PHOTOS - The 2014 Power 50 from IrishCentral
Who are the 50 most powerful Irish in America? IrishCentral decided to make our list of the best and the brightest, and while we know it will cause controversy, it will surely also enlighten.
We have identified a super group of people who collectively make us all so proud of our roots. Our criteria was not just fame but influence in their respective fields - from politics to religion, entertainment to science, and beyond.
1. Joe Biden
He is a heartbeat from the most powerful job on earth. Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. was born on November 20, 1942 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, an Irish redoubt. He has been vice president of the United States since 2008.
Aged just 29, he became one of the youngest people ever elected to the United States Senate.
Tragedy struck just one week later, as Biden’s first wife, Neilia, and their daughter, Naomi, died tragically in a car accident. The vice president remarried in 1977, to Jill Jacobs. He has three children Beau, Hunter, and Ashley.
Biden is immensely proud of his Irish roots and plans a trip there in 2014. He was inaugurated into the Irish America Hall of Fame in 2013. His secret service name is “Celtic.”
2. Anthony Kennedy
Born in Sacramento, California in 1936, Kennedy graduated from Harvard University and joined the U.S court of Appeals in the 1970s. In 1988, Kennedy was appointed as a Supreme Court Justice by Ronald Reagan. While he is known for his conservative views, Kennedy has become the key swing vote in the court, making many controversial decisions.
He married Mary Davis in 1963, and together they have three children. Kennedy has been a surprising and unpredictable Justice of the Supreme Court, displaying independence, though it has been said that “his episodic departure from conservative jurisprudence reflected a civil-libertarian perspective on certain individual rights.”
Justice Kennedy is also engaged in remarkable educational projects, most notably “Dialogue on Freedom,” which explores American Values and civic traditions.
3. Congressman Paul Ryan
Born and raised in the community of Janesville, Wisconsin, Paul Ryan is a fifth-generation Wisconsin native. He ran as vice presidential candidate on the Romney presidential ticket in 2012 and is a front runner for the GOP nomination in 2016. He is the powerful chairman of the House Budget Committee
His father was of Irish ancestry, and Ryan has often talked about the Famine roots of his family, which he has traced back to Kilkenny.
Ryan is a graduate of Joseph A. Craig High School in Janesville and earned a degree in economics and political science from Miami University in Ohio. Paul and his wife, Janna, live in Janesville with their children: daughter Liza and sons Charlie and Sam. The youngest of four children, Paul is the son of Paul Sr. (deceased) and Betty Ryan. He is a member of St. John Vianney’s Parish.
4. Anne Sweeney
Forbes magazine named her as one of the most powerful business women in America, and she makes everyone’s list as one of the most powerful figures in the US entertainment industry.
As co-chair of Disney media networks, and president at Disney/ABC group, Anne oversees a sprawling portfolio which includes over 107 channels that reach an audience of over 431 million viewers in 166 countries. She traces her roots to Meath, Kerry and Mayo and is a frequent visitor there.
In 2005, Anne led Disney and the ABC television group into the digital era. Under her guidance, the group continues to combine high quality content and delivers compelling news to millions of people across the world. Sweeney earned her BA from the college of New Rochelle and a master’s degree at Harvard University.
Anne was inducted into the Cable Center’s Hall of Fame in 2007 and recognized by Irish America magazine’s Business 100. She has been honoured repeatedly by Women in Cable & Telecommunications -- as Executive of the Year in 1994, and, most notably, woman of the year 1997.
5. Maureen Dowd
”Her Pulitzer Prize came for her columns on the impeachment trials of President Bill Clinton after his affair with Monica Lewinsky.”An acclaimed columnist with The New York Times and also winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary, Dowd is the most influential columnist in America. She became a New York Times Op-Ed columnist in 1995 after serving as a correspondent in the paper’s Washington bureau since 1986. Her father. Michael, was a native of Clare, while her mother, Peggy, has Mayo roots..
Donald Keough was the first honoree to be inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame. He embodies the possibility of America, its dynamism, and optimism. His Irish roots stem from his great-grandfather Michael Keough, who left County Wexford in the 1840s, arrived in America and settled in Iowa.
He was appointed as head of all the Americas for Coca-Cola in 1976, and in 1981 he was appointed president, chief operating officer and director. He enjoyed running the iconic company, as he told Niall O’Dowd: “I had passion for what I was doing. I always believed that you have to have people at the top who are passionate about their company, and that that is communicated down through the ranks.” When Keough was granted Irish citizenship in 2007, the President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, presented him with a vellum inscription, which included a phrase from the Book of Sirach, chosen by Don’s good friend Fr. Timothy Scully CSC.
When he retired as president and COO of Coca-Cola in 1993 (he would retain a seat on the board of directors), Don turned his focus to Notre Dame and, with an endowment of $2.5 million, established the Keough Institute of Irish Studies, and the Keough Notre Dame Centre in Dublin, Ireland, now the Keough Naughton institute. He recently donated $30 million for a new center for International Studies at Notre Dame and was behind the massively successful Notre Dame /Navy game in Dublin in 2012.
8. Bill Clinton
Former U.S President Bill Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe III in 1946 in Hope, Arkansas. His Irish roots trace through his father to Kerry and Cork. He was elected President of the United States in 1992 and served two terms, the first Democrat since Roosevelt to do so. He now runs the Clinton Global Initiative, with his wife, former New York senator and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and their daughter, Chelsea Clinton.
He played a huge role in the Irish peace process, giving a visa to Gerry Adams in 1994 and helping bring about the IRA ceasefire. He visited Northern Ireland on an historic trip in December 1995 and played a key part in cementing the peace process there. The Clintons remain a frequent visitors and dedicated supporters.
9. William Clay "Bill" Ford, Jr.
Bill Ford, Jr. was born on May 3, 1957. He is an American businessman credited with the turnaround of his historic family firm, once on the verge of bankruptcy. He is also widely lauded for his innovative environmental practices.
The great-grandson of Henry Ford, he serves as the executive chairman of Ford Motor Company. Ford also served as the president, CEO, and COO until turning over those roles to former Boeing executive Alan Mulally in September 2006.. Ford is also the vice chairman of the Detroit Lions NFL franchise.
Upon being inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame, he told Irish America magazine “I’ve always been proud of my Irish heritage, and so this last summer I took my family back to Ireland. I particularly wanted my kids to be able to understand their Irish heritage. We went all over the country, including a stop in Ballinascarthy which is where the family farm still is. My great-great-grandfather, William Ford, came over [to the U.S.] on a famine ship in 1847, and settled on a farm in Dearborn, Mich. and that’s where in 1863, my great-grandfather Henry Ford was born.”
10. Cardinal Dolan
Timothy Michael Dolan, Archbishop of New York, was born on 6 February 1950 in Saint Louis, Missouri. He remains a key figure in the American Catholic hierarchy.
On June 19, 2001 – the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood – then Fr. Dolan was named the Auxiliary Bishop of St. Louis by Pope John Paul II. The new Bishop Dolan chose for his Episcopal motto the profession of faith of St. Peter, “Ad Quem Ibimus,” "Lord To Whom Shall We Go?"
Cardinal Dolan was named Archbishop of New York by Pope Benedict XVI on February 23, 2009. He was installed as Archbishop of New York on April 15, 2009. He was the driving force behind the creation of a new convent in Drogheda, Co. Louth, complete with four American nuns.
PHOTOS - The 2014 Power 50 from IrishCentral
11. Tom Brady
Tom Brady is a legendary NFL Quarterback who was born to Irish Catholic parents with Cavan roots in California in 1977. Growing up in San Mateo, California, Brady had a background in baseball and football before being drafted in the sixth round to play with the New England Patriots in 2000. Working under Coach Bill Belichick, he led the team to three Super bowl championships.
He was voted league MVP twice and recognized as sportsman of the year by Sports Illustrated.
In 2009 he married model Gisele Búndchen.
With his many career accomplishments, Brady has been compared to such legendary quarterbacks as Joe Namath and Joe Montana.
In addition to being a football champion, he is also a popular celebrity. He was chosen as one of People Magazine’s most beautiful people in 2002. The future Hall of Famer has three children, two with wife Gisele Bundchen and one with former girlfriend Bridget Moynahan.
12. Chuck Feeney
Chuck Feeney is an Irish American philanthropist and entrepreneur. He is the founder of Atlantic Philanthropies, one of the largest humanitarian organizations and he has given away about $6 billion.
Born in New Jersey in 1931 during the great depression, he was the first member of his family to go to college.
Feeney comes from a modest background, born to blue collar Irish American parents who worked hard to build a family in New Jersey. His Irish heritage is traced to County Fermanagh in Northern Ireland.
He played a leading role in the American intervention in the Irish peace process and has donated $1.5 billion to Irish educational institutions
Feeney is most commonly known for founding a duty-free business selling cigarettes, alcohol and luxury items to tourists. It became the world’s largest luxury good retailers. In 1982, he established The Atlantic Foundation, the first and by far the largest of The Atlantic Philanthropies. His philosophy of “giving while living” has inspired Bill Gates and Warren Buffet to follow suit.
13. Stephen Colbert
Stephen Colbert was born on May 13, 1964, in Washington, DC. He grew up in Charlestown, South Carolina, the youngest of 11 children. In 1974, when he was 10-year-old, he experienced what was likely the defining event of his childhood when his father and two of his brothers were killed in a plane crash. He grew introverted, finding solace in reading.
After joining Chicago’s Second City comedy troupe, he met fellow comedians Amy Sedaris and Paul Dinello, and together they starred in both EXIT 57 and Strangers with Candy. In 2005, The Colbert Report began airing on Comedy Central, featuring Colbert as a starchy, blustery, right-wing host - a parody of the pundits who dominate the talk show airwaves.
He published I Am America (And So Can You!) in 2007. He also contributed to America (The Book) A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy in Action.
Colbert’s great-great grandfather was a native of St. Mary’s parish in Limerick City.“(They) got in touch with me and asked me to track down a Michael Gearon or Guerin in Limerick. I got on to Father Donough O'Malley and we were able to find him on the parish register," local researcher Tony Browne told the Limerick Leader newspaper.
14. Jack Dorsey
Jack Dorsey is an American entrepreneur and businessman famed for development of Twitter, and the creator and chief executive officer of Square. In 2012, he bagged the ‘Innovator of the Year Award’ by the Wall Street Journal.
Dorsey was born on November 19, 1976 in Fairmont City, Illinois. He attended the Catholic High School at Bishop DuBourg High School and enrolled in the Missouri University of Science and Technology but later transferred to New York University, where he first got the idea of Twitter. At the young age of 15, he wrote dispatch software which is still used by many cab companies. The ‘King of Tweets,’ as he is popularly known, initiated a company that dispatched taxis, couriers and emergency services from the internet in 2000.
Jack was the first person to post a tweet on Twitter. It simply said, “just setting up my twttr.” Dorsey was later selected the chief executive officer of the company. As of March 2013, his net worth is $1.1 billion. He has often discussed his Irish family roots and is a frequent visitor to Ireland.
15. Liam Neeson
Liam Neeson was born on June 7, 1952 in Ballymena, Northern Ireland. Before he found fame, he worked as a forklift operator for Guinness, a truck driver, assistant architect and an amateur boxer. He had originally sought a career as a teacher by attending St. Mary's Teaching College in Newcastle, County Down. However, in 1976, Neeson joined the Belfast Lyric Players' Theater and made his professional acting debut in the play The Risen People.
He moved to Hollywood to pursue larger roles and now is a critically acclaimed actor. Also in 1993, he made his Broadway debut with a Tony-nominated performance in Anna Christie, in which he co-starred with his future wife Natasha Richardson. Tragically, Natasha died in 2009 following a skiing accident.
Liam graduated from the Gaiety School of Drama in Dublin, Ireland. and is a member of the Dublin Shakespeare Theatre Festival, where his past credits include Hamlet, Richard II and All's Well That Ends Well. The actor loves Ireland and says “I grew up in Northern Ireland, of course. Lived all through the Troubles; saw violence, the results of violence, at first hand. It's always terrified me and fascinated me.”
16. Denis McDonough
"Denis McDonough, who was named as the White House chief of staff in 2013, is the gatekeeper to President Obama"
Craig R. Barrett is an American business executive who served as the chairman of the Intel Corporation until May 2009 and introduced the company to Ireland, where they are the largest employer. He has kept his connection to Ireland through chairing the Irish Technology Leadership group in Silicon Valley. His roots are in Tyrone. Barrett became CEO of Intel in 1998.
He attended Stanford University from 1957 to 1964, and received a Ph.D in material science.
During his time at Stanford, he joined the Kappa Sigma Fraternity. As a testament to his passion for higher education, Barrett and his wife Barbara donated a $10 million endowment to Arizona State University. He is the author of over forty technical papers dealing with the influence of microstructure on the prospects of minerals.
His wife, Barbara McConnell Barrett, was the United States Ambassador to Finland between 2008 and 2009. He became Intel’s fourth president in May 1997 and CEO in 1998. He announced in 2009 that he would be stepping down as chairman of Intel’s board at the annual stockholders meeting.
18. Colin Farrell
Farrell was born on May 31, 1976 in Castleknock, Dublin, Ireland. His father and uncle were both professional athletes, and for a while, it looked like Farrell would follow in their footsteps. Farrell auditioned for a part in the Irish boy band, Boyzone but failed to make the cut.
Farrell studied acting at the Gaiety School of Drama in Dublin and had established himself as a recognizable talent back home with a starring role in the BBC series Ballykissangel. Farrell began turning heads in Hollywood in early 2000. He was named one of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People in 2003 and voted sixth in the World's Sexiest Men of 2003 in Company magazine.
The likeable Irish rogue has two children. His first son, James, has Angelman Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. He and Alicja Bachleda, became the parents of a son, named Henry Tadeusz, on October 7, 2009 in Los Angeles. It was at this time that the actor struck up an unlikely friendship with Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor, who he now claims was a great love in his life. The actor describes himself as “just a true Irish boy at heart. I'm just myself, I stick by my guns and I treat people the way I think they should be treated, regardless of their status. And I just have a laugh.”
19. Tom Moran
Chairman, president and CEO of Mutual of America, Tom Moran grew up in Staten Island, one of three children of an Irish-Italian-American mother and an Irish-American father, with roots in Counties Fermanagh and Tipperary. He has been a very influential player in the Irish peace process, reaching across both communities and becoming a frequent visitor to Northern Ireland.
Moran has always been a hard worker. At 14, he began his first job as a janitor at his high school. While attending Manhattan College, he drove a cab during the night shift. Through these diverse work experiences, he learned valuable lessons and developed the beliefs that continue to influence his life and work today.
After earning his degree in mathematics, Moran began working at Mutual of America in 1975. His first responsibility there was to “paperclip anything that needed to be signed” whenever a pension had been sold. He has been president and CEO since 1994, and chairman of the board since 2005.
Mr Moran is currently chairman of Concern Worldwide (US). He serves on the boards of directors of the American Cancer Society Foundation, the Greater New York Council of the Boy Scouts of America, Channel Thirteen WNET, and the National Committee on American Foreign Policy.
He is a member of. the Irish Government’s Economic Advisory Board; the board of the Irish Chamber of Commerce in the USA; and the Ireland-US Council for Commerce & Industry. He served as a member of the board of Aer Lingus.
PHOTOS - The 2014 Power 50 from IrishCentral
20. John McCain
Senator John McCain is a Scots-Irishman. That is to say, he comes from one of the oldest, most admirable ethno-cultural traditions in the US. To a remarkable extent, that tradition is reflected in McCain's character traits: his obstinacy; his tendency towards unshakeable friendship and implacable hatred; his hair-trigger temper; his deep patriotism; his obsession with American honour; and his furious response to any criticism of the US.
Both sides of McCain's family come from the old Confederate southwest - his father's side from Missouri, his mother's from Tennessee, Texas and Oklahoma. McCain's great-great-grandfather, William Alexander "Fighting Bill" McCain, was a Confederate soldier. John McCain formally announced his intention to run for President of the United States on April 25, 2007 in New Hampshire, stating that "I'm not running for President to be somebody, but to do something; to do the hard but necessary things, not the easy and needless things.”
During 2013, McCain was a member of a bipartisan group of senators, the ‘gang of eight,’ which announced principles for another try at comprehensive immigration reform
21. Maureen O’ Hara
Irish screen legend Maureen O’Hara was born into a family steeped in Irish heritage. Her role as Mary Kate Danaher in The Quiet Man has fixed her status permanently as Irish America’s sweetheart.
Surrounded by gifted parents and family Maureen made her entrance into this world on August 17, 1920 in Ranelagh, Ireland.
Maureen loved playing rough athletic sports as a child and excelled in her teen years. By age 14 she had been accepted into the prestigious Abbey Theatre and pursued her dream of classic theatre. O’Hara was discovered by Charles Laughton, who was mesmerized by her hauntingly beautiful eyes. Under contract to Laughton, Maureen went on to star in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, which was an extraordinary success. Unlike most stars of that era, she started at the top and remained there, with her skills and talents only getting better as the years went on.
Still donning her trademark red hair, Maureen now lives happily in semi-retirement, though she still makes special public appearances on occasion.
22. Samantha Power
Irish-born Ambassador Samantha Power is the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and a member of President Obama’s cabinet. She formerly served as special assistant to the president and senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights at the National Security Council. Power also served as the Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
She is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of A Problem from Hell. America and the Age of Genocide (2002) and Chasing the Flame. Sergio Viera de Mello and the Fight to Save the World (2008), the basis for the award-winning HBO documentary, Sergio. She is also the recent editor, with Derek Chollet, of The Unquiet American. Richard Holbrooke in the World (2011). Power has served as a columnist at Time Magazine and, in her journalism, has reported from such places as Bosnia, East Timor, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan, and Zimbabwe,
Samantha lived in Dublin until the age of nine before her parents moved to Pittsburgh. Power is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School. She lives with her husband, Cass Sunstein, and their son Declan in Washington, DC
23. Coach Brian Kelly
Brian Kelly was named the 31st head coach of the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team on December 10, 2009 replacing Charlie Weis, who had been fired after five full seasons coaching the Fighting Irish.
Notre Dame was Kelly’s first high profile head coaching position although unlike his predecessor, he had brought with him a resume full of head coaching experience. In less than three years, Kelly has used that experience to take Notre Dame from an under-achieving team fighting just to sneak into the playoffs to a #1 ranking and berth in the 2013 BCS Championship Bowl.
Kelly was born in Everett, Massachusetts, and was raised in an Irish American Catholic family in Chelsea, Massachusetts. He attended St. John's Preparatory School in Danvers, Massachusetts. His father was a Boston politician. He was a four-year letter-winner at Assumption College as a linebacker. After graduating from Assumption in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in political science he served as linebackers coach, defensive coordinator, and softball coach from 1983 - 1986.
24. Bill O’ Reilly
William James "Bill" O'Reilly, Jr. is an American television host, author, syndicated columnist and political commentator. He is the host of the political commentary program The O'Reilly Factor on the Fox News Channel.
During the late 1970s and 1980s, O’Reilly worked as a news reporter for various local television stations in the United States and eventually for CBS News and ABC News. From 1989 to 1995, he was anchor of the entertainment news program Inside Edition. He traces his Irish roots to Cavan and has written frequently about his trips to Ireland.
He attended St. Brigid parochial school in Westbury, and Chaminade High School, a private Catholic boys high school in Mineola. His father wanted him to attend Chaminade, but Bill wanted to attend W. Tresper Clarke High School, the public school most of his closest friends would attend.
After the September 11 attacks, O'Reilly accused the United Way of America and American Red Cross of failing to deliver millions of dollars in donated money, raised by the organizations in the name of the disaster, to the families of those killed in the attacks. O'Reilly reported that the organizations misrepresented their intentions for the money being raised by not distributing all of the 9/11 relief fund to the victims.
25. Rooney Mara
Rooney Mara was born in Bedford, New York in 1985. Christened Patricia Rooney Mara when she made her debut on the world stage, she is one of four children of New York Giants executive Timothy Christopher Mara and Kathleen McNulty, and the granddaughter of Art Rooney, Sr., the founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers football franchise (Her mother's maiden name is Rooney).
In 2010 she got her first lead role in a major feature, in the $35 million remake A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010). That same year, she was noticed by critics in the small but pivotal role of the Boston University undergrad Erica who dumps Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network (2010). Director David Fincher subsequently cast her as the lead in his The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) trilogy.
Her grandfathers were Wellington Mara, co-owner of the Giants, and Tim Rooney, owner of Yonkers Raceway, and her great-uncle is Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney, the former Ambassador to Ireland.
26. James Watson
"He is credited as the co-discoverer of DNA."
James Watson was born in Chicago, Ill., on April 6th, 1928, as the only son of James D. Watson, a businessman, and Jean Mitchell. His mother's father was a Scottish-born Taylor married to a daughter of Irish immigrants who arrived in the United States about 1840. He is credited as the co-discoverer of DNA.
He received a B.Sc. degree in Zoology. During these years his boyhood interest in bird-watching had matured into a serious desire to learn about genetics. From September 1950 to September 1951 he spent his first postdoctoral year in Copenhagen as a Merck Fellow of the National Research Council. Again he worked with bacterial viruses, attempting to study the fate of DNA of infecting virus particles. During the spring of 1951, he went with Kalckar to the Zoological Station at Naples. While attending a Symposium there, late in May, he met Maurice Wilkins and saw for the first time the X-ray diffraction pattern of crystalline DNA.
The honours that have to come to Watson include. the John Collins Warren Prize of the Massachusetts General Hospital, with Crick in 1959; the Eli Lilly Award in Biochemistry in the same year; the Lasker Award, with Crick and Wilkins in 1960; the Research Corporation Prize, with Crick in 1962; membership of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences.
27. John Fitzpatrick
John Fitzpatrick is president and CEO of the Fitzpatrick Hotel Group. He began his impressive career almost thirty years ago with a hotel management course in Ireland, followed by a hotel management course offered at UNLV in Las Vegas. He then returned to Ireland to work at the family hotels in Dublin and Bunratty, Co. Clare, returning to the U.S. in 1991.
He currently serves as Chairman of the Hotel Association of NYC. John is active in a number of philanthropic activities that aid children in need and that advance the peace process in Northern Ireland. In 1993 he founded the Eithne and Paddy Fitzpatrick Memorial Foundation in memory of his parents. The foundation has generated more than $1.3 million for charities dedicated to such causes.
He is on the boards of both the American Ireland Fund and the Ireland-US Council. John received the 2002 Ellis Island Medal of Honor. He was recognized for his contributions to the peace process in Northern Ireland with an honorary OBE. In July 2011, Queen’s University Belfast conferred upon John an honorary Doctorate of Science in Economics. he is the incoming Chairman of the American Ireland Fund.
28. Martin O’ Malley
Martin O’Malley is serving the people of Maryland in his second term as Governor. Governor O’Malley was re-elected in 2010. His 2013 legislative successes were described in a Baltimore Sun editorial as “without many parallels in recent Maryland history.”
Governor O’Malley received his bachelor’s degree from Catholic University and his law degree from the University of Maryland. In 1986, while in law school, he was named by then-Congresswoman Barbara Mikulski as state field director for her successful primary and general election campaigns for the U.S. Senate.
Governor O’Malley served two terms as Chair of the Democratic Governors Association. He currently serves as the organization’s Finance Chair. Martin and his wife, Katie, a District Court judge, have two daughters, Grace and Tara, and two sons, William and Jack. They are members of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. His roots are in County Galway and he is a frequent visitor there. He formerly played in an Irish rock band called “O”Malley’s March and is an expert in Irish history.
29. Anjelica Huston
Anjelica Huston was born on July 8, 1951, to director and actor John Huston and Italian American (from New York) prima ballerina Enrica (Ricki) Soma. Huston spent most of her childhood overseas, in Ireland and England, and in 1969 first dipped her toe into the acting profession, taking a few small roles in her father's movies. However, in that year her mother died in a car accident at 39, and Huston relocated to the United States, where the tall, exotically beautiful young woman modelled for several years.
Her father perfectly cast her as calculating, imperious Maerose, the daughter of a Mafia don whose love is scorned by a hit man (Nicholson again) in his film adaptation of Richard Condon's Mafia-satire novel Prizzi's Honor (1985). Huston won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance, making her the first person in Academy Award history to win an Oscar when a parent and a grandparent (her father and grandfather Walter Huston) had also won one.
30. John Brennan
John O. Brennan was appointed to be the director of the Central Intelligence Agency by President Barack Obama, and confirmed by the United States Senate on 8 March 2013. Brennan is a career C.I.A. man. The story is that he applied for a job with the C.I.A. after seeing a classified ad while on his way to class at New York's Fordham University. He earned a degree at Fordham in 1977, and then went to the University of Texas for a graduate degree in government and Middle East studies, finishing in 1980. Within the C.I.A., Brennan rose to be station chief in Saudi Arabia, and during the administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, he served C.I.A. director George Tenet as chief of staff and then deputy executive director (1999-2005).
Brennan, the son of Irish immigrants from Roscommon, was raised in North Bergen, New Jersey. He attended the Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary School, and graduated from Saint Joseph of the Palisades High School in West New York, New Jersey before enrolling at Fordham University in New York City.
PHOTOS - The 2014 Power 50 from IrishCentral
31. Michael Flatley
The world-famous dancer, choreographer and flutist, Michael Ryan Flatley is the second of five children. His parents, Michael and Eilish, were both Irish-born but had migrated to the United States several years before Michael’s birth.
Although Michael’s parents chose to leave Ireland and settle in America, they returned home frequently to visit family and friends, and Michael was raised with a strong sense of his cultural heritage. Michael’s Grandmother Hannah taught him his very first dance steps and always encouraged him to “follow his dreams”. To this day, Michael always keeps an empty chair for his grandmother in the front row of all his concerts.
Michael got his “big break”; when he was invited to dance on stage with the world-famous traditional Irish band The Chieftains. His dance numbers went down so well with the audience that the band invited Michael to join them on tour, and become a regular fixture of their show during the 1980s.
In 1993, he received an invitation to dance at the Spirit of Mayo in Dublin, a renowned festival of Irish music and dance. Michael had the honour of dancing in front of the Irish President, Mary Robinson; his performance at the festival was so well received that he was then asked to create a dance act for the intermission as part of the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest, which was being held in Ireland that year. Michael’s choreography was a massive hit and inspired him to co-create Riverdance, the Irish dance show which has made him famous across the globe. he has followed up with “Lord of the Dance” and “Feet of Flame” both huge hits.
32. Jim Dwyer
Pulitzer Prize winner Jim Dwyer has been writing the “About New York” column for the New York Times, a position he took over from fellow Irish-American Dan Barry. Dwyer has been with the Times since May 2001, and he has been on assignment to both Northern Ireland and Iraq.
Along with his former Times colleague Kevin Flynn, Dwyer wrote "102 Minutes. The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers," perhaps the most detailed account of what happened between the time the first plane hit one of New York’s twin towers and when the second tower collapsed. Prior to his work at the Times, Dwyer wrote for, among others, Newsday and the Daily News.
Dwyer’s parents Phil and Mary were born in Kerry and Galway respectively. He attended Fordham and Columbia University. He and his wife Cathy live in New York with their daughters, Maura and Catherine.
33. Bill Murray
Murray’s Irish Catholic parents, Lucille and Edward (a lumber salesman and keen golfer), had nine children. Bill is the fifth child and his siblings are Brian Doyle-Murray, Nancy, Edward, Andy, John Murray, Joel Murray, Peggy, and Laura. He worked as a golf caddy, to pay his tuition to Loyola Academy, a Jesuit school in his hometown.
In 1973, Murray followed older brother Brian into Chicago’s Second City troupe, as a stand-up comedian.
Bill was the first in the family to take up professional comedy. Murray was given the opportunity to join 'Saturday Night Live' in its second season. Things were going well and in 1977, the SNL cast and writers shared an Emmy award. Murray went from strength to strength and even had a tempestuous affair with Gilda Radner, whilst playing alongside her as a comedy duo. However, in May 1980, Murray decided to leave SNL and turn his attention to Hollywood.
He added to his happiness by marrying Margaret ‘Mickey’ Kelly on 24 January 1981. She was the first female page at NBC, working behind the scenes with Johnny Carson and Dick Cavett. Mickey opened a furniture shop after marrying Murray. [They had two sons, Homer, born 1982, and Luke, born 1985. He has starred in such hit movies as Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day.
34. Sean Hannity
”The Sean Hannity Show began national syndication on September 10, 2001, on over 500 stations nationwide.”Sean Hannity was born on December 30, 1961. He is an American television host, author, and conservative political commentator. He is best known as the host of The Sean Hannity Show, a nationally syndicated talk radio show that airs throughout the United States.
His paternal and maternal grandparents immigrated to the United States from Ireland. He has two sisters. He grew up in Franklin Square, New York, and attended Sacred Heart Seminary in Hempstead, New York, during his middle school years.
Hannity's radio program is a conservative political talk show that features Hannity's opinions and ideology related to current issues and politicians. The Sean Hannity Show began national syndication on September 10, 2001, on over 500 stations nationwide. In 2004, Hannity signed a $25 million five-year contract extension with ABC Radio (now Citadel Media) to continue the show through 2009. The program was made available via Armed Forces Radio Network in 2006. In June 2007, ABC Radio was sold to Citadel Communications and in the summer of 2008, Hannity was signed for a $100 million five-year contract. As of October 2013, the program is heard by over 13.25 million listeners a week
35. Kevin Roche
Kevin Roche, FAIA born Eamonn Kevin Roche (June 14, 1922), is an Irish-born American Pritzker Prize-winning architect. He has been responsible for the design/master planning for over 200 building projects in both the U.S. and abroad. These projects include 8 museums, 38 corporate headquarters, 7 research facilities, performing arts centers, theatres, and campus buildings for 6 universities. In 1967 he created the master plan for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and since then has designed all of the new wings and installation of many collections including the recently reopened American and Islamic Wings.
In 2012, Roche was inducted into Irish America magazine's Hall of Fame. He graduated from University College Dublin in 1945. He then worked with Michael Scott from 1945–1946. From summer to fall of 1946 he worked with Maxwell Fry in London. In 1947 he applied for graduate studies at Harvard, Yale, and Illinois Institute of Technology and was accepted at all three institutions, and left Ireland in 1948 to study under Ludwig Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
36. Colum McCann
Colum McCann is the award-winning author of six novels and two collections of short stories. His most recent novel, “Transatlantic” was published in summer 2013.
His novel “Let the Great World Spin,” won worldwide acclaim, including The 2009 National Book Award in the U.S, the 2010 Best Foreign Novel Award in China, the International Impact Award 2011, a literary award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, several other major literary prizes and became a best-seller on four continents.
Colum McCann was born in Ireland in 1965 but now lives in New York with his wife, Allison, and their three children. He teaches on the MFA program in CUNY Hunter College.
McCann’s fiction has been published in over 35 languages and has appeared in The New Yorker, Esquire, Paris Review, Granta, The Atlantic Monthly, GQ, Tin House and Bomb among others. He has written for numerous publications including The New York Times, the Irish Times, the Irish Independent, Die Zeit, La Republicca, Paris Match, the Guardian, the Times and the Independent.
37. Colm Kelleher
Colm Kelleher holds both British and Irish passports. He is the Chief Financial Officer at Morgan Stanley, one of the most powerful investment banks in the world and is widely tipped to become the next CEO. Formerly head of the bank's global capital markets business, he has served across the bank's US and European divisions in a variety of roles. Most importantly he has an innate understanding of fixed income - an area of investment banking that has been ravaged by the US sub-prime crisis and which needs great attention as banks continue to write-down billions of dollars of sub-prime related investments.
An Oxford graduate, Kelleher spent four years training at Arthur Andersen in London. He joined Morgan Stanley in 1989 and is viewed by some as a potential successor to John Mack, the bank's current chairman and chief executive.
38. Senator Susan Collins
“She is also known as a tireless advocate for education and has visited and read to children at nearly 200 schools.”Susan Collins is, an Irish Catholic Republican senator, is considered a centrist and bipartisan member of the Republican Party, described in Time as one of “the last survivors of a once common species of moderate Northeastern Republican.
She is also known as a tireless advocate for education and has visited and read to children at nearly 200 schools across the state of Maine. She has secured critical federal funding for special research projects and equipment for the University of Maine System and Maine’s Community Colleges. Senator Collins was born and raised in Caribou, Maine, where her family runs a fifth-generation lumber business, founded by her ancestors in 1844. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of St. Lawrence University, she is married to Thomas A. Daffron and resides in Bangor.
First elected in 1996, Maine Senator Susan Collins is serving her third term in the United States Senate. Known for her work in facilitating bipartisan compromise, Senator Collins is a key leader in the U.S. Congress. After her re-election in 2002, Senator Collins became chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. Her leadership, coupled with her work on the Armed Services Committee, earned her a national reputation for her policy expertise.
Senator Collins led the successful repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law that prohibited gay and lesbian Americans from serving openly in the military.
39. Fr John Jenkins
Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., was elected president-elect of the University of Notre Dame by the Board of Trustees on April 30, 2004, and became the University's 17th president on July 1, 2005. He served the previous four years as vice president and associate provost.
A professor of philosophy at university, Father Jenkins was religious superior of the Holy Cross priests and brothers at Notre Dame from 1997 to 2000. As religious superior, he was a Fellow and Trustee of the University, but he relinquished those posts to assume his new duties in the provost's office.
Father Jenkins was ordained a priest in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on campus in 1983. He served as director of the Old College program for Notre Dame undergraduate candidates for the Congregation of Holy Cross from 1991 to 1993.
Father Jenkins also holds an honorary degree from Benedictine College (2006) and was the 2009 recipient of the American Irish Historical Society’s Gold Medal. In 2010, he was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, an association honouring leading “thinkers and doers” since the 18th century.
PHOTOS - The 2014 Power 50 from IrishCentral
40. Lawrence O’Donnell
Lawrence O’Donnell is the host of “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” on MSNBC. O’Donnell brings his extraordinary background in politics, entertainment and news to the nightly program, providing the last word on the important issues and most compelling stories of the day.
O’Donnell was an Emmy Award-winning executive producer and writer for the NBC series “The West Wing” and creator and executive producer of the NBC series, “Mister Sterling.”
From 1989 through 1992, O'Donnell served as Senior Advisor to Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan. In 1992, he was Chief of Staff to the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works. From 1993 through 1995 he was the Chief of Staff of the Senate Finance Committee.
He is of Irish descent. He attended St. Sebastian's School where he was captain of his baseball team, and graduated from Harvard College in 1976. While at Harvard, he wrote for the Harvard Lampoon and was popular among its members due to his wit and sarcasm. In 1994, O'Donnell married television and movie actress Kathryn Harrold, they later divorced. O'Donnell and Harold have a daughter, Elizabeth Buckley.
41. Mary Higgins Clark
Mary Theresa Eleanor Higgins, better known as Mary Higgins Clark is the bestselling American author of suspense novels. All her 24 novels have been chartbusters, selling more than 80 million copies as of 2007 in the United States only. She was born in the Bronx, New York on December 24, 1929. Her parents were Irish immigrants who ran a pub which eventually had to be shut down by the time Higgins was eleven due to the declining business conditions that existed during the great depression and the sudden death of Higgins’ father. Possessing a flair for writing, young Mary would devote a lot of her time to writing.
She was left a widow with five children to take care of when her husband Warren Clark died in 1964. In a desperate attempt to earn money to cater to the needs of her children, Higgins worked as radio scriptwriter, writing numerous four minute programs. However, the job and short story writing were not proving to be enough to provide for her children. Taking advice of her agent, Higgins began writing her first novel. Aspire to the Heavens was published in 1968.
42. Jean Kennedy Smith
“Jean Kennedy Smith played a leading role in the peace process as Ambassador to Ireland.”Jean Kennedy Smith played a leading role in the peace process as Ambassador to Ireland
Kennedy Smith had seen an opportunity for peace and she grabbed it. It was the culmination of a long-time desire to help bring peace to Northern Ireland. In 1974, she had stayed with John and Pat Hume in Derry, and upon witnessing the depressing sight of streets full of bombed-out buildings as the violence reached its zenith, she vowed to help if the opportunity presented itself.
43. Jimmy Fallon
Late-night host and comic Jimmy Fallon was born on September 19, 1974, in Brooklyn, New York. Fallon first started performing stand-up comedy in high school and later dropped out of college to pursue his comedy career. In 1998, Fallon landed his dream job, joining the cast of Saturday Night Live. Fallon left the show in 2004. Five years later, he launched his own successful program, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
Fallon lives in New York City. He married Hollywood producer Nancy Juvonen on Necker Island in the Caribbean on December 22, 2007. The couple welcomed their first child together in July 2013. They named their daughter Winnie Rose.
In April 2013, it was announced that he will become the new host of The Tonight Show, after Jay Leno's contract expires.“I’m a very stubborn, very pale begrudging Irish man,” he famously once said.
44. Danica Patrick
Born Danica Sue Patrick on March 25, 1982, into a family of Irish and half Norwegian descent. She began racing go-karts with her sister at age 10, and dropped out of high school to advance her racing career in England. It was there that she finished second at the Formula Ford Festival, the highest-ever finish by either a woman or an American in the event.
In 2005, Patrick became the fourth woman to race in the Indianapolis 500. Her fourth place finish was the highest ever for a female driver, besting the previous record of ninth set by Janet Guthrie in 1978. She led 19 laps of the race, becoming the first woman ever to lead the Indy 500.In 2008, Patrick made history when she became the first woman to win a IndyCar race.
In early 2013, Patrick won the time trials at the Daytona 500, becoming the first woman to win the pole position at the famous NASCAR event.
45. George Clooney
The silver fox of the small and big screen was born in Kentucky in 1961. Born into a well-known family of media and entertainers, most notably his aunt Rosemary Clooney who has had a long career as an actress and entertainer, a young George became interested in the art of performance.His father’s great-grandfather Nicholas Clooney, came from County Kilkenny.
The name Clooney is an anglicized version of the Gaelic O’ Cluanaigh, which translates as a descendant of Clughnach, meaning a rogue or a flatterer. His father’s mother’s maiden name, meanwhile was Guilfoyle. “I’ve been to Dublin before with my folks,” said Clooney. “ My Dad went to Ireland when he told them his name, he said everyone insisted on buying him drinks and he got smashed and had a great time!”
Clooney’s big break would come in 1994 in the critically acclaimed NBC drama ER. Clooney soon became one of the show’s breakout stars. Clooney worked at a hectic pace during his time on ER, appearing in several films during his time as Dr Doug Ross His instant sex appeal drove his celebrity status through the roof. TIME magazine has called the actor "The Last Movie Star," and People magazine twice named him the "Sexiest Man Alive."
46. Chris Christie
Christie was born in New Jersey on September 6, 1962, to an Irish father Bill Christie and Sicilian mother Sondra Christie, and raised in nearby Livingston. "Dad was just a passenger; Mom was the driver.
Christie has lived in the Garden State his whole life, barring the four years he spent studying political science at the University of Delaware. He is the Republican governor of New Jersey, known for his combative style and for being popular with Republicans throughout the country. During his tenure as head of the state, Christie's long-running battle with powerful and relatively popular teachers' unions mobilized strong opposition to many of his policies, but he has won national acclaim for his ability to move legislation forward and to win over constituents.
47. Joe Kennedy III
Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy III represents the 4th District of Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives. A graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law, Joe worked as an Assistant District Attorney for several years in Massachusetts before running for office.
Joe served as a member of the Peace Corps in the Dominican Republic where he designed and implemented an economic development project that helped create jobs and increase the standard of living in an isolated community near Puerto Plata. Joe has also worked as an international development analyst for the United Nations’ Millennium Project and as an anti-poverty consultant abroad. He is fluent in Spanish and currently sits on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, as well as the House Committee on Science and Technology.
Born and raised in Massachusetts, Joe holds a bachelors degree in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University.
He lives with his wife, Lauren, and their dog, Banjo, in Brookline, Mass.
48. Judy Collins
Born in Seattle on May 1, 1939, Collins moved with her family to Los Angeles at age 10 and settled in Denver, where her father Charlie Collins hosted a radio show. Blind since the age of 3, Charlie had grown up on a farm in Idaho and had learned to navigate the world without a cane. Educated at a school for the blind, he was well versed in literature, world affairs, and music, and the five Collins children, three girls and two boys, were brought up knowing that much was expected of them.
Living in New York City in the early 1960s, Collins became a fixture in the city's folk scene, performing at famous Greenwich Village venues as the Village Vanguard and the Gaslight. Collins landed a recording deal with Elektra Records in 1961 after the label's president saw her perform. She released her first album, A Maid of Constant Sorrow that same year, which featured several traditional songs.
Judy Collins was married to Peter Taylor from 1958 to 1965. The couple had one child together, a son named Clark. In the late 1960s, she became involved with singer and musician Stephen Stills, and he turned their relationship and breakup into the 1969 song "Suite. Judy Blue Eyes." Collins also dated actor Stacy Keach for a time. She has been married to Louis Nelson since 1996. She was inducted into the Irish America Hall of Fame in 2013 and will host a PBS show from Ireland in 2014.
49. John Sweeney
John Sweeney rose from a humble upbringing as the son of an Irish emigrant bus cleaner in the Bronx to become head of America's largest union. He gained a reputation as a fearless advocate of the union movement and a committed supporter of equal pay for women.
The family moved to Yonkers in 1944, where Sweeney attended St. Barnabas Elementary School and graduated from Cardinal Hayes High School. Sweeney's father took him to numerous union meetings, and it is there that Sweeney began his lifelong commitment to the American labor movement.
Sweeney was shaped by three things. His family --his mother was a maid, his father was a bus driver. He was strongly influenced by his work and ethic relating to this and finally strongly interested in the teachings of the church.
John devoted his career to the labor movement, adding working folks to its ranks and fighting for fair working conditions and fair wages. As the head of the AFL-CIO, he was responsible for dozens of unions with millions of working families. Family. Faith and fidelity to the common good. These are the values that make John Sweeney who he is; values at the heart of a labor movement that has helped build the world’s greatest middle class.”
50. Marty J Walsh
“New Mayor of Boston, Martin J. Walsh, an accomplished advocate for working people.”New Mayor of Boston, Martin J. Walsh, an accomplished advocate for working people, a son of immigrants and a proud product of the city of Boston. An experienced state lawmaker and native of Dorchester, Marty had the record, skills and passion needed to move Boston forward.
Marty’s parents both emigrated from Ireland in the 1950s and came to Boston. Having met at the Intercolonial, a dance hall on Dudley Street, John and Mary Walsh married and settled in a home on Taft Street in St. Margaret’s Parish, where Marty and his brother Johnny grew up, and where his mother still lives.
In 1997, Marty won election to the Massachusetts House of Representatives, representing the 13th Suffolk District, which includes Dorchester and ranks among the most diverse districts in the state. In the House, Marty has established himself as a leader on creating and protecting jobs, and growing the economy.
A champion for civil rights, Marty was a strong and early advocate for marriage equality, which he calls his proudest vote ever as a legislator. He has also become known as the State House leader on substance abuse and recovery issues.
PHOTOS - The 2014 Power 50 from IrishCentral