Noel Purcell (Wikipedia)
Noel Purcell was a very popular and well-loved Irish actor who had a very prolific film career over many years. He was born in Dublin in 1900. He acted on the boards of Irish theatre and made his film debut in “Blarney” in 1926. His films included “The Blue Lagoon” in 1949, “Encore” in 1951, “The Seekers”, “Moby Dick”, “Lust for Life”, “Doctor at Large”, “Shake Hands with the Devil”, “Lord Jim” and “Flight of the Doves”. He died in Dublin in 1985.
Noel Purcell was the son of auctioneer Pierce Purcell and his second wife Catherine, née Hoban, of 4 Ashbrook Terrace, South Circular Road, Dublin. He was born on 23 December 1900 and baptised six days later at Harrington Street Church. Within a few months, the Purcell family had moved to 12 Mercer St. Lower. In 1911, the Purcells were living at the same address, but the household was headed by Noel’s maternal grandmother, Julia Hoban, a furniture dealer.
Purcell began his show business career at the age of 12 in Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre. Later, he toured Ireland in a vaudeville act with Jimmy O’Dea.
Stage-trained in the classics in Dublin, Purcell moved into films in 1934. He appeared in Captain Boycott (1947) and as the elderly sailor whose death marooned the lovers-to-be in the firstsound film version of The Blue Lagoon (1949). Purcell played a member of Captain Ahab‘s crew in Moby Dick (1956), Dan O’Flaherty in episode one, The Majesty of the Law, of The Rising Of The Moon (1957), a gameskeeper in The List of Adrian Messenger (1963), and a barman in The Mackintosh Man (1973), these two films directed by John Huston.
In 1955, he was an off-and-on regular on the British filmed TV series The Buccaneers (released to American TV in 1956), and Purcell narrated a Hibernian documentary, Seven Wonders of Ireland (1959). In 1962, he portrayed the lusty William McCoy in Lewis Milestone’s Mutiny on the Bounty. He played a taciturn Irish in-law to Lebanese American entertainer Danny Thomas‘ character Danny Williams in a 1963 episode of The Danny Thomas Show. In 1971, he played the caring rabbi in the children’s musical drama Flight of the Doves.
He was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1958 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at the BBC Television Theatre.
Purcell also gained some recognition as a singer. Shortly after World War II, songwriter Leo Maguire composed “The Dublin Saunter” for him. He performed the song live for many years and later recorded it for the Glenside label. However, the recording was not a hit. As Purcell recalled many years later, “I don’t think one person in the world bought it.” In 1981, he recorded a spoken word version of Pete St. John‘s “Dublin in the Rare Old Times“.
In June 1984, Purcell was given the Freedom of the City of Dublin. Nine months later, he died in his native city at the age of 84.
The above “Wikipedia” entry can also be accessed online here.
Noel Purcell was an actor who had a successful Hollywood career. In his early acting career, Purcell appeared in such films as the Stewart Granger historical drama “Captain Boycott” (1947), “Saints and Sinners” (1949) and the romance “The Blue Lagoon” (1949) with Jean Simmons. He also appeared in the adventure “The Crimson Pirate” (1952) with Burt Lancaster and “Grand National Night” (1953). His film career continued throughout the fifties in productions like “Svengali” (1955) with Donald Wolfit, the Gregory Peck dramatic adventure “Moby Dick” (1956) and “Lust For Life” (1956).
Film continued to be his passion as he played roles in the dramatic period piece “Mutiny on the Bounty” (1962) with Marlon Brando, “The List of Adrian Messenger” (1963) with George C Scott and the Laurence Harvey crime drama “The Running Man” (1963). He also appeared in the Laurence Harvey dramatic adaptation “The Ceremony” (1963) and the Peter O’Toole dramatic adaptation “Lord Jim” (1965). Purcell last acted on “The Irish R.M. Part II” (PBS, 1985-86). Purcell was married to Eileen Marmion. Purcell passed away in March 1985 at the age of 85.
The above TCM Overview can also be accessed online here.