Saturday 10 December 2016

Joke-teller, singer, guitar player - I'll miss my dear friend Paolo

Paul McGuinness

Published 08/06/2015 | 02:30

Paolo Tullio
Paolo Tullio
At the opening night of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ by Tennessee Williams at the Gate Theatre in Dublin in 1998 were (l-r) friends Paul McGuinness, Michael Colgan and the late Paolo Tullio.
Left to right: Paolo Tullio with John Streather being directed by Paul McGuinness in ‘Malcolm’by Edward Albee in the Trinity Players (1970).

I first met Paolo Tullio in October 1968, my first term at Trinity College Dublin. My best friend from school, Donnell Deeny, said to me one day: "There's a very unusual guy in my Legal Science class, I think you'd like him..." Donnell introduced us. The first time I saw the then-snake-hipped Paolo, he was wearing a gold lamé cape and carrying a silver-topped cane. He had a Fu Manchu beard and moustache - quite unusual garb, even for the year after the Summer of Love.

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We became friends immediately and spent a lot of time together over the ensuing 47 years. Donnell too. For the last 10 years we all have had a routine of going to the South of France for a few days at the end of January, just boys. Peter McKenna, gynaecologist, is the fourth member of our gang. We were there this year as usual and Paolo reviewed a couple of restaurants for this paper.

Paolo was unusually flush for an undergraduate. He had a sports car and a motorbike and after he moved out of his enormous family home in Booterstown, he had a cool pad in Herbert Street that he shared with the legendary Lothario from Teheran, Khosrow Fazel. There was a fair amount of partying, music and girls. Paolo was a good singer and guitar-player. He was a gifted joke-teller and as we made our way through Dublin University Players, he became the best actor of our generation. I directed him in a few shows including 'Malcolm' by Edward Albee (pictured opposite page).

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