Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 10 July 2014

Tributes as star of TV's Billy trilogy passes away

Belfast actor dies after short illness

Belfast actor Mark Mulholland, who starred alongside Kenneth Branagh in the BBC's Billy Trilogy during the 1980s, died early today.

The actor passed away at the Marie Curie hospice around 10am after a short illness.

He was 70 years old and is survived by his son, Stephen, daughter, Una, and estranged wife, Gina.

Mark starred alongside many Hollywood stars including Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman in Far and Away and Daniel Day Lewis in the 1997 film The Boxer and was also a seasoned theatre actor, working for around 40 years in the industry.

But he will be best remembered for his role as Uncle Andy in the Graham Reid-penned plays for television, Too Late To Talk To Billy, A Matter Of Choice For Billy and A Coming To Terms For Billy.

Paying tribute to Mark, actress Roma Tomelty, who played with him in several productions including Over The Bridge, said he would be sorely missed in acting circles in Northern Ireland.

"Mark was a brilliant actor, extremely energetic with a photographic memory," she said.

"He was in the business around 40 years and was a honorary life member of Equity.

"The first time I saw him was at the Arts when he was in A Midsummer's Night Dream, dressed in a pair of tights. He was a wonderful character and I played with him a few times. He did quite a lot of work with us for Centre Stage and also did a one-man show for me on Jonathan Swift, called Mischief and Madness.

"Mark was a great company man and a great trade unionist and will be sorely missed by everyone who knew him.

" He starred alongside people like Robert Mitchem and Tom Cruise and more recently Bill Murray, but he will always be remembered fondly for his role as Uncle Andy in the Billy plays."

Mark started acting by accident when his former teacher at St Malachy's College persuaded him to join the Old Boys Dramatic Society.

In the early 1960s he worked in the Lyric and then Derryvolgie Avenue and turned professional in 1968 when he played Demetrius in the Arts Theatre's A Midsummer's Night Dream.

He also trod the boards in Castles in the Air, Shadow of a Gunman, The Evangelist, A Comedy of Errors and Juno and the Paycock. Several years ago he was due to star in the Lyric's Observe The Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme, but had to pull out due to illness.

More recently he landed a role in the Tom Hanks movie City of Ember, which was shot in Belfast - his last job as an actor.

His funeral is expected to take place on Saturday.

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