LEO Ward, a behemoth of the Irish cinema world, has died aged 94.
The businessman opened the iconic Savoy cinema on Dublin's O'Connell Street in 1983. He passed away peacefully yesterday in his home at Temple Gardens, Rathmines, Dublin, surrounded by family.
Leo was also a keen sportsman and played football for Manchester City before World War Two and Drumcondra FC when the war broke out. Using money from a testimonial match, he began investing in cinemas with his elder half-brother Kevin Anderson. Their first investment was the Premier cinema in Lucan which they bought in the 1950s for £18,000. The pair later began buying up cinemas around the country and set up an independent distribution company which allowed them to buy the Savoy and the Odeon on Eden Quay.
They created a €100m family-owned empire which has also invested in many other companies.
Mr Ward's wife Vera died in March 2004. A funeral notice said that he is sadly missed by his family, sisters-in-law, brother-in-law, grandson-in-law, nieces, nephews, relatives and friends. His removal will take place today from Fanagan's Funeral Home, Lower Kimmage Road, to Mount Argus Church.
The funeral will take place on Thursday at 10am in Mount Argus followed by burial in Shanganagh Cemetery.