1930-2002; Irish-born international film-actor; son of flour mill owner, Limerick; played as Munster rugby forward; struck with TB at 19; read in hospital (‘TB was the luckiest thing that ever happened to me); went to London with £21 in his pocket in 1951; studied at London Acad. of Music and Dram. Art; dir. Clifford Odets Winter Journey; worked in Joan Littlewoods Theatre Workship, appearing in Behans The Quare Fella, 1956; m. Elizabeth Rees-Williams, dg. David Rees-Williams (Lord Ogmore); three sons, and divorce; played blind Irishman in The Iron Harp (TV 1959); first film, Alive and Kicking (1958); moved to Hollywood; acquired vivid hell-raising reputation; twice bankrupt but underwent acting resurrection in 1980s; successfully played King Arthur in Camelot (1967); played John Morgan, the title-character, in A Man Called Horse (1970); also had starring roles in in Guns of Navarone (1961) and Mutiny on the Bounty (1962), the former with Richard Burton, et al., and the later with Trevor Howard and Marlon Brando; starred in This Sporting Life (1963), as Frank Michin, a coal-miner; played in The Heroes of Telemark (1965); took lead in Sam Peckinpahs Major Dundee (1965); played Cain in The Bible (1966); lead in The Molly Maguires (1970), with Sean Connery; took title-role in Cromwell (1970); played the Bull MacCabe, lead-char., in Jim Sheridans The Field (1990), taking up the part at the sudden death of Ray McAnally; appeared in Clint Eastwoods Unforgiven; also as Marcus Aurelius in Gladiator, with Russell Crowe; featured as Albus Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter films; had recording successes with A Tramp Shining (1968) and The Yard Went on Forever (1969), which incls. his own song There are Too Many Saviours on my Cross, on the Northern Ireland crisis; ordered two bottles of Château Margaut 1947 at $325 a bottle in Jockeys Club, Washington, on learning that he had 18 months to live unless he stopped drinking; d. Univ. Hospital, London; d. 25 Oct. 2002 ; aetat. 72; Hodgkins Disease; survived by sons Damien, Jared, Jamie; a Knight of Malta; also honoured with a hon. title in Demark; commemorated by a bar, a statue and - in prospect - a museum in Limerick.
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Obituary, The Irish Times (Sat., 26 Oct. 2002). See film roles [infra]
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