Denis Colin Leary (born August 18, 1957) is an American actor, comedian, singer, writer and director. Leary is known for his biting comedic style and his chain smoking. He is the star and co-creator of the television show Rescue Me, which began its seventh and final season in July 2011.
Leary was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, the son of Irish Catholic immigrants. His mother, Nora (née Sullivan), was a maid, and his 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. He attended Saint Peter-Marian High School, in Worcester.
Leary is a graduate of Emerson College, in Boston. While at Emerson, he met fellow comic Mario Cantone, who to this day Leary considers his closest friend. Comedian Steven Wright and actress Gina Gershon also attended Emerson at the same time as Leary. At the school, he founded the Emerson Comedy Workshop, a troupe that continues on-campus as of 2011. 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 received 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.