The Irish bloke with serious acting chops may be best known as Oskar Schindler, but has recently taken a turn for the bad ass.

Born in Northern Ireland, Neeson worked a variety of odd jobs-teaching, architecture, forklift operator at a Guinness brewery-before making his stage debut as a member of Belfast's Lyric Players company. His performance as Lenny in Of Mice And Men in 1980 landed him his big break: He caught the eye of director John Boorman who cast him in Excalibur a year later.

A handful of roles in Brit movies followed, but Neeson crossed the pond in the mid-'80s. Following parts on shows like Miami Vice, he earned his first big role Stateside when he was cast in Sam Raimi's Darkman in 1990. Leading man status followed in 1993 when Steven Spielberg cast him as Oskar Schindler in Schindler's List. Neeson's since appeared in two of the three movies in the Star Wars trilogy, dabbled in romantic comedy (Love Actually), played a megalomaniac sex doctor (Kinsey), but kicked major ass in Taken, Batman Begins, Clash of the Titans, and The Grey.

After dalliances with the likes of Helen Mirren, Jennifer Grey, Brooke Shields, Barbra Streisand, Julia Roberts, and Janice Dickinson, Neeson settled down with actress Natasha Richardson, with whom he appeared in Nell, in 1994. They went on to have two sons, Michael and Daniel, before Richardson's unexpected death due to a brain injury from a skiing accident in 2009. [Image via Getty]