Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

Tributes to versatile Northern Ireland actor Gerard Murphy who was at home in Batman or King Lear

Gerard Murphy as King Lear
Gerard Murphy as King Lear

West End and Hollywood actor Gerard Murphy has been described as a great performer and a man of kindness after his death from cancer.

The 64-year-old was born in Newry but lived in Cambridge, where he died on Monday morning after a long battle against prostate cancer.

The actor and director, who starred in movie hits such as Batman Begins, had been ill for around two-and-a-half years.

He is survived by his sister Deirdre, brother Brian, nephews, nieces and many close friends.

Murphy began his professional career with the Glasgow Citizens Theatre and was an associate artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

As a director, his productions were seen across the UK, US and Japan.

He also presented an episode of Tales Of The Fatlad, produced by Liz Greg and directed by Maeve O'Cathain, for BBC Northern Ireland.

Last night his agent Lynda Ronan paid tribute to her friend and client of five years, saying he was "married to his profession".

"Lovely Gerard," she said. "He was very proud to be from Newry and Newry should be very proud of him being such a fine actor. He was not only a wonderful actor but a dear friend to many people. Anyone who came across, worked or simply shopped with him, everyone had great time for him."

Lynda told the Belfast Telegraph Gerard had "a real kindness and was a great wordsmith".

"He understood words probably better than anyone," she added. "He was a great actor, a wonderful director and an excellent translator."

Casting agent and friend Anne Henderson – who was with Gerard's sister Deirdre and friend Wendy Hutton at his home when he passed away – said he was "one in a million".

"We met in 1974 when I was a lowly assistant stage manager at Citizens Theatre and he was a leading actor; we became good friends, which is rare," she said.

"He's been an inspiration, an incredibly talented person who always wanted to do something new. He never wanted to stay still.

"He loved working with new young directors and actors, he did The History Boys and the young actors stayed in touch and would call him for guidance."

Anne said just a few weeks ago he was planning a radio play.

"Three weeks ago he asked me to get a copy of The Doctor And The Devil from the internet because he wanted to do a radio play," Anne added. "That was him to the end, working, he loved life so much."

Gerard Murphy's finest stage and screen moments

* Film credits include: The Comedian, Pumpgirl, Batman Begins, Commission and Waterworld.

* Television credits include: Spooks, Dalziel And Pascoe, Trial And Retribution, The Good Citizen, Waking The Dead, The Bill, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Vanity Fair, The Governor, McCallum and Father Ted.

* Theatre credits include: The History Boys, The Rivals, King Lear, Amadeus, My Fair Lady.

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