16 Surprising Tommy Flanagan Facts | Know the Story Behind His Face Scars

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Sarthak Koul
Sarthak Koul
Sarthak brings a technical perspective to the everyday aspects of life through his blogs. Breaking down the storyline of movies and shows is something he enjoys thoroughly. He firmly believes in contributing to this flawed and beautiful world in his own way. His mantra is to take things one day at a time.

As one of Hollywood’s biggest and baddest character-playing actors, Tommy Flanagan has been a part of the industry for decades. Tommy has an easily recognizable feature – his facial scars. Real Facial Scars! And if you’re wondering how he got those, this article will cover that too along with some other lesser-known facts about Tommy Flanagan.

Flanagan turned the tragic incident of his face into an opportunity that many cannot even dream about. The face scars give him the tough bad guy look that he loves to portray on the screen. Featuring in over 30 movies and other 20+ TV shows, Flanagan has certainly found success in the acting industry.

One fact that you might not know is that Tommy’s nickname in the hit series Sons of Anarchy as ‘Chibs’, means ‘knife’ in Scottish slang, relating to his real-life ordeal of how he got those scars. The article discloses the full story behind those scars along with other Tommy Flanagan facts.

As a person who had no plans of taking acting as a means of his living, Tommy sure made himself into a successful and famous personality in Hollywood. From career facts to his personal life facts, follow through with the article to know some interesting stories about Tommy Flanagan.

Tommy Flanagan | Face Scars and Facts Related to Career, Personal Life and More

Without further ado, read along to check out the stories and various facts from Tommy’s life that most of you might not be knowing, starting with his facial scars in the following subsection.

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#Story Behind Tommy Flanagan’s Face Scars

For those of you who’ve seen 1995’s Braveheart will likely agree with the opinion that Flanagan’s face scars made his character more effective and memorable. He is living proof that you don’t need a flawless face to be a successful Hollywood star.

Tommy Flanagan | Story Behind Face Scars Along With 16 Lesser-known Facts
Source: Pinterest

Though most of us (including Hollywood) dig Tommy Flanagan’s facial scars that give him the tough and bad guy look but have you ever wondered what’s the story behind those scars? While the story is definitely gruesome, Tommy still managed to turn around his life in a very inspiring way. Here’s exactly how the story goes:

Born in a rough neighborhood of Easterhouse, Glasgow, Flanagan worked as a DJ at a local nightclub in his younger years. One night as he was leaving the club, Flanagan was attacked by a group of armed people who tried to rob him. Needless to say, he put up a fight but there were just too many of them for Flanagan to handle. As a result, the attackers stabbed him in the face and slashed it from ear to ear leaving him in a gush of blood.

Tommy Flanagan luckily survived the attack but was left with the scar that became his most recognizable feature. The scar came to be known as the Glasgow Smile. However, this horrible and traumatic experience didn’t stop Flanagan as he tried out and attained success in an industry that is reputed to go for looks.  

While most of us surely can’t fathom how he recovered from the incident, Tommy is a real-life example of the quote that goes something like, “A scar is a sign of strength… the sign of a survivor and conqueror” and in all seriousness, all of us should take note of that for the challenges in our lives.

#Career Facts

Now that we’ve covered the story of his facial scars, let’s check out some of the interesting career facts of Tommy Flanagan.

Tommy Flanagan | Story Behind Face Scars Along With 16 Lesser-known Facts
Source: Wikimedia

1. Tommy Flanagan Never Intended to be an Actor. 

Yes, you read that absolutely right. Tommy Flanagan never intended to go down the show business road. Let’s take a quick flashback, Shall we?

Born and brought up in a rough neighborhood, Flanagan served as an altar boy at a local church during his childhood. Flanagan then went on to learn DJ-ing and as he was growing up, he soon started working at a local nightclub. Things were going smooth for Tommy until the unfortunate incident of the knife attack happened. 

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However, as the saying goes that “life has other plans”, this unfortunate attack gave Hollywood one of its biggest and baddest actors. Flanagan who never thought of pulling off acting gigs into a career saw his ordeal turn out in a grander scheme of things.                                                 

2. Robert Carlyle Persuaded Tommy to Try Acting

Owing to the infamous Glasgow smile, many of Flanagan’s friends suggested to him that his distinctive appearance could easily land him special roles in TV and movies. It wasn’t until he was persuaded by a friend and fellow actor, Robert Carlyle, to try his hands out in acting.  

Tommy Flanagan | Story Behind Face Scars Along With 16 Lesser-known Facts
Source: wallsdesk.com

3. Flanagan First Started Out With a Theater Company

After working as a dance club DJ and being fully recovered from the assault, Flanagan started out in a native Glasgow theater company in the early 1990s where he worked for nearly three years. He took Carlyle’s advice and joined the Raindog Theatre Company and made his stage debut with productions such as ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest‘, and ‘Macbeth‘.

4. Flanagan’s Acting Debut

Before landing his famous role of Chibs Telford in one of the highest-rated shows of the FX network, Sons of Anarchy, Flanagan had a successful two-decade-long run in his acting career. But do you know which were his first TV roles? 

Flanagan made his acting debut in 1992 with BBC’s anthology series, Screen One, where he played an uncredited role for just one episode of the show. Apart from that, his major beginning roles included a 1993 episode of the long-running Scottish detective series, Taggart, in which he received national recognition for his portrayal of Tam McLeod. 

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5. Flanagan’s Breakout Hollywood Movie was Braveheart (1995)

Even though Flanagan worked in a couple of Scottish TV film projects including Tis the Season to be Jolly and Jolly: A Life, his major breakout role came with Hollywood’s epic war thriller – Braveheart.

Tommy Flanagan | Story Behind Face Scars Along With 16 Lesser-known Facts
Source: Pinterest

He played the role of Morrison in the movie under the direction of Mel Gibson. Since then Flannagan has landed numerous opportunities and gone on to act in various Hollywood, British, and Scottish movies including some prominent roles in Gladiator, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, Alien vs. Predator, and Sin City.

For a full list of his movies, check out the end section of the article. 

#Personal Life Facts

After career facts, it’s time to head over to some personal life facts that most of you might not be knowing. Without further ado, let’s check out Tommy Flanagan’s interesting personal facts.

1. Flannagan Grew Up In An Impoverished Neighborhood 

As described (by Tommy himself) as “a place where a quarter of million people squeezed together, with tons of dirty, snotty, and malnourished children running on the concrete of poverty”, Flanagan spent his entire childhood in a poverty-stricken neighborhood and an undeveloped suburb of Glasgow, Easterhouse.

Considered among the most deprived localities of Western Europe, Easterhouse is often regarded as one of the worst places to live in the United Kingdom. This is pertaining to the fact that a few decades back, the place was notorious for housing the UK’s most dangerous criminals and gang members. 

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2. Flannagan’s Biggest Fan is Someone Very Close and Dear to Him

Tommy Flanagan revealed in an interview that his mother, Elizabeth Flanagan, was his biggest fan. He even expressed in the interview that he loved his mother the most and always wanted to do something good for his family. 

Tommy Flanagan | Story Behind Face Scars Along With 16 Lesser-known Facts
Source: tvovermind.com

With that in mind, Tommy made a property purchase a few years back in one of Glasgow’s posh neighborhoods by buying a house for his mom. To quote his gratitude in his own words, Tommy said, 

“Being able to do something like that was one of the best things in the world. What I’ve done since I started acting isn’t bad for a wee toe-rag from Easterhouse. I just thank God for it all.”

3. Tommy’s Brother, Andrew, is a Film Actor as Well

Though many may not know this as Tommy doesn’t talk much about his family in interviews,  Tommy’s younger brother, Andrew, is also a Scottish actor and resides in Glasgow, Scotland. Of all the five siblings born to Elizabeth and David Flanagan, Tommy is the third child and apart from Andrew, there is no great information available about the rest of the siblings. 

Andrew has bagged many famous roles for characters in movies like Being Humans (1994), The Near Room (1995), Movern Callar (2002), and Valhalla Rising (2009) but his ‘rose to fame’ in Scotland came during the early 2000s with his role of Connor Doyle in the popular two-season TV series, Tinsel Town. 

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4. Flanagan Has Married Thrice 

Tommy Flanagan’s first marriage, in 1998, was with Rachel Flanagan, a casting manager he is said to have met on a movie set. However, their marriage didn’t last long as the couple parted ways after almost three years in 2001.

In 2007, Tommy married an American girl named Jane Ford who, according to the sources available on the internet, was into the music business at that time. This marriage, too, didn’t stand the test of time as Tommy divorced her after three years of their marriage in 2010. 

Tommy Flanagan | Story Behind Face Scars Along With 16 Lesser-known Facts
Source: answersafrica.com

After the split-up with Jane, Tommy went on to marry his current wife, Dina Livingston, and the couple shares a 9-year-old daughter named Aunjanue Elizabeth Flanagan.

5. Tommy Flanagan Had an Eye Surgery 

Hard to believe, RIGHT? But the Scottish actor underwent one of the very few alternatives to LASIK known as a refractive lens exchange surgery. 

Tommy Flanagan disclosed in an interview with The Lab Magazine that he was once blind and had gone under surgery to have his eyes’ lens replaced. Flanagan talked more about his blindness and revealed that it was caused by hyperopia (or farsightedness).

On being asked if he went through a LASIK surgery to get rid of glasses, Flanagan didn’t reveal much about the same but recommended LASIK and other eye surgeries that enable people to see without glasses.

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6. Flanagan’s Dream Ranch

In the same 2012 interview with The Lab Magazine, Flanagan also revealed his dream to own a self-sufficient ranch. Tommy disclosed to the reporter that building a big and beautiful home was one of his deepest desires and a top priority in his life. 

Having taken place in the same year as Tommy and Dina welcomed their baby girl to the world, the interview has aged for about six years now and there is no update on the ranch from the Scottish star. Though his dream is still a vision, it almost seems as if his top priority shifted to his daughter which is a great thing, just to be clear.

#Some Other Random Facts About Tommy Flanagan

1. Flanagan features as an active participant in the official music video of Rotting In Vain by Korn.  

2. The Scottish actor shares his birth date with the Gladiator co-star, Connie Nielsen. 

3. Because of the two permanent scars on his cheeks, Tommy Flanagan is famous as Glasgow grin.

4. Tommy started his acting career after the knife incident.

5. Flanagan supported the idea of the Scottish partition. He was in favor of the 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum. However, the results of the poll saw about 55% voting against the bill.

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#List of Movies Tommy Flanagan Has Appeared In

Movie TitleRole PlayedYear
The SaintScarface1997
The GameSolicitor/Taxi driver1997
Plunkett & MacleaneEddie1999
Sunset StripDuncan2000
Strictly SinatraMichelangelo2001
Dead Dogs LieMichael2001
All About the BenjaminsWilliamson2002
Charlie’s Angels: Full ThrottleIrish Henchman2003
Alien vs. PredatorMark Verheiden2004
Sin CityBrian2005
The Last DropPvt. Dennis Baker2006
When a Stranger CallsThe Stranger2006
Smokin’ AcesLazlo Soot2006
Hero WantedDerek2008
Smokin’ Aces 2: Assassins’ BallLazlo Soot2010
Swifty & VegSwifty2010
Officer DownFather Reddy2012
WinterWoods Weston2015
Running WildJon Kilpatrick2016
Sand CastleSGM McGregor2016
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2Tullk Ul-Zyn2017
PapillonMasked Breton2017
The Ballad of Lefty BrownTom Harrah2017
Legal ActionMr. Gates2018
Killers AnonymousMarkus2019
The Rising HawkTugar2019
The WaveAeolus2019

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#List of TV Shows Tommy Flanagan Has Been A Part Of

Show TitleRole PlayedYearFeatured in/for
Screen One1992Episode: “Black and Blue”
Tis the Season to be JollyPrisoner1993TV film
TaggartTam McLeod1993Episode: “Instrument of Justice”
Jolly: A LifeMan at grotto1995TV film
Rab C. NesbittSean1996Episode: “Lottery”
A Mug’s GamePaul1996
Bad BoysHarry1996Episode: “The Bonny Bonny Banks”
RebusThomas Telford2000Episode: “The Hanging Garden”
AttilaBleda2001TV miniseries
Sons of AnarchyFilip “Chibs” Telford2008–201490 episodes
24Gabriel Schector2009Episode: “Day 7: 8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m.”
Lie to MeRon Marshall2010Episode: “Headlock”
Detroit 1-8-7Albert Stram20112 episodes
Law & Order: Special Victims UnitMurphy2012Episode: “Home Invasions”
Peaky BlindersArthur Shelby Sr.2013Episode: ‘Episode 5’
RevengeMalcolm Black20153 episodes
GothamTom “The Knife”20151 episode “Rise of the Villains: The Son of Gotham”
MotiveJack Stoker20164 episodes
Wu AssassinsAlec McCullough2019Main role
Mayans M.C.Filip “Chibs” Telford2019Special guest star (season 2) Episode: “Kukulkan”
WestworldMartin Conells/ Dolores Abernathy (host)20203 episodes

Wrapping Up

This brings us to the end of our article. We hope you got every bit of information you wanted to know about Tommy Flanagan’s facial scars and other lesser-known facts.

If you liked the content, share it with your friends and let us know your favorite character played by Flanagan in the comment section below. For more interesting articles, keep visiting Path of EX – Your Spot For Trending Stuff!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why was Tommy Flanagan given a Glasgow smile? 

Flanagan worked as a DJ at a local nightclub in his younger years. One night as he was leaving the club, Flanagan was attacked by a group of armed people who tried to rob him. In the aftermath of the fight, the attackers slashed his face from ear to ear leaving him with the scar that came to be known as the Glasgow Smile.

What is Tommy Flanagan’s net worth? 

Born and brought up in a rough neighborhood, the Scottish actor who has been in numerous movies has an estimated net worth of about $3 million. 

Does Tommy Flanagan have a brother?

Of all the five siblings born to Elizabeth and David Flanagan, Tommy is the third child and he has a younger brother, Andrew Flanagan who is also a Scottish actor and resides in Glasgow, Scotland. 

Why is it called a Glasgow smile?

A Glasgow smile is a nickname given to the practice of cutting a victim’s face from the edges of the mouth to the ears. Being originated in the Scottish city of Glasgow gives the infamous practice its nickname.

Who is Tommy Flanagan married to?

Tommy Flanagan has married three times. His first marriage was with Rachel Flanagan which ended in 2001. His second marriage with Jane Ford lasted three years before the couple divorced. of their marriage in 2010. His third marriage was with his current wife, Dina Livingston, and the couple shares a 9-year-old daughter named Aunjanue Elizabeth Flanagan.

Feature Image Credit: Sporcle


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