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Archive for February, 2012

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Jennifer Hilary

Jennifer Hilary

Jennifer Hilary
Jennifer Hilary
Jennifer Hilary

Lovely Jennifer Hilary made an impact in some popular British films of the 1960’s.   She was born in 1942 in Surrey.   Among her film credits are “Becket” in 1964 with Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton, “The Heroes of Telemark” with Kirk Douglas and Richard Harris and “The Idol” with Jennifer Jones.   She later became a well known florist.   Sadly, she died in 2008.

“Guardian” obituary:

During her period of stardom in the West End and on Broadway, Jennifer Hilary, who has died of cancer aged 65, adorned the acting profession, in more than one sense. Blonde, with pale blue eyes, an equally pale complexion, and a mouth that could subtly move from a knowing smile to conveying hurt, she displayed an emotional range while still young. But what those who knew her will miss most is her gift for lasting friendship and sense of personal style; the actor Barbara Leigh-Hunt remarked that she could tell from the way a room and its flowers were arranged that Hilary had been there.

She was born in Frimley, Surrey, but her early years were spent in Cairo, where her father worked for the British Overseas Airways Corporation, supervising flying boats. Hilary then attended the Elmhurst ballet school in Camberley, and, although her height ruled out any hopes of her becoming a ballerina, she retained a love of dance.

After training at Rada, where she won the Bancroft gold medal, she made her professional debut in 1961 at the Liverpool Playhouse, moving on to Birmingham Rep the following year. An assistant stage manager at the latter was Tom Rand, later an Oscar-nominated production designer; he and Hilary became friends, and remained so for 46 years.

She celebrated her 21st birthday on Broadway, while in Jean Anouilh’s The Rehearsal (1963) at the Royale theatre, with Coral Browne and Keith Michell. Her West End debut was in The Wings of the Dove, at the Haymarket in 1964. Later that year, she appeared with Ian McKellen, in his West End debut, in A Scent of Flowers at the Duke of York’s, then supported Ingrid Bergman in Michael Redgrave’s production of A Month in the Country, opening Guildford’s Yvonne Arnaud theatre, in 1965.

Returning to New York in 1966, she appeared at the Shubert theatre in John Gielgud’s production of Ivanov, starring Gielgud himself and Vivien Leigh. In Britain, she played a 1960s swinger in Alan Ayckbourn’s Relatively Speaking, his seventh play but his first in the West End. Michael Hordern, Celia Johnson, Richard Briers and Hilary received outstanding reviews when it premiered at the Duke of York’s in September 1967.

It was directed by the actor Nigel Patrick, as was her next Broadway venture, Samuel Taylor’s comedy Avanti! at the Booth theatre in 1968. She had top billing in this, but missed out on the subsequent Billy Wilder film version. Occasional feature films included Becket (1964) and The Heroes of Telemark (1965) and, in her largest role, in One Brief Summer (1969).

Her television work often drew on her facility for intuitive responses to fellow actors. The Woman in White (1966) was a BBC classic serial. In a unique casting device, she played both the dispossessed Laura Fairlie and the title character. Pig in a Poke (1969) was a typically acerbic single play from Simon Gray.

In Double First (1988), a low-key sitcom, she starred opposite Michael Williams. Television guest roles included Z Cars (1977), Tales of the Unexpected (1980), Midsomer Murders (1999) and Doctors (2007).

Dennis Potter’s only play written directly for the theatre, Sufficient Carbohydrate, at the Hampstead in 1983, gave her some good scenes as a sardonic wife. Nevertheless, in Leigh-Hunt’s words, “the theatre was not faithful to her”. She therefore introduced Hilary to the director Philip Prowse, who used her three times, beginning with the sharp Mrs Allonby in his RSC production of A Woman of No Importance (1992), at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket.

Again for Prowse, she was the Duchess of Berwick in Lady Windermere’s Fan, at the Albery in 1994, before a central role in a revival of Noël Coward’s Cavalcade at the Glasgow Citizens’ theatre in 1999. Despite fine reviews for her and Prowse, its large cast made a West End transfer impractical.

Hilary was always fond of cats; she adopted her last, from the Celia Hammond Animal Trust, just two weeks before she died. One earlier pet, named Humphrey, accompanied her everywhere during years of touring – together they managed to charm the most hard-bitten of landladies.

She is survived by a younger brother, sister-in-law, two nephews and a niece.

· Jennifer Mary Hilary, actor, born December 14 1942; died August 6 2008

For “The Guardian” obituary on Jennifer Hilary, please click here.

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Ron O’Neal

Ron O'Neal
Ron O’Neal

Ron O’Neal was a very charismatic actor who starred in some successful movies in the 1970’s.   He was born in New York City in 1937.   He achieved fame on the stage and made his film debut in 1971 in “The Organisation”.   He gained stardom with his performance as Youngblood Priest in “Superfly” in 1972.   His other movies include “A Force of One” in 1979, “When A Stranger Calls”  and “The Final Countdown” in 1980.   He died in 2004.

Gary Brumburgh’s entry:

Forever tagged as the super baaaaaaad “Super Fly,” actor Ron O’Neal has spent his entire post 70s career trying to break the chains of a stereotype that made him his fortune. Of tough, humble beginnings, Ron was the son of a wannabe jazz musician who became a factory worker in order to support the family, growing up in Cleveland’s black ghetto. He managed to attend Ohio State University for a single semester before developing an interest in theater and joining Cleveland’s Karamu House, an interracial acting troupe, training there for nine years (1957-1966). He arrived in New York in 1967 and taught acting in Harlem to support himself, jointly appearing in summer stock and off-Broadway shows at the same time. He received critical notice in 1970 in Joseph Papp’s Public Theatre production of “No Place to Be Somebody,” in which he won the Obie, Drama Desk, Clarence Derwent and Theatre World awards for his dynamite performance. The timing couldn’t have been more ‘right on’ for this dude with the tough, streetwise style and attitude to spare — perfect for Hollywood what with the arrival of the “blaxploitation” films that were taking over at the time. Ron became an overnight star as the hip, funky anti-hero in the action-driven flick Super Fly (1972), playing one cool drug dealer who wants out of the business, taking out the entire syndicate one by one (or two by two as need be). He made his debut as a director the following year with the equally violent sequel, Super Fly T.N.T. (1973), which again starred himself. But the genre soon turned to uncool parody and within a couple of years, O’Neal was struggling badly, playing support roles and even less by the end of the decade. Although he managed to co-star in the TV series “Bring ‘Em Back Alive” and “The Equalizer” in the 80s, it’s been an uphill battle all the way for him to obliterate this stubborn image of the supercool Priest with his fu-manchu like beard and dazzling white suit. He has appeared as both hero and villain in a number of action low budgets since, including Mercenary Fighters (1987), Trained to Kill (1988) and Up Against the Wall (1991), which he also directed. In 1996, he joined other former 70s black action stars, including Jim Brown, Fred Williamson, Richard Roundtree and Pam Grier, in a revival of the violent genre entitled Original Gangstas (1996). He passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2004.

– IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Ronald Bergan’s “Guardian” obituary:

Ron O’Neal, who has died of pancreatic cancer aged 66, spent most of his professional life trying to live down his role of the bad-ass Youngblood Priest in Superfly (1972), one of the key blaxploitation movies of the decade. His interpretation of the long-haired, ultra-hip, ultra-violent cocaine dealer, who wore tight white suits and drove a customised Cadillac, made him into an instant star, mainly among the vast urban black movie-going public.

They delighted in seeing their people no longer treated on the screen as servants or saints, or as a “problem”. The blaxploitation movies would eventually lead to such films as Beverly Hills Cop and Lethal Weapon, and O’Neal, with Richard Roundtree (Shaft), Jim Brown (Slaughter), Pam Grier (Foxy Brown), Fred Williamson (Black Caesar) and Richard Pryor (The Mack), became a role model for the likes of Eddie Murphy, Danny Glover, Martin Lawrence and Halle Berry.

When voices were raised against the blaxploitation movies – for giving a stereotypical view of blacks, and glorifying crime – O’Neal protested that the point of the film was missed. He claimed that Youngblood Priest got into his drug-pushing life, not out of choice, but because of his social and economic position, and that he “actually wants out of the business after one last big score.”

In order to address some of the criticism levelled at Superfly, O’Neal directed and starred in the sequel Superfly T.N.T. (1973), transplanting Youngblood Priest from Harlem to a small African country, and getting him to fight for the greater good. It was no surprise, however, that the film was a box-office failure; everything that had made its predecessor so entertaining was jettisoned.

O’Neal’s career never fully recovered, and, after the 1970s, he found it difficult to make the transition from blaxploitation movies into more mainstream films. “Outside New York, people assumed I really was a hustler,” he told an interviewer in 1979. “Superfly took me from relative obscurity, but I haven’t been offered that many roles since.”

O’Neal was born in Utica, in New York state, and grew up in the Cleveland ghetto, the son of a wannabe jazz musician who became a factory worker to support the family. After one academically disastrous term at Ohio State University, the young O’Neal went to see an amateur production of the musical Finian’s Rainbow, in which a bigoted southern senator turns black. “It blew my mind,” he recalled. “I’d never seen a play before.”

He immediately joined Karamu House, an interracial theatre troupe, with whom, for the next six years, he played everything from Walter Lee, in A Raisin In The Sun, to Stanley Kowalski, in A Streetcar Named Desire. He earned money working as a house painter.

After moving to New York in the mid-1960s, he taught acting in Harlem, and performed in summer stock and off Broadway. He first gained recognition in 1970, starring in the Joseph Papp/Public Theatre production of Charles Gordone’s No Place To Be Somebody, as a pimp and barkeeper trying to take control of local rackets. The work earned him a number of awards, and caught the attention of the Superfly producers.

O’Neal’s subsequent film career was undistinguished, made up mainly of appearances in low-budget, violent thrillers, such as A Force Of One (1979).

On television, aside from guest appearances in series like Murder She Wrote and Hill Street Blues, he took leading roles in the mini-series Bring ‘Em Back Alive (1982-83) and The Equalizer (1985-89). In 1996, he joined blaxploitation stars Pam Grier, Fred Williamson, Jim Brown and Richard Roundtree in Larry Cohen’s Original Gangstas, but it was a pale copy of the films that made their reputations. His last movie was On The Edge (2002), in which he appeared with Williamson and the rapper Ice-T.

He is survived by his wife Audrey.

· Ron O’Neal, actor, born September 1 1937; died January 14 2004

The above “Guardian” obituary can be also accessed online here.

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Creighton Hale

Creighton Hale
Creighton Hale

Creighton Hale was born Patrick Fitzgerald in Cork in 1882.   He acheived US fame for his role in “Inian Summer” on Broadway.   In 1914 he made his film debut in the silent “The Exploits of Elaine”.   He starred opposite Lillian Gish in “Way Down East” in 1920 and “Orphans of the Storm” with Lillian and her sister Dorothy.   His career survived the coming of sound and he was featured in films such as “The Maltese Falcon” in 1941 and “Casablanca”.   He died in 1965.

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Akim Tamiroff

Akim Tamiroff & Leonid Kinskey
Akim Tamiroff & Leonid Kinskey

Akim Tamiroff Akim Tamiroff uniFrance Films

 

The great character actor was born in Georgia, Russia in 1899.   He came to the United States in 1923.   His film debut came in 1932 in “Okay, America”.   He developed a solid reputation as a supporting player and was featured in such movies as “The Lives of a Benal Lancer” in 1935, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” in 1943 and “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek” amongst several others.   He died in 1972.   He was married to the actress Tamara Shayne.

TCM overview:

Flamboyant, husky character actor in the US from 1923, who acted with the New York Theatre Guild before entering films. Ubiquitous in Paramount productions of the late 1930s, he usually played eccentric Slavic types, though he had a rare leading role in “The Way of the Flesh” (1940). From the early 1950s Tamiroff appeared in many European productions, with memorably baroque performances in Jean-Luc Godard’s “Alphaville” (1965) and three Orson Welles films. (He also played the title character of Welles’ unfinished “Sancho Panza”.)

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Aideen O’Kelly

Aideen O'Kelly
Aideen O’Kelly

 

Edward Golden and Aideen O

Aideen O’Kelly is a distinguished Irish actress now based in the U.S. who was born in Dalkey, Dublin in 1940.   She began her career in Dublin and in 1960 made her film debut in “Boyd’s Shop”.   Her other movies include “The Webster Boy” and “A War of Children”.   She has featured on American television on such shows as “Law & Order” and “Third Watch”.   She died in 2015.

“The Actor’s Fund” interview:

Actor Aideen O’Kelly Irish charm: Born in a small town about 12 miles outside Dublin, Ireland. Notables: Broadway production of Othello (1982) as Emilia with Christopher Plummer and James Earl Jones; Brian Friel’s Philadelphia Here I Come! (1994); the Nurse in Long Wharf Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet (1981), opposite Mary Beth Hurt’s Juliet and Peter Gallagher as Benvolio. Of her time at Dublin’s Gate Theatre: “I did some great classics with them,” working with founders Hilton Edwards and Micheál Mac Liammóir. “Micheál was a dream, a ladies’ actor. He sat and talked with me at length. We were rehearsing a play by Jean Anouilh in which he starred and Hilton directed. He could sit and talk to me for hours about Anouilh and French writers.”  Titania in A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream at the Gate:   “It was a beautiful production. The Gate was superb. It was very sophisticated at that stage concentrating mainly on new European plays and classics.” (The photo of Aideen at right is from the production.) On meeting Samuel Beckett: “He wanted to read with me—the play was Happy Days. My terror, even at my age, of having to read with Sam… During it, I was staring, because both eyes were staring into my face. With every muscle he was watching my face, no doubt. All of a sudden, right at the back of his eyes I could see something—in these amazing eyes—something was coming at me from the eyes, and there was a twinkle there… I started to giggle, and he said, ‘What are you laughing at?’ And I said, ‘At you, you’re very funny.’ Well, he slapped my knee and roared laughing, and he said, ‘That’s it!’ Apparently hardly anyone gets it—that it is funny. And his manager said, ‘You know, I’ve never known Sam at an interview to laugh like that, he was thrilled.’ And he was apparently thrilled with me, because I understood the play.” Advice for young actors: “There was one of the old, old actors, F.J. McCormick, who died too young, actually, he was one of the great ones, really great. I asked him, ‘F.J., I’ve done a few plays. Give me some advice.” And he just stared at me and he said, ‘Just listen.’ And I said, ‘Yeah…? Well…?’ He started to grin, ‘Yeah, listen.’ He was absolutely right. Because in life, you wouldn’t be able to interact at all with people unless you listen to what they’re saying to you, and on stage it’s the same.” Aideen is part of a very special community of unique individuals who reside at The Actors Fund’s Lillian Booth Actors Home. The Home is the jewel in The Fund’s housing crown and a recipient of U.S. News and World Report’s coveted “Best Nursing Homes in America” award, bestowed on the best 2,700 of the 17,000 facilities nationwide. Our 124 residents represent a diverse cross-selection of the entertainment industry – from stagehands to writers to producers and, of course, dancers and actors, too. Nearly every entertainment union is represented under one roof in Englewood, New Jersey. This interview originally appeared in Marquee, the official newsletter of The Actors Fund. Join The Fund today! Not only will you receive your own copy of Marquee twice yearly, plus all the benefits of membership, you’ll also play an important role in helping everyone in our creative community in times of need, crisis or transition and continue The Actors Fund tradition of caring for our own in entertainment.  Top photo: Joann Coates   – See more at: http://www.actorsfund.org/about/publications/blog/MeetArtistsAideenOKelly#sthash.zBdZwezi.dpuf

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Alec McCowen

Alec McCowan
Sir Alec McCowan

Alec McCowen was born in 1925 in Tunbridge Wells, Kent.   Although his career was mainly on the stage, he has made some significant films including “Time Without Pity” in 1957, “A Night to Remember”, “In the Cool of the Day” and in 1972, “Travels With My Aunt” with Maggie Smith.

IMDB entry:

Alec McCowen, the English actor, was born on May 26, 1925 in Tunbridge Wells, England. After studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, he made his professional debut in 1942. He established his reputation in classical stage roles, appearing in the ensemble of Laurence Olivier‘s famed duo-production of William Shakespeare‘s “Anthony & Cleopatra” and George Bernard Shaw‘s “Caesar & Cleopatra” at the 1951 Festival of Britain. McCowen transferred with the productions to New York that same year, making his Broadway debut.

McCowen made his film movie debut in The Cruel Sea (1953) (1953) and, but for his turn as “Police Inspector Oxford” in Alfred Hitchcock‘s Frenzy (1972) (1972), his reputation is rooted in his stage work. “Frenzy” led to his one lead role in a major motion picture, that of “Henry Pulling” in George Cukor‘s adaptation of ‘Graham Greene’s Travels with My Aunt(1972) (1972). Though the film won an Oscar for Costume Design and a Best Actress nod for co-star Maggie Smith (among its total of four nominations), the movie did not advance McCowen’s career. Over a decade later, he played the title role in the Thames Television series Mr. Palfrey of Westminster (1984), which ran for two season on British TV from 1984 to 1985. His last cinema appearance was in a small role in Gangs of New York (2002) for director Martin Scorsese; he had earlier appeared in Scorsese’s The Age of Innocence (1993).

Though his services were in demand in movies and on TV, McCowen remained wedded to the stage; he regards the character of “Astrov” in Anton Chekhov‘s “Uncle Vanya” as his favorite role. From 1967 through 1992, McCowen appeared nine times on Broadway, for which he garnered two Drama Desk Awards (out of 4 nominations) and three Tony Award nominations. One of his Tony Award nominations was for his magisterial solo performance in “St. Mark’s Gospel”, which debuted on Broadway in 1978 and had a return engagement on the Great White Way in 1981.

– IMDb Mini Biography By: Jon C. Hopwood

The above IMDB entry can also be accessed online here.

For article on Alec McCowen, please click here.

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Richard Morant

Richard Morant
Richard Morant

Richard Morant was born in1945 in Surrey.   He is best known for his terrific performance  of the scoundral Flashman in the 1971 TV series “Tom Brown’s School Days”.   Among his other credits are the movies “Mahler” in 1974 and “Scandal” in 1989.   Sadly Richard Morant passed away in 2011.

Anthony Hayward’s “Guardian” obituary:

The dark good looks of the actor Richard Morant, who has died of an aneurism aged 66, were familiar to television viewers over several decades. For a while, he was cast in young romantic lead roles before settling down as a character actor.   He found plenty of drama as the dashing doctor Dwight Enys, who commits himself to tending to the poor in the 1970s BBC’s serialisation of Winston Graham’s Poldark novels.   While Ross Poldark (Robin Ellis) is marrying his servant, Demelza (Angharad Rees), after losing his fiancee to his cousin, the doctor is himself setting pulses racing amid the wilds of 18th-century Cornwall. Although Morant handed over the role to Michael Cadman after just one series (1975-76), his was a memorable portrayal of a character who has an affair with a married actress – resulting in her husband murdering her – and falls for an heiress.   In a retrospective programme, The Cult of Poldark, in 2008, Morant offered his explanation for the drama’s continuing popularity. “It’s about love, betrayal – the things that hurt us, that give us joy. It evokes strong attachments, strong passion.”

Alongside his acting work, Morant showed a head for business when, in the 1970s, he opened a shop in Holland Park, west London, selling Indian fashions and jewellery. He then became a partner in a carpet and rug business, which he eventually took over in 2005, trading under his own name from nearby Notting Hill.

Morant was born in Shipston-on-Stour, Warwickshire, into a family of actors. His father, Philip, played John Tregorran in the radio soap The Archers and performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company. His uncle was Bill Travers and his cousin Penelope Wilton. He attended Hill Place school, Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire, and – after the family’s move to London in 1959 – William Penn school, Dulwich. Like his sisters, Angela and Jane, he trained at Central School of Speech and Drama (1964-66), where he met Melissa Fairbanks, daughter of Douglas Fairbanks Jr.

By the time they married in 1969, Morant was touring with the Prospect Theatre Company. He played the Earl of Salisbury in Richard II on a national tour in 1968 and then combined that with the role of the Earl of Leicester in Edward II on another tour (1969-70) that included runs at the Mermaid theatre (1969) and the Piccadilly theatre (1970). The BBC recorded both productions.   Morant then had his breakthrough on the small screen, playing Flashman in a 1971 adaptation of Tom Brown’s Schooldays. He remained busy on television, with notable roles as the future Charles II in Sir Walter Scott’s English civil war drama Woodstock (1973); Conrade of Montserrat in the same author’s Richard the Lionheart saga The Talisman (1981); Robespierre in The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982); Jamieson, the boyfriend of Stephanie Beacham’s title character, in the fashion-world drama Connie (1985); Captain Oates in The Last Place on Earth (1985) and the Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, in John and Yoko: A Love Story (1985). His last acting role on television was in the unsolved-crimes drama New Tricks in 2010.

Morant’s first marriage ended in divorce. He is survived by his second wife, the actor Valerie Buchanan, whom he married in 1982, and the two children from each of his marriages, Joseph and Crystal, and Jake and Tama.

• Richard Lindon Harvey Morant, actor, born 30 October 1945; died 9 November 2011

The above “Guardian” obituary can also be accessed online here

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Patty Peterson

Patty Peterson
Patty Peterson

Patty Peterson was the younger sister of Paul Peterson and also acted with him in “The Donna Reed Show” from 1963 until 1966.

“Wikipedia” entry:

Petersen was born in Glendale, California, the youngest of three children. When her parents divorced in 1962, she and older brother Paul Petersen moved in with their mother, who later remarried. Paul Petersen costarred on ABC‘s The Donna Reed Show. Patty was written into the cast as Trisha, an adopted child after Shelley Fabares left the series. She stayed with the show until it ended in 1966.

After many commercials and industrial films, she semi-retired to marry and rear a family of her own. She was a country songwriter/singer for a while. Now known as Patti Petersen Mirkovich, she is a writer and founder of Internovel, an Internet company for novice authors. She is also a teacher of English and computer science at a Roman Catholic school and a volunteer coach for the girls’ softballteam. She has two children, Tim and Melissa.

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Michael Mac Liammoir

Michael MacLiammoir.
Michael MacLiammoir.
Michael MacLiammoir
Michael MacLiammoir

Michael Mac Liammoir was born in London in 1899.   In the 1920’s he came to Ireland and with Hilton Edwards established the now famed Gate Theatre in Dublin.   Actors to work at the Gate include Orson Welles, James Mason and Geraldine Fitzgerald.   Primarily a stage actor he had made the occasional film including John Huston’s “The Kremlin Letter” in 1970 and “What’s the Matter with Helen” with Debbie Reynolds and Shelley Winters which he made in Hollywood.   He died in 1978.

“Wikipedia” entry:

As Alfred Willmore, he was one of the leading child actors on the English stage, in the company of Noël Coward. He studied painting at London’s Slade School of Art, continuing to paint throughout his lifetime. In the 1920s he travelled all over Europe. Willmore was captivated by Irish culture: he learnt Irish which he spoke and wrote fluently and he changed his name to an Irish version, presenting himself in Ireland as a descendant of Irish Catholics from Cork.[1] Later in his life, he wrote three autobiographies in Irish and translated them into English.[2]

While acting in Ireland with the touring company of his brother-in-law Anew MacMaster, Mac Liammóir met his partner and lover, Hilton Edwards. Their first meeting took place in the Athenaeum, EnniscorthyCounty Wexford, which is currently in a state of disrepair. Deciding to remain in Dublin, where they lived at Harcourt Terrace, the pair assisted with the inaugural production of Galway‘s Irish language theatre, An Taibhdhearc; the play was Mac Liammóir’s version of the mythical story Diarmuid agus Gráinne. Mac Liammóir and Edwards then threw themselves into their own venture, co-founding the Gate Theatre in Dublin in 1928. The Gate became a showcase for modern plays and design (even as Mac Liammóir himself maintained an ongoing fascination with Celticism). Mac Liammóir’s set and costume designs were key elements of the Gate’s success. His many notable acting roles included Robert Emmet/The Speaker in Denis Johnston’s The Old Lady Says “No!” and the title role in Hamlet.

In 1948, he appeared in the NBC television production of Great Catherine with Gertrude Lawrence. In 1951, during a break in the making of Othello, Mac Liammóir produced Orson Welles‘s ghost-story Return to Glennascaulwhich was directed by Hilton Edwards. He played Iago in Welles’s film version of Othello (1952). His Iago is unusual in that Mac Liammóir was about fifty (and looked older) when he played the role, while the play gives Iago’s age as 28. This may have been because of Welles’ intended interpretation – he wanted Iago played as an older “impotent” consumed by envy for the younger Othello.[3] The following year, he went on to play ‘Poor Tom’ in another Welles project, the TV film of King Lear (1953) for CBS.

Mac Liammóir wrote and performed a one-man show, The Importance of Being Oscar, based on the life and work of Oscar Wilde. The Telefís Éireann production won him a Jacob’s Award in December 1964. It was later filmed by the BBC with Mac Liammóir reprising the role.

He narrated the 1963 film Tom Jones and was the Irish storyteller in 30 Is a Dangerous Age, Cynthia (1968) which starred Dudley Moore.

In 1969 he had a supporting role in John Huston‘s The Kremlin Letter. In 1970 Mac Liammóir performed the role of narrator on the cult album Peace on Earth by the Northern Irish showbandthe Freshmen and in 1971 he played an elocution teacher in Curtis Harrington‘s What’s the Matter with Helen?.

Mac Liammóir claimed when talking to Irish playwright, Mary Manning, to have had a homosexual relationship with General Eoin O’Duffy, former Garda Síochána Commissioner and head of the quasi-fascist Blueshirts in Ireland, during the 1930s. The claim was revealed publicly by RTÉ in a documentary, The Odd Couple, broadcast in 1999. However, Mac Liammóir’s claims have not been substantiated.

Mac Liammóir is the subject of the 1990 play The Importance of Being Micheál (also published as a book) by John Keyes.

The above “Wikipedia” entry can also be accessed online here.

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Craig Gazey

Craig Gazey
Craig Gazey

Craig Gazey was born in 1982 in Manchester.   He is best known for his portryal of window-cleaner Graeme Proctor in “Coronation Street”.   He left the series in 2011 to concentrate on the theatre.

Interview in “RTE10”:

RTÉ Ten chats to the former Coronation Street star about the stage version ofThe Full Monty, which runs at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre from April 8 – 13.

In 1997, a BAFTA award winning film about six out of work Sheffield steelworkers with nothing to lose, took the world by storm. And now they’re back, live on stage.

The film’s writer, Simon Beaufoy, has since won an Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire, has now gone back to where it all started to rediscover the men, the women, the heartache and the hilarity of a city on the dole.

Featuring songs from the film by Donna Summer, Hot Chocolate and Tom Jones, The Full Monty is brought to the stage by award winning director Daniel Evans and stars Sidney Cole, Kenny Doughty, Craig Gazey, Roger Morlidge, Kieran O’Brien, and Simon Rouse.

RTÉ Ten caught up with actor Craig Gazey, who plays Lumper, and you might also remember from Coronation Street on which he played the loveable Graham Proctor.

RTÉ Ten: How similar to the movie is The Full Monty the play?
Craig: There are lots of moments that are like the film, but I think it is different in a certain way as I would say it is a bit more political, than the film was. We meet the characters but we are obviously different actors to the original ones so we do it in our way! I haven’t seen the film for about 10 years and I did love it when I saw it, but I thought it was really important not to see it when I was auditioning and when I got the script, because there are a lot of things different with my character.

Steve Huison played the part of Lumper in the movie, who you are now playing, and you worked with him on Coronation Street – did you ask him for any advice?
No I didn’t. I remember he was great in it, but in the film he has a beautiful dead-pan way. He doesn’t really say anything and you can do that, but on a stage when there are hundreds of people watching you, you can’t really get away with that. I just saw it as a new entity really.

Tell us a bit about your Lumper then?
Well, we meet Lumper in the factory, which is different to the film and he attempts suicide, and gets saved by the Dave and Gaz. He then has these new friends, which is all he really wanted. Simon [Beaufoy] has really developed Lumper since I got the part, he has written it so that he becomes empowered by his new friendships and being part of a group which he never had. He has always been a bit of a loner. His life just gets better and better.

Did you get a chance to work directly with Simon Beaufoy on the script?
Yes, he was an integral part of the rehearsal process and we were doing rewrites through the previews as well. He is the most lovely, humble guy and this is his first play. I couldn’t believe how excited he was to work with theatre actors. He told us it is one of the most difficult things he has done. What has been great is that none of the reviews has belittle it. Yes it is about fun, and yes we do strip, but like the film, it is about these guys that have lost their way and for 5 minutes of their lives become empowered and I think that comes across in the play. We certainly feel it and the audience seem to.

Director Daniel Evans said that in rehearsal some of the cast where more up for the stripping than others – which side of that fence did you sit on?
Well this is the fourth play that I have had to strip in so I was completely fine with it! When we started we had one week of just the six of us with our choreographer and on the second day of that week we had what now can only be described as naked Tuesday, we walked from one side of the room to the other with our clothes off. It was just great because we weren’t giggly about it, everyone was so supportive. All the other people in the show, they all sit at the side of the wings and it’s just a thing that we don’t really talk about, it just happens!

Are you looking forward to your Dublin dates?
Yes very much so – I’ve been to Dublin a couple of times and I love it. I run for Leukaemia Lymphoma Research and we came over and did a 10k run with Sonia O’Sullivan. But I have never been there for long enough, so hoping to get out and about this time.

The poster for the show says ‘Prior to the West End’ – are you hoping to be part of the cast if it makes it there?
Well, we don’t like to jinx it. Hopefully we will get there – but we don’t really talk about it. We are doing our job by performing so we will just have to wait and see what happens with that.

We haven’t seen you on the telly since you left Corrie, what have you been up to?
Yeah, I haven’t done any TV work, not for any particular reason except that the projects I wanted to do happened to be in the theatre. I would like to go back to it at some stage, not necessarily Coronation Street, maybe that could be something down the road.

What about Hollywood – do you have dreams of the big screen?
I’d love to do some films, especially here in England, but our industry isn’t thriving at the minute. I’ve been trying my hand at writing and I have a short film I want to make in the summer so I will see how I get with that.

The above “RTE Ten” interview can also be accessed online here.