Beloved Irish actor Milo O’Shea,86, passed away on Tuesday, April 2, at a New York hospital, after a short illness.
O’Shea, born and raised in Dublin, moved to New York in 1976.
He was born in 1926 and educated at the Synge Street Christian Brothers School. Early acting successes at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin, were repeated in London, where he made an impact in 1961 with “Glory Be!” at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East.
Throughout his career he starred in movies, television shows and on the stage and was known as a skilled character actor and comedian.
Speaking to RTE, the Gate Theatre director, Michael Colgan said “Milo just had it all,” and his versatility singled him out.
He told the state broadcaster that O’Shea’s career was “the most varied” and no actor would be able to achieve his CV which ranged from major roles in Ireland’s National Theater the Abbey and “Ulysses” to “Carry On” Films and sitcoms on both sides of the Atlantic as well as working with Woody Allen and Paul Newman.
Colgan worked with O’Shea and the late David Kelly in the Gate’s production of “The Sunshine Boys” said they were both gentlemen, hilarious and genuinely witty.
To name but a few of his roles, O’Shea played Leopold Bloom in the 1967 movie adaptation of James Joyce’s “Ulysses” and played a mad scientist in Roger Vadim’s fantasy “Barbarella”. O’Shea starred in the 1960s BBC sitcom “Me Mammy”. He was also cast in the US comedy “Frasier” and the US drama “The West Wing” alongside Martin Sheen. O’Shea also played the priest in Neil Jordan’s “The Butcher Boy”. he played the role of the judge alongside Paul newman in ‘The Verdict.’
Ireland’s Minister for Arts Jimmy Deenihan has paid tribute “a giant of stage and screen”.
He said “During his career in theatre and film, both at home and abroad, he is remembered for the quality of his performances in a range of challenging and often groundbreaking roles.”
Deenihan noted his portrayal of Leopold Bloom as a particular highlight of his film career as well as his performance in Zeffirell's “Romeo and Juliet”.
“Over his life, he reached the widest audiences from across the globe - on stage, on film, and on television - and was internationally recognized for the quality of his work”.
"I would like to express my deep condolences to his family, and to his many friends.” Mr Deenihan said.
He is survived by his wife the actress Kitty Sullivan, his son Colm and wife Deirdre and his son Steven and partner Melanie Carrick as well as his three grandchildren. O’Shea was previously married to the late “Glenroe” star Maureen Toal. They were divorced in 1976.