Friday 2 December 2016

'The Commitments' actor Johnny Murphy, known for his role as Joey 'The Lips' Fagan, dies aged 72

Published 23/02/2016 | 11:44

'Joey the Lips' in The Commitments
'Joey the Lips' in The Commitments
Actor Johnny Murphy who played Joey 'the Lips' Fagan in the Commitments. Photo: Frank McGrath

Actor Johnny Murphy, best known for his role as trumpet player Joey 'The Lips' Fagan in The Commitments, has died according to reports.

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Mr Murphy (72) died of respiratory failure in St James's hospital this morning after a short illness.

In a statement today, Johnny's family said: "It is with great sadness that the family of John Murphy announce his passing. He died of respiratory failure in St. James’s hospital early Tuesday morning, 23rd February, after a short illness."

"His career spanning over 50 years began in Focus Theatre with the late Deirdre O’Connell and lead to work at the Abbey and Gate theatres and stages around the world."

"He played Gogo in the world famous Gate production of Beckett’s Waiting for Godot but was probably more famous for his portrayal of trumpet player “Joey the Lips” in Alan Parker’s film The Commitments."

Tributes were paid to the legendary actor this morning on social media.

Actor Johnny Murphy who played Joey 'the Lips' Fagan in the Commitments. Photo: Frank McGrath
Actor Johnny Murphy who played Joey 'the Lips' Fagan in the Commitments. Photo: Frank McGrath

Actress Maria Doyle-Kennedy posted on her Twitter page: “Johnny Murphy. Gentleman” while Irish ‘Titanic’ actor Liam Tuohy said it was “so sad.”

“RIP Johnny Murphy. The Commitments’ ‘Joey the Lips’ lives forever in our hearts,” he said.

Echoing the comments, Oscar-winner Glen Hansard made his tribute to the “great Johnny Murphy.”

He said: “A beautiful man, and a true gent. Bless you Johnny.”

One of the most popular characters in the hit movie The Commitments by Alan Parker, the director originally wanted either Van Morrison or Rory Gallagher for the role – but he went with Murphy in the end.

He saw him as a mentor to the much younger and inexperienced cast, which included Glen Hansard, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Andrew Strong and Angelina Ball.

A funeral will take place on Friday, the family have said.

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