O'Dowd was born in Sligo, Ireland, and grew up in the small town of Boyle, which had a population of 3,000. A somewhat awkward youth -- he was already 6 feet fall by his 11th birthday -- O'Dowd played soccer all throughout his teens. Once high school was over, however, he hung up his cleats and enrolled at University College in Dublin. O'Dowd studied politics and sociology while attending the school (his mother was a psychotherapist), but quickly realized that college was not for him. He dropped out shortly after and moved to London to pursue acting. O'Dowd took a job at a charity call-in center to pay the bills, while frequently skipping out to attend auditions. He appeared in minor roles in British dramas such as "Conspiracy of Silence" (2003) and "Vera Drake" (2004), before landing the role of Roy Trenneman on "The IT Crowd." O'Dowd appeared in all four seasons of the show, which revolved around several tech employees working at a London-based corporation. The show ended in 2010, making O'Dowd a major star in the process. However, with the release of "Bridesmaids" the following summer, the 31-year-old actor would show the world his career was only just beginning. O'Dowd had an inkling that "Bridesmaids" would be a smash hit. Despite appearing in two major Hollywood movies the year prior, O'Dowd recalled a familial atmosphere on the set of "Bridesmaids" that was much different than his previous American filmmaking experiences. When "Bridesmaids" opened to glowing reviews in May of 2011, eventually earning two Academy Award nominations, O'Dowd's suspicions proved correct. That same year he reteamed with several of his "Bridesmaids" cast members in the comedy "Friends With Kids," before appearing in Apatow's dramedy about married life, "This is 40" (2012). That film was a sequel to "Knocked Up" (2007), with O'Dowd playing a hipster record executive. In early 2013 O'Dowd appeared on the second season of the HBO series "Girls" (HBO, 2012); he reprised his role as a wealthy venture capitalist on the show's second season.
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