995 Roughnecks Chris 13 episodes
1995 Cracker Stuart Grady 2 episodes
1997 Police 2020 DCI Billy O'Connell Pilot
1998 Falling for a Dancer Mossie Sheehan TV movie
1999 Shooting the Past Christopher Anderson Miniseries
Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke Alec Cunningham-Reid TV movie
RKO 281 Gregg Toland
2000 A Likeness in Stone Bill Armstrong
2001 Rebel Heart Michael Malone
Attila Theodoric I 2 episodes
2002 Stranded David Robinson TV movie
2003 Final Demand David Milner
Prime Suspect Robert West Episode: "Part 1"
2004 Messiah Pace Tierney Episode: "The Promise"
2005 Showbands Tony Golden TV movie
The Clinic Malcolm Keown 5 episodes
2006 Hotel Babylon Adrian McBride Episode #1.8
Showbands II Tony Golden TV movie
Murphy's Law Drew Johnstone 3 episodes
2007 Afterlife Jonathan Episode: "Your Hand in Mine"
The Wild West Wyatt Earp Episode: "The Gunfight at the OK Corral"
Northanger Abbey Henry Tilney V movie
Anner House Neil Barry
The Catherine Tate Show Father Episode: "Christmas Special"
2009 The Street Thomas Miller Episode #3.1
2011 Outcasts President Richard Tate 8 episodes
Camelot Colfur Episode: "Justice"
Strike Back: Project Dawn Daniel Connolly 2 episodes
2012 Saving the Titanic Narrator Documentary
Titanic: Blood and Steel Jim Larkin 5 episodes
Merlin Ruadan 2 episodes
2012–2019 Game of Thrones Davos Seaworth 42 episodes
2013 Doctor Who Captain Zhukov Episode: "Cold War"
Vera Sam Harper Episode: "Prodigal Son"
2015 The Musketeers Belgard Episode: "The Prodigal Father"
2017 Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams General Olin Episode: "Human Is"
2019 The Hot Zone Wade Carter Main role
Rick and Morty Balthromaw (voice) Episode: “Claw and Hoarder: Special Ricktim's Morty
2020 Solar Opposites Pupa (voice) Episode: "Retrace-Your-Step-Alizer"
2021 Masters of the Universe: Revelation Man-At-Arms
Domina Livius
2024 3 Body Problem Thomas Wade

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Notes
2013 "High Hopes" By Kodaline

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Film/Television Award Result
1999 Falling for a Dancer Irish Film and Television Award for Best Actor in a Lead Television Role Nominated
A Love Divided Irish Film and Television Award for Best Male Actor in a Lead Film Role
2006 Showbands II Irish Film and Television Award for Best Actor in a Lead Role in Television
Murphy's Law Irish Film and Television Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Television
The Wind That Shakes the Barley Irish Film and Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Film Won
2008 Hunger London Film Critics' Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor of the Year Nominated
Irish Film and Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Film Won
British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Film Nominated
2012 Pitch Black Heist BAFTA Award for Best Short Film Won
The Guard Irish Film and Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Film Nominated
2014 Game of Thrones Irish Film and Television Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Drama
2017 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
Irish Film and Television Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Drama[27]


  1. ^ "Liam Cunningham signs for next six series of Game of Thrones". Independent Women. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  2. ^ Clarke, Donald; Brady, Tara. "The 50 greatest Irish film actors of all time – in order". The Irish Times. Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  3. ^ "Falling for an Irish Lad". Irish News, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 27 November 1999 – by Robert McMillen. Archived from the original on 17 March 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  4. ^ "Game Of Thrones star Liam Cunningham talks to The Works Presents". Raidió Teilifís Éireann. 21 March 2017.
  5. ^ "Liam Cunningham Talks About the End of 'Game of Thrones'". GQ. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  6. ^ "Liam Cunningham on his phenomenal success in 'Game of Thrones', his childhood in Coolock and getting married at 22". The Irish Independent. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  7. ^ Nat (3 September 2017). "Five Things You Didn't Know About Liam Cunningham". TVOvermind. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  8. ^ "This 'Game of Thrones' character was in "A Little Princess" and you didn't even notice". HelloGiggles. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  9. ^ Lewis, Anna (21 July 2016). "You'll never guess which Game Of Thrones actor played the dad in The Little Princess…". Cosmopolitan. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  10. ^ Rose, Lloyd (1 November 1996). "'Jude': Loss of Innocents". The Washington Post. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  11. ^ Minns, Adam. "UK horror Dog Soldiers wins at Brussels festival". Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  12. ^ "Game of Thrones star Liam Cunningham will lead this year's St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin". Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  13. ^ "Television review: 'Outcasts'". Los Angeles Times. 18 June 2011. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  14. ^ "A Brief History Of Time (Travel): Doctor Who (1996)". Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  15. ^ "10 Things You Might Not Know About DOCTOR WHO: THE TV MOVIE". Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  16. ^ "Game of Thrones Casts Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
  17. ^ "The Numbers Station". Matador Pictures. Archived from the original on 23 September 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  18. ^ "Liam Cunningham cast in BBC's Merlin". Irish Film and Television Network. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
  19. ^ Kodaline – High Hopes. YouTube. 23 January 2013. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  20. ^ "Liam Cunningham, Matt Smith, David Warner, and Jenna-Louise Coleman in 'Cold War'". THE UNAFFILIATED CRITIC. 16 April 2013. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  21. ^ Movieclips Indie (29 June 2016), The Childhood of a Leader Trailer 1 (2016) - Liam Cunningham Movie, archived from the original on 21 December 2021, retrieved 12 July 2019
  22. ^ "Mark Hamill Will Voice Skeletor on the New 'Masters of the Universe'". Screen Rant. 14 February 2020.
  23. ^ Goronja, Ariel (10 April 2019). "Is Liam Cunningham Married? Does the Game of Thrones Actor Have a Wife?". Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  24. ^ "Over 100 artists announce a cultural boycott of Israel | Letters". The Guardian. 13 February 2015. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  25. ^ "Tilda Swinton among 2000+ artists calling for Gaza ceasefire". Artists for Palestine. 17 October 2023. Retrieved 17 October 2023.
  26. ^ "Our favourite Game of Thrones actor, Liam Cunningham - calling for your number 1 vote for Solidarity - People before Profit". People Before Profit. 7 February 2020. Retrieved 7 February 2020 – via Twitter.
  27. ^ "Here's the full list of nominees for this year's Irish Film and Television Awards". 8 March 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2017.

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