About Denis Colin Leary
He is an Irish-American actor, comedian, writer, and director. He is known for his often biting comedic style and his chain smoking. Leary is the star and co-creator of the television show Rescue Me, which will begin its sixth season in June 2010.
Leary was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, the son of Irish Catholic immigrants. His mother, Nora, was a maid, and his late father, John Leary, was an auto mechanic. As both of his parents are from Killarney, County Kerry, Ireland, Leary holds both Irish and American citizenship. Through marriage, Leary is a third cousin of talk show host Conan O'Brien and has jokingly said on Late Night with Conan O'Brien that "all Irish people are related." He graduated from Saint Peter-Marian High School, in Worcester.
Leary is a graduate of Emerson College, in Boston, where he was classmates with fellow comic Mario Cantone, who remains his close friend. Comedian Steven Wright and actress Gina Gershon also attended Emerson at the same time as Leary. At the school, he and Jodi Haffner co-founded the Emerson Comedy Workshop, a troupe that continues on-campus as of at least 2009. After graduating with the Emerson Class of 1979, he took a job at the school teaching comedy writing classes and maintained the job for five years. Leary was honored with an honorary doctorate and spoke briefly at his alma mater's undergraduate commencement ceremony on May 16, 2005; he is thus credited as "Dr. Denis Leary" on the cover of his 2009 book, Why We Suck.
Leary has been married to writer Ann Lembeck Leary since 1989. They met when he was her instructor for an English class at Emerson College. They have two children, son John Joseph "Jack" (born 1990) and daughter Devin (born 1992). Ann Leary published a memoir, An Innocent, a Broad, about the premature birth of their son on an overseas visit to England. She has also written a novel, Outtakes From a Marriage, which was published in 2008.
Leary is an ice hockey fan and has his own backyard hockey rink at his home in Connecticut with piping installed under the ice surface to help the ice stay frozen. His favorite National Hockey League team is the Boston Bruins. During the 2010 NHL Winter Classic he appeared with his friend Lenny Clarke and members of the Worcester Fire Department and the Boston Fire Department and led the crowd in singing "Sweet Caroline". He is also a diehard Boston Red Sox fan, as well as a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles.
He has said, "I'm more interested in my issues than I am in the guy" and "I was a life-long Democrat, but now at my age, I've come to realize that the Democrats suck, and the Republicans suck, and basically the entire system sucks. But you have to go within the system to find what you want." Leary supported Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election.
Leary considers himself a Lapsed Catholic.He said about his religious beliefs; "I'm a lapsed Catholic in the best sense of the word. You know, I was raised with Irish parents, Irish immigrant parents. My parents, you know, prayed all the time, took us to mass. And my father would sometimes swear in Gaelic. It doesn't get more religious than that. But, no, after a while, they taught us wrong. I didn't raise my kids with the fear of God. I raised my kids with the sense of, you know, to me, Jesus was this great guy...".
Despite jokes he's made, Leary watches The Oprah Winfrey Show frequently and loves the program.