Liam Cunningham

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Liam Cunningham
Liam Cunningham by Gage Skidmore 3.jpg
Cunningham in 2017
Born (1961-06-02) 2 June 1961 (age 58)
East Wall, Dublin, Ireland
EducationSt Davids, Artane, Dublin
  • Actor
  • Director
  • Producer
Years active1992–present
Spouse(s)Colette Cunningham

Liam Cunningham (born 2 June 1961) is an Irish stage and screen 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 notable 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), Good Vibrations (2013), Let Us Prey (2014) and The Childhood of a Leader (2015).

Early life[edit]

Cunningham was born in East Wall, which is an inner city area of the Northside of Dublin.[2] 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.[3] In the 1980s, Cunningham moved to Zimbabwe for three years where he maintained electrical equipment at a safari park and trained Zimbabwean electricians.[4][5] 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 Royal Shakespeare Company. He appeared in a production of Studs at The Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn, London.[6]


Cunningham at the Game of Thrones exhibition in May 2013

Cunningham's debut film role came in Into the West, where he played a police officer. His on-screen acting continued with roles in War of the Buttons, and A Little Princess,[7][8] before making his first major break-out role in Jude, playing Phillotson.[9] He continued with character roles in RKO 281, Falling for a Dancer, Shooting the Past, When the Sky Falls and Stranded. Cunningham came to international prominence with his role as Captain Ryan in the critically acclaimed, independent horror film, Dog Soldiers.[10]

Between 2006 to 2008, he starred in acclaimed films roles including, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Hunger, The Guard, Black Butterflies and The Escapist and in numerous high budget British and American films including The League of Gentlemen's Apocalypse, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Clash of the Titans, Centurion, and Harry Brown.[11] On television, he appeared as President Richard Tate in the BBC programme Outcasts.[12] Cunningham was producer Philip Segal’s first choice to portray the Eighth Doctor in the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie, but was vetoed by Fox executives.[13][14]

In 2012, Cunningham joined the main cast for the second season of HBO's Game of Thrones portraying former smuggler Davos Seaworth,[15] and in 2013 he starred in The Numbers Station alongside John Cusack.[16] He was also cast in season 5 of the BBC series Merlin as a sorcerer.[17] He featured in the music video for "High Hopes" by Irish alternative rock band Kodaline from their EP The High Hopes.[18] In April 2013, he was cast in the seventh season of the hit BBC1 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.[19] He guest starred in the second season of the VH1 television series Stay Closer, with Sandra Bullock and Jessica Chastain. In 2015, he played the father in Brady Corbet's directorial debut film, The Childhood of a Leader.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Cunningham currently resides in Dublin with his wife Colette, with whom he has three children, daughter Ellen and sons Liam Jr. and Sean.[21]

In 2015, Cunningham was one of over 100 artists who signed a letter to The Guardian announcing support for a cultural boycott of Israel.[22]



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


Year Title Role Notes
1993 A Handful of Stars Stapler Television film
1993 Poor Beast in the Rain Danger Doyle Television film
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 Television film
1999 Shooting the Past Christopher Anderson Television miniseries
1999 Too Rich: The Secret Life of Doris Duke Alec Cunningham-Reid Television film
1999 RKO 281 Gregg Toland Television film
2000 A Likeness in Stone Bill Armstrong Television film
2001 Rebel Heart Michael Malone Television film
2001 Attila Theodoric I 2 episodes
2002 Stranded David Robinson Television film
2003 Final Demand David Milner Television film
2003 Prime Suspect Robert West Series 6, Episode: "Part 1"
2004 Messiah Pace Tierney Episode: "The Promise"
2005 Showbands Tony Golden Television film
2005 The Clinic Malcolm Keown 5 episodes
2006 Hotel Babylon Adrian McBride Episode #1.8
2006 Showbands II Tony Golden Television film
2006 Murphy's Law Drew Johnstone 3 episodes
2007 Afterlife Jonathan Episode: "Your Hand in Mine"
2007 The Wild West Wyatt Earp Episode: "The Gunfight at the OK Corral"
2007 Northanger Abbey General Tilney Television film
2007 Anner House Neil Barry Television film
2007 The Catherine Tate Show Father Episode: "Christmas Special"
2009 The Street Thomas Miller Episode #3.1
2011 Outcasts President Richard Tate 8 episodes
2011 Camelot Colfur Episode: "Justice"
2011 Strike Back: Project Dawn Daniel Connolly 2 episodes
2012 Saving the Titanic Narrator (voice) Documentary
2012 Titanic: Blood and Steel Jim Larkin 5 episodes
2012–2019 Game of Thrones Davos Seaworth 42 episodes
2012 Merlin Ruadan 2 episodes
2013 Doctor Who Captain Zhukov Episode: "Cold War"
2013 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

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2017 Squadron 42 Captain Noah White Performance capture

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
1999 A Love Divided Irish Film and Television Award for Best Male Actor in a Lead Film Role Nominated
2006 Showbands II Irish Film and Television Award for Best Actor in a Lead Role in Television Nominated
2006 Murphy's Law Irish Film and Television Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in Television Nominated
2006 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
2008 Irish Film and Television Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Film Won
2008 British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Film Nominated
2012 Pitch Black Heist BAFTA Award for Best Short Film Won
2012 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 Nominated
2015 Nominated
2016 Nominated
2017 Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
2017 Irish Film and Television Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Drama[23] Nominated


  1. ^ "Liam Cunningham signs for next six series of Game of Thrones". Independent Women. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  2. ^ "Falling for an Irish Lad". Irish News, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 27 November 1999 – by Robert McMillen. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  3. ^ "Game Of Thrones star Liam Cunningham talks to The Works Presents". 21 March 2017. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ Nast, Condé. "Liam Cunningham Talks About the End of 'Game of Thrones'". GQ. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  5. ^ "Liam Cunningham on his phenomenal success in 'Game of Thrones', his childhood in Coolock and getting married at 22". Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  6. ^ Nat (3 September 2017). "Five Things You Didn't Know About Liam Cunningham". TVOvermind. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  7. ^ "This "Game of Thrones" character was in "A Little Princess" and you didn't even notice". HelloGiggles. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ " 'Jude': Loss of Innocents". Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  10. ^ Minns2002-04-04T17:04:00+01:00, Adam. "UK horror Dog Soldiers wins at Brussels festival". Screen. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  11. ^ "Game of Thrones star Liam Cunningham will lead this year's St. Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin". Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  12. ^ "Television review: 'Outcasts'". Los Angeles Times. 18 June 2011. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  13. ^ "A Brief History Of Time (Travel): Doctor Who (1996)". Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  14. ^ "10 Things You Might Not Know About DOCTOR WHO: THE TV MOVIE". Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  15. ^ "Game of Thrones Casts Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
  16. ^ "The Numbers Station". Matador Pictures. Archived from the original on 23 September 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  17. ^ "Liam Cunningham cast in BBC's Merlin". Irish Film and Television Network. Retrieved 19 August 2012.
  18. ^ Kodaline – High Hopes. 23 January 2013. Retrieved 14 February 2016 – via YouTube.
  19. ^ "Liam Cunningham, Matt Smith, David Warner, and Jenna-Louise Coleman in 'Cold War'". THE UNAFFILIATED CRITIC. 16 April 2013. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  20. ^ Movieclips Indie (29 June 2016), The Childhood of a Leader Trailer 1 (2016) - Liam Cunningham Movie, retrieved 12 July 2019
  21. ^ Goronja, Ariel (10 April 2019). "Is Liam Cunningham Married? Does the Game of Thrones Actor Have a Wife?". Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  22. ^ Staff, Guardian (13 February 2015). "Over 100 artists announce a cultural boycott of Israel | Letters". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
  23. ^ "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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