Colm Meaney is an Irish actor best known for his starring role as Chief Miles O'Brien in the science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation (1988-1994) and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, from 1993-1999.
He is also known for his roles in such feature films as The Commitments, Far and Away, The Road to Wellville, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain, Con Air and Layer Cake, among others.
He currently stars as corrupt entrepreneur Thomas 'Doc' Durant in the period drama western television series Hell on Wheels, since 2011.
Meaney started studying acting when he was 14 years of age, and entered the Abbey Theatre school of Acting after secondary school. He became a member of the Irish National Theatre and spent the next eight years in England, touring with several theatre companies.
His first television appearance was in Z-Cars on BBC1 in 1978.
He also guest-starred on shows such as Remington Steele and Moonlighting before embarking on a successful film career; he received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor for his role in The Snapper.
He has also played a minor recurring role as Cowen, leader of the Genii on the Sci-Fi Channel series Stargate Atlantis, and he guest-starred on Law & Order: Criminal Intent.
With 211 total appearances on Star Trek (157 on Deep Space Nine and 54 on Star Trek: The Next Generation), he has made more appearances on the franchise than any other actor except Michael Dorn (282).
His role and rank in the Star Trek series took several years to evolve. Beginning as a crewman in Star Trek: The Next Generation the character of Miles O'Brien then graduated to the transporter room and was briefly a lieutenant before being made a chief petty officer, thus joining one of the very few recurring enlisted roles in Star Trek (Mr Leslie and Yeoman Rand being two others from the original series).
Transferring to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the O'Brien character mutated the first two seasons between a warrant officer and an ensign junior grade before again becoming enlisted as a senior chief petty officer around the fourth season.
In the last seasons of Deep Space Nine the rank of senior chief was once and for all confirmed and O'Brien became the first-ever Star Trek enlisted character to be given an enlisted rank insignia collar pin.
He was the only actor to appear in all three film adaptations of Roddy Doyle's The Barrytown Trilogy wherein he played the father of the Rabbitte family; however due to rights issues the family name changed from film to film.
His stage appearances include the Old Vic production of Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten.