Tommy Flanagan stumbled upon acting and may have never thought he would come far therein. However, he has not only come far, but he has also ‘gone far’ leaving fans dazed by his performances as he continues to blaze the trail with phenomenal roles on the silver screen that we can’t ever seem to get enough of. The Scottish actor is famed as much for his facial scars as for his exotic performances. He is best known for his role as Filip “Chibs” Telford in the FX original series Sons of Anarchy (SoA). Like a priced piece, we would unfold juicy deets about Flanagan herein. Read on.
Who is Tommy Flanagan?
The SoA actor was born the third child in a family of seven on the 3rd day of July 1965 (the same day as his Gladiator co-star Connie Nielsen) in Easterhouse, Glasgow, Scotland. Raised a Catholic, he was a devoted altar boy as a child. He has a strong Scottish accent and while many things like music got his attention growing up, acting was not one of them; it never crossed his mind even for a moment.
When he was 6, his father (who died in 2002) left the family, leading to his always getting into some trouble growing up. That notwithstanding, he still had a good head on his shoulders and sought for avenues to make money to at least support his family. He worked as a painter, decorator, and disc jockey with the latter forming part of the bridge that led him to start acting.
Following an incident that left him with two facial scars, feeling sorry for himself, his friend Robert Carlyle and his wife persuaded him to give acting a try. Eventually, Tommy Flanagan, who never considered acting a path he would ever tow decided to give it a shot. Consequently, he joined the Carlyle’s Raindog Theatre Company and acted in productions such as Wasted I and II, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and Macbeth, surprisingly proving to be an item.
Subsequently, he earned roles in television shows such as Screen One (1992) and Taggart (1993). He got his big break after three years in Raindog in Mel Gibson‘s Academic Award-winning Braveheart (1995) as brash rebel Morrison. He followed it up with bigger roles in 1997 with films such as The Saint, Face/Off, and David Fincher’s The Game after several minor television roles in 1996.
Then in 1999, he appeared in the historical action comedy film Plunkett and Macleane and also in Ratcatcher as the troubled Irish father Da for which he earned critical acclamations and Best Actor nominations. Stepping up, he portrayed Cicero, a trustworthy ally to Russell Crowe’s character in Ridley Scott‘s Academy Award-winning film, Gladiator (2000).
Also in 2000, he clinched roles in Sunset Strip and the short film Hidden as well as appeared in an episode of the British detective drama series Rebus. Furthermore, he played Michelangelo in Strictly Sinatra (2001), Bleda in the TV mini-series Attila (2001), a 1970’s heart-throb, rock star Williamson in All About The Benjamins (2002) alongside Ice Cube, and Irish Henchman in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003). From 2004 to 2006, Flanagan shot impressive performances in films such as Paul Anderson’s Alien vs. Predator (2004), Sin City (2005), The Last Drop (2006), Smokin’ Aces (2006), and When a Stranger Calls (2006).
In 2008, Tommy Flanagan joined the cast of the FX Network’s drama, Sons of Anarchy (SOA) through the seven seasons (2008-2014) of the series as Filip ‘Chibs’ Telford. His co-stars include Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, and Katey Sagal. In between the series, he played several minor roles in hit series such as Fox’s 24 (2009), Lie to Me (2010), ABC’s Detroit 1-8-7 (2011), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2012) and Peaky Blinders (2013) opposite Cillian Murphy. He also starred in films such as Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassins’ Ball (2010) and Officer Down (2012) and in October 2010, he became the spokesperson for the Scottish soft drink Irn-Bru.
He continues to create great roles both on the big and small screen as well as gaining wider recognition. In 2015, he appeared in the award-winning indie film Winter as an emotionally tortured painter trying to keep his family together after the sudden loss of his wife. For his performance in the critically successful film, he won the Best Leading Actor Award at the New York City International Film Festival. In the same year, Flanagan was cast in 3 episodes of Revenge and in an episode of the highly-rated second season of Fox’s Gotham.
The following year, he was cast in the military drama Sand Castle set during the Iraq War alongside Henry Cavill and Nicholas Hoult and in Running Wild with Sharon Stone. He also appeared in Korn’s music video for Rotting in Vain and in 4 episodes of the Canadian TV series Motive. Then in 2017, he had a starring role in the much-anticipated sequel of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy 2, the biopic Papillon, and The Ballad of Lefty Brown co-starring Jim Caviezel and Michael Spears. He is set to play the series regular role of Alec McCullough on the Netflix series, Wu Assassins as announced in July 2018.
How Did Tommy Flanagan Scars Come About?
But for the scars, probably we wouldn’t have come to know Tommy Flanagan as the iconic actor we know him as today. While they came about in a most unpleasant event, it opened his eyes to the potentials that hold for him in the acting world and in turn became his most recognizable features – his staple and his sell.
Every scar has a story behind it anyway and here’s the story behind Tommy Flanagan’s facial scars. Flanagan was in his twenties and made a living as a DJ in a pub. One fateful night, while returning from work, he was waylaid by some thugs who tried to rob him. Upon his resistance, his attackers slashed both sides of his face leaving injuries that would engender his famous scars for the rest of his life. The scar became known as a Glasgow Grin or Glasgow Smile. Moreover, it was referenced in the SOA as part of his character’s backstory. He portrayed Filip as “Chibs” (Scots slang for street blade or a stabbing weapon) in the series because of his facial scars.
For the actor, he doesn’t see the scars anymore. While he admits it was a horrible thing, he doesn’t give a second thought to it. Instead, he considers it ancient history and a big wrinkle on his face.
Who Is His Spouse or Wife?
Tommy Flanagan has been married three times. His first marriage was to Rachel Flanagan which lasted for three years from May 1998 to 2001. He had a long hiatus from marital avenue and seemingly focused on his career. However, in 2007, he decided to give it another try when he tied the knot with Jane Ford on December 23. Unfortunately, it met with the same fate as the first and ended three years after in divorce on 10 June 2010.
Shortly after his split from Jane, he exchanged marital vows with Dina Livingston on August 1, 2010. The union has outlived the others and has also produced a child. Their daughter, Aunjanue Elizabeth was born in 2012.