In the beginning…
Jonathan Michael Francis O’Keeffe was born July 27, 1977 in Dublin, Ireland to young parents Geraldine and John. He was born with a heart condition and was baptized quickly for fear he would not live long. He spent several months in the hospital but made it past that first hurdle and is now known around the world as Jonathan Rhys Meyers, one of the most promising and fascinating actors of his generation.
Jonathan’s family moved to Cork, Ireland, where both his parents were from, a year after he was born. When Jonny, as he is called by friends and family, was around 3 years old, his father and mother separated. Jonny and his younger brother Alan stayed with their mother, while his two younger brothers Jamie and Paul went to live with their father and grandmother. Jonny had a tumultuous childhood, never doing well in school and struggling with the poverty of his upbringing. He was kicked out of school at age 16.
Two chance meetings at local pool halls helped change the direction of Jonathan’s life. First, he met local farmer Christopher Crofts who offered him a place to work on his dairy farm and a surrogate family. He was then discovered by Hubbard Casting, who were scouting for the David Puttnam production of “The War of the Buttons” and asked to audition right outside the hall. After going through three more days of auditions, it came down to Gregg Fitzgerald and Jonathan for the lead. Gregg got the part. Jonny was crushed and gave up on his brief acting ‘career’. But he soon got a call for an audition for a Knorr soup commercial and he nabbed it. He was embarrassed by the ad but soon enough he landed his film debut, a very small role in “A Man of No Importance”. His career was just beginning. Christopher Crofts and his family provided much needed support and help as Jonathan started to make his mark in this new world.