Barry Keoghan, born on October 17, 1992, is one of Hollywood’s hottest talents but his upbringing in Dublin, Ireland wasn’t glamorous. Barry has spoken about his life growing up without a father, his mother's death when he was a child, and his years spent in the foster care system.
“I remember it, it wasn’t nice,” said Barry. “It’s not ever nice, kids being taken from their parents. We were brought…there was an office in Mountjoy Square and you’d go and wait there. I remember a little toy section down the back and a little play area.”
The actor lived in 13 different foster homes between ages 5 and 12. He added that he and his brother were kept together.
“Every family was good to us. As a kid, you don’t know what’s happening. You get attached … and then boom. Let’s move over here,” he said. "I don't have a hometown, that's what I'm saying."
At age 10, Barry and his brother Eric moved in with his maternal grandmother. His mother died two years after he was reunited with his grandmother.
Despite facing uncertainties during his early years, Barry discovered his passion for acting. Around the time his mother passed away, Barry started watching films starring Marlon Brando, James Dean and Paul Newman.
“I was expressing,” he said. “Doing impressions, putting on accents for prank calls, going to the shops and becoming different characters each time.”
Despite his talents, it seemed unlikely that his dreams of becoming an actor would become reality. “To say you wanna be an actor in that environment, you’re not looked down upon, but it’s like, ‘Get with the script. It’s not gonna happen,'" he explained.
But, he remained optimistic, and the death of his mother made him more determined. “‘What more can I lose?’” he told himself. “‘The only way is forward.’”
One of Barry's notable early roles was in the critically acclaimed film "Dunkirk" (2017). In the movie, he played the character George, a young soldier caught in the intense and harrowing evacuation of Allied troops during World War II.
Following his success in "Dunkirk," Barry continued to impress audiences with his performances. He took on the role of Martin in "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" (2017), a psychological thriller. His portrayal garnered praise for its intensity and depth, showcasing his versatility as an actor.
In 2019, Barry starred in the crime drama film "The Shadow of Violence," portraying the character of Arm. His ability to convey complex emotions and capture the essence of his characters contributed to the film's impact.
Barry Keoghan's talent further shone in the role of Druig in the Marvel Cinematic Universe's "Eternals" (2021). This superhero film showcased his ability to seamlessly transition between genres and work alongside a star-studded ensemble cast.
In 2022, Keoghan earned his first Oscar nomination, reuniting with Colin Farrell and co-starring alongside Brendan Gleeson in “The Banshees of Inisherin.”
Now, he’s back in the award season game with a Golden Globe nomination for his starring role as Oliver Quick in the psychological thriller “Saltburn.” Barry received critical acclaim for his performance, and was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Actor.
Barry’s journey from a challenging past in foster care to a successful actor serves as an inspiring narrative of resilience and achievement. The actor gives thanks to his grandmother, aunt and older sister, Gemma, for the way he turned out and his ultimate success. In a social media post, a picture of Barry with "Banshees of Inisherin” cast members at the Golden Globes awards included a comment,
“And just a note to little Barry, told you we would get there.”