MARY Carr, the woman who married the disabled Dublin writer Christy Brown, best known for 'My Left Foot', was a lesbian, a prostitute and an alcoholic, who may have been responsible for his man-slaughter, according to a new biography of Brown which is to be published next week.
The controversial book, which has been written with the co-operation of some of Christy Brown's brothers and sisters, is by young English writer Georgina Hambleton.
Encouraged by Prof Declan Kiberd of UCD, she wrote a 20,000-word college paper on Christy while doing an English degree at UCD and got to know Christy's family. That paper was the genesis of this new book, based on extensive interviews with Christy's family and friends and on access to his papers and letters.
In the book, Hambleton describes how Christy met his future wife Mary Carr at a party in London in 1971. In the film, 'My Left Foot', the impression was given that Carr, originally from Kerry but living in London, was a nurse. In fact she had worked at one stage as a dentist's receptionist. But she did not hold down that job, or any other job, for very long because of her drinking and prescription drug abuse.
"The last shot of the film is of Christy and Mary sharing a bottle of champagne," the book says. "The caption afterwards tells the audience the date of their marriage. In typical Hollywood fashion, a happy ending was provided. However the truth about their marriage is rather different. In real life, Mary was a lesbian, a prostitute and an alcoholic."
Sean Brown, the writer's brother, says in the book that he knew for a fact that Mary was a prostitute. He says that when he
first met Mary in London in 1968 or 1969 she was the girlfriend of one of his female friends.
"They were living as a couple," Sean says. "Mary made her money by sleeping with people."
Sean believes the marriage was a "bad move" for Christy, for both his health and happiness.
"Christy loved her but it wasn't reciprocated, because she wasn't that kind of person. If she loved him like she said she did, she wouldn't have had affairs with both men and women," Sean says in the book.
After the marriage, Mary alienated Christy from his family by moving to Kerry and then to Somerset, Sean says. "She wanted him well away from his family.
I feel she took advantage of him in more ways than one".
The book says: "Mary and Christy would stay together until his death in 1981 and there were those close to Christy who believed that her alcoholism and neglect contributed to his rapid decline, even that she was responsible for manslaughter."
'Christy Brown -- The Life That Inspired My Left Foot' is the first authorised biography of Christy Brown. It will be published on November 15, price £15.99