Agnes Bernelle

Life
1923-1999; b. Berlin [fam. “Aggie”; née Bernauer]; dg. of a Jewish impresario associated with Kurt Weil, from whom she inherited the Weil musical rights; moved with family to London, 1936; broadcast into Germany from Blenchley as “Vicky”; m. Desmond Leslie, then an RAF-pilot, later moving to Glaslough with him, 1969; with him a son, Mark; separated from Leslie; settled with Maurice James Craig, architectural historian, living at Strand Rd., Dublin; launched a one-woman cabaret based on Weil and Brecht at Peter Cook’s Establishment, Soho; performed at Project Arts Theatre and participated in Dublin's cultural revival of the 1970s and 1980s; issued an autobiography as The Fun Palace: An Autobiography (1995) [var. 1996], recounting her experiences up to her arrival in Ireland; suffered from brain tumour and courageously recovered; made moving autobiographical ;programme for RT, broadcast in 1998, with songs; died. Feb. 1999; bur. Glasnevin Cemetary, 19 Feb. 1999.

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Works
The Fun Palace (Lilliput 1995), 256pp. 16 ill., with summary details incl., cabaret in Barcelona; summer in Cannes, ‘received affections of Claus von Bulow and King Farouk, inter al.; shocked some by appearing as a non-stationary nude Salomé in the London production, 1956; one-woman cabaret based on Weil and Brecht at Peter Cook’s Establishment, Soho; three-week run in West End; moved to Glaslough, Ireland [Lilliput Catalogue, 1995]. Reviewed in Books Ireland (March 1997).

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Notes
When is a person not a person?’ [headline]: Agnes Birnelle appears as bedridden woman in 15-min. Still Life, written and directed by Michael Hewitt at Cork Film, Festival (see Irish Times, 7 Nov. 1998).

Auf Wiedersehen: burial at Glasnevin, Dublin 14 preceeded by a service at Star of the Sea Church, Sandymount which “looked like a theatre programme”, acc. Irish Times report (20 Feb. 1999). In the course if the service Mary Coughlan sang “Isla”, Anne Bushnell sang Edith Piaf's “Je Ne Regrette Rien”, and Gavin Friday sang verses from Mack the Knife while David Norris and Andrew Carpenter read “Lament for Imogen” from Cymbeline. Also present were Bertie Ahern (Taoiseach), Ruardri Quinn, leading of the Labour Party, and Ben Briscoe (former Mayor of Dublin).

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