Published On: Fri, Apr 12th, 2024

Saoirse Ronan’s famous dad whose big decision ‘made her huge Hollywood star’ | Celebrity News | Showbiz & TV

Saoirse Ronan, who turns thirty today (April 12) had one man by her side throughout the early days of her career. Her father Paul was always to hand as the young starlet navigated her way through the early days of stardom. This was down to more than the close bond that the pair share, as her actor father was instrumental in her early success. Sshe owes her first roles to him although her first appearance doesn’t feature on any of her CVs.

One year old Saoirse appeared in a film called Exiled – a film her father just happened to have the lead role in, although it took a few years to get a release. This film came after Paul had shared the screen with Brad Pitt in The Devil’s Own and Daniel Day Lewis in the Boxer.

He will also be recognisable to fans of BBC‘s Ballyskissangel in which he played Edso Foley, the cheeky mechanic, whose character was scheduled to be part of a major romantic storyline before the show was axed. However his career never scaled the dizzy heights of his daughter, and his highest profile role in recent years is in Irish soap opera Fair City.

Saoirse was born in New York while her parents Paul and mother Monica, who was also an actor, were living as undocumented immigrants. They first attempted to break her into the acting world as a tot. “

We thought she was the cutest baby in the world…so we thought, ‘we’ll put her in an ad and see how she gets on’,” Paul said in a 2008 interview with Hot Press. That early foray into showbiz didn’t go to plan as he recalled bringing her to an audition in Manhattan with a room “full of women crying and screaming children.”

He said that he saw a look of sheer terror on his daughter’s face and that he and Monica both agreed it wasn’t for them. “We didn’t want any kind of fear or anything negative for Saoirse,” he said.

Fast forward a few years and that early experience seems to have been forgotten. Speaking in a joint interview on Irish chat show The Lagte Late Show in 2010 Paul said: “From the age of two I spotted something in her. She was an amazing kid, very friendly and sociable. More so than any kid I have seen. Eventually, when she was seven or eight, I put her in a short film I was doing. They needed a kid and I said ‘I have got one’.”

The family returned home to Ireland and set up home in Carlow and eight year old Saoirse took to the screen once again with a role in the Irish medical drama The Clinic and Paul also appeared in the programme. More TV and film roles followed and just three years later she would have her breakthrough with her part in Atonement.

From that point on the entire Ronan family became a tightly knit feature on red carpets as her career started to soar with roles in movies such as Hanna and The Lovely Bones. She is now is the second youngest person to accrue four Academy Award nominations, behind Jennifer Lawrence.

Paul was her de facto manager until she turned 18 and both parents vetted every single scipt and public appearance request. They also acted as her chaperone on set – a legal requirement for child actors – and oversaw her home schooling.

In a 2012 interview with the Irish independent a then 18 year old Saoirse admitted: “‘My dad helps manage my career and both him and my mum come everywhere with me. I’ve never hired a chaperone or anything like that. She continued: “Having them wth me helps keep things that little bit normal when you’re away from home.”

In recent years Paul has taken a step back from overseeing his daughters career and alongside hsi soap appearance has featured in a couple of films.

In a 2022 interview with Evoke he admitted: “She is 28, she’s not my little baby any more. I often see daddies walking in the street with their little girls and I remember that time and I remember that closeness. Nobody told me at the time it comes to an end.”

In the same interview he made it clear that the people who now surround his daughter and look after her interests are carefully chosen. “There are so many broken people in the business that it’s hard not to worry, but Saoirse is grand. She has chosen to never move to LA. She grew up in a small village with her friends with the values we would have given her and that will sustain her.”

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