Adrian Dunbar

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Adrian Dunbar : biography

1 August 1958 –

Adrian Dunbar (born 1 August 1958) is an actor from Northern Ireland, best known for his television and theatre work. Dunbar co-wrote and starred in the 1991 film, Hear My Song, nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the BAFTA awards.

In other media

  • He was cast as Bail Organa for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and appeared in costume in publicity stills, but his scene was cut, and the character was re-cast with Jimmy Smits for later episodes. Dunbar’s likeness was retconned into the appearance of the character Bail Antilles.
  • He fronts his own band, which has played in such American venues as Nashville, Tennessee and Austin, Texas.
  • He sings "The Curragh of Kildare" with Brian Kennedy on Kennedy’s On Song, and fronts this song with his own band.
  • He narrates the audiobook productions of Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl series, a bestselling novel.
  • He played a minor role in the 1988 film, The Dawning, alongside Anthony Hopkins and Hugh Grant, which led to further early roles in his acting career.


  • He received an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Ulster in June 2009 in recognition of his services to acting. University of Ulster, 30 June 2009


Dunbar has appeared in such notable films as My Left Foot, The Crying Game, and The General. He has also had leading roles in the films Triggermen, Shooters, How Harry Became A Tree (with Colm Meaney), Richard III, and Widows’ Peak. On television, he starred in the first episode of Cracker, and has been in many British productions, including Tough Love, Inspector Morse, Kidnapped, Murphy’s Law, Murder in Mind, Ashes to Ashes and the 2005 re-staging of The Quatermass Experiment.

Dunbar’s theatre credits include: The Shaughraun and Exiles at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre; Real Dreams and The Danton Affair at the Royal Shakespeare Company; King Lear, Pope’s Wedding, Saved and Up To The Sun And Down To The Centre at Royal Court Theatre, Conversations on a homecoming at the Lyric Theatre (Belfast); A Trinity of Two (as Oscar Wilde) at Dublin’s Liberty Hall Theatre; Boeing Boeing (London, 2007). He directed a critically acclaimed production of Philadelphia Here I Come!. In 2008 he starred in and co-directed Brendan at the Chelsea by Janet Behan, playing the Irish playwright Brendan Behan. The play was the first to be staged in the Naughton Studion in the new Lyric Theatre (Belfast) after it reopened in 2011 and is being revived for a tour to Theatre Row in New York in September 2013.

He played the role of Aufidius in the BBC Radio production of Coriolanus. He also made a guest appearance in the BBC Radio 4 series Baldi, and appeared onstage as Vermeer in an adaptation of Girl with a Pearl Earring.

In 2008, Dunbar played the role of Philip Conolly in the critically acclaimed award winning The Last Confession of Alexander Pearce. Dunbar shot the film with fellow Irish actor Ciaran McMenamin in the remote rain-forests of north west Tasmania.

Dunbar is planning to direct Connolly, a movie about Irish labour union organizer James Connolly as seen through the eyes of his daughter, Nora. The production company is Rascal Films.

He played the mysterious character Martin Summers in the second series of Ashes to Ashes but was killed off in the final episode of series two.

Personal life

Dunbar was born and brought up in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, the eldest of seven siblings. He was educated by the Presentation Brothers before attending the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He has a daughter and stepson from his 1986 marriage to the Australian actress Anna Nygh. He lives in Crouch End in North London. He is an avid supporter of Arsenal Football Club in London.