Barry Fitzgerald

Life
1888-1961 [stage-name of William Joseph Shields]; b. Dublin, br. of Boss Shields; ed. Merchant Taylor’s School; joined Civil Service in 1911; first acted with Kincora Players; acted part-time in the Abbey, 1918-29 and afterwards as part of Abbey Company; created parts of Captain Boyle in Juno and the Paycock; played Fluther in Plough and the Stars, Paul in Paul Twining, St. Leger in The Big House, &c.; played Englishman in Denis Johnston’s film of Guests of the Nation (1934); voted best character actor (as Fluther) by George Jean Nathan and other critics in NY, 1934; settled in USA 1936, and remained in Hollywood for 20 years; played Fr. Fitzgibbon in Going My Way; also appeared in The Quiet Man, dir. John Ford; spent his summers in Dublin, sailing; returned to Ireland, 1959; d. 4 Jan. BREF DIB

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References
Brian Cleeve & Anne Brady, A Dictionary of Irish Writers (Dublin: Lilliput 1985), gives bio-data as supra; with var., played Abbey as amateur 1916[sic]-1929, and fulltime thereafter.

See also Ruth Barton, Acting Irish in Hollywood: From Fitzgerald to Farrell (Blackrock: IAP 2006)..

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Notes
Portrait in Brian de Breffny, Ireland: A Cultural Encyclopaedia (London: Thames & Hudson) Plate VII, Fitzgerald as the King in Lady Gregory’s The Golden Apple, oil on canvas, Dermod O’Brien. [Orig. in Abbey Foyer], signed 1922. Also Seán O’Sullivan, drawing in black carbon pencil with white chalk on grey paper, signed 1946 [NGI]. Also Fitzgerald as Christie Dudgeon in The Devil’s Disciple [Abbey Theatre].

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