Belfast Telegraph

So long, Milo O'Shea: Family and old friends bid sad farewell to acting legend

By Paul Melia

Actor Milo O'Shea wore his fame lightly, always happy to share a drink with a Hollywood legend or "an assistant to the assistant caterer", a memorial service in his honour has heard.

The television, stage and screen actor, who died last week at 82 in his adopted home of New York following a battle with Alzheimer's, will be interred in a private ceremony at Dublin's Deansgrange Cemetery today.

His family and colleagues fondly recalled the actor at a memorial service in Dublin's Gate Theatre yesterday.

Among those present included his sons Colm and Steven, his wife Kitty, and actors Rosaleen Linehan, Des Keogh, Stephen Brennan, Dawn Bradfield and Barry McGovern.

Theatre impresario John Colgan and the Republic's arts minister Jimmy Deenihan also attended the event, which was hosted by the director of the Gate, Michael Colgan.

"Milo never had such a low turnout," Mr Colgan joked. "Whenever he was here it was always full. But then again, he outlived most of his friends."

Milo O'Shea began his career on the stage aged just 12, and went on to appear in the BBC sitcom 'Me Mammy', Roger Vadim's camp classic 'Barbarella' and in tv shows 'The West Wing' and 'Frasier', for which he received an Emmy nomination.

Director Fergus Linehan said it was difficult to think of his old friend without smiling: "Those amazing eyebrows, that great smile, which so delighted us all and could make audiences helpless with laughter. Milo was the same warm, generous company no matter when one met him."

His godchild, Miriam Kelly, who's actor father David was a long-standing friend, said he was "great fun", recalling how he would tell her how he grew his famous eyebrows "from seed, and had to water them regularly".

His eldest son, Colm, said: "He wore his fame lightly, and with good grace. All he really cared about was the work. He was happy to share a jar with you, whether you were a Hollywood star or the assistant to the assistant caterer.

"He was a lovely actor, because he was, quite simply, a lovely man."

His wife Kitty ended the service, speaking of her heartbreak of seeing her beloved husband succumb to Alzheimer's. "Milo died from Alzheimer's, and we were spared the horrors of that dreadful disease. He knew me, and his boys, and I was fortunate he died peacefully with me. When his words became locked in his head, I became his voice. His words will be remembered forever.

"Goodbye Milo, we will love you always. Thank You."

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