Exclusive interview: George Clooney on life and death and being Irish
Prefers cremation, wants to tour Ireland and see Obama re-elected
Hollywood heartthrob George Clooney recently sat down with Patricia Danaher from our sister publication Irish America magazine for an exclusive interview.
Here are the highlights:
Ireland and his roots
The long-planned trip to Ireland he said he was finally going to take, will be a tour of the country by motorbike. “It’s finally happening,” he told me, grinning broadly. “I ran into Bono in Toronto, he was in town for the documentary about U2, and he’s as much of a bike nut as I am. He started telling me about lots of cool places I should check out, so I’ve committed to going.”
The actor makes frequent and fond references to his Irish roots and his Catholic upbringing. Clooney has Irish roots on both sides of the family, but most of his green blood comes paternally. His father’s great-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 Clugnach, meaning a rogue or a flatterer. His father’s mother’s maiden name, meanwhile, was Guilfoyle.
“I’ve been in Dublin before, but never with my folks,” said Clooney. “My dad went to Ireland two years ago and found a town called Clooney. When he told them his name, he said everyone insisted on buying him drinks and he got smashed and had a great time!”
On what he wants to do next
“I have a lot of things I want to get done and I don’t really have a lot of time. The best advice my Aunt Rosemary gave me was ‘Don’t wake up at 65 and say what you should have done.’ I think that’s a smart piece of advice. She also told me never to mix wine and vodka and that’s a lesson I forgot to take last night!”
On life and death
Given that he has crossed the half century mark, has he given any thought to plans for after his death?
“I think you should automatically donate your organs because that would turn the balance of organ donation in a huge way. I would donate whatever anybody would take and I’d probably do the cremation bit.
I don’t really like the idea of getting stuck in a box. I have these best friends of mine, I put them all in my will and I said I would give them each some ashes and some money and have them take me on a trip somewhere I’ve never seen before. It wouldn’t be such a bad way to see the world!”
On his love life
“I knew it was coming!” he laughs. “Some of the sneaky questions about this topic are often disguised in serious questions like, ‘this thing in Darfur is so sad with these children,’ and you go, ‘oh yes,’ and then they go, ‘have you ever wanted to have children?’ They think if you sneak it through the serious stuff, I’ve got to answer. I’ve found that answering these questions has never been beneficial to me in any way. It’s beneficial to people selling magazines and newspapers, but not to me. So I always avoid them.”
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