On April 2 1977 Michael Fassbender was born in Heidelberg, Germany to an Irish mother and German father.
When he was two, the family uprooted to his mother's homeland, settling in Killarney, County Kerry, where they earned a living running a restaurant.
And long before he ever hit the big time, his mum Adele provided him with a claim to fame: Family legend said that she was the great-great-niece of Michael Collins, the revolutionary who helped found modern Ireland.
His passion for drama began in his teens when a school friend invited him to take part in at an acting workshop, called Bricriu.
Michael credits his time studying puppet theatre, sketch work and improvisation there as the catalyst for awakening his inner-actor.
His role as Irish Republican Army prisoner Bobby Sands in Steve McQueen's film, Hunger, pushed Michael's creative talents to the limit.
He lost weight on a crash diet that restricted him to 600 calories a day and picked up a British Independent Film Award for his efforts.
Hollywood's interest was also piqued and he was cast as Lt. Archie Hicox in Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious Basterds and in X-Men First Class as Magneto.
David Cronenberg later signed him up to play renowned Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, in A Dangerous Method.
But it was his reunion with director Steve McQueen in Shame, that brought him back onto the critics' radar with a Golden Globe-nominated turn as a sex addict.
The material was probably too much for the Oscars Academy. But a few laters his role in 12 Years a Slave won him a nomination for best supporting actor.