#OTD in 1961 – Death of stage, film and television actor, Barry Fitzgerald, in Dublin.

Stair na hÉireann/History of Ireland

Barry Fitzgerald was born William Joseph Shields in Walworth Road, Portobello, Dublin. He was the older brother of actor, Arthur Shields. As a child he played with the younger siblings of James Joyce who he called ‘a young man with a beard and very clever.’ He went to Skerry’s College, Dublin, before going on to work in the civil service, while also working at the Abbey Theatre. By 1929, he turned to acting full-time. He was briefly a roommate of famed playwright Sean O’Casey and starred in such plays as O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock and the premiere of The Silver Tassie. Barry’s relationship with O’Casey would soon have Ireland’s foremost playwright writing parts for him.

One of the big secrets of the family is that, although the brothers made their living in part playing Catholic priests, they were all Church of Ireland. Arthur Shields is one of the great…

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