Monday 23 September 2019

'He was the most charismatic man you could meet' - Tributes to actor and activist Jer O'Leary

Campaigner: Jer O’Leary was a social activist. He was involved in campaigns to end homelessness and was at the May Day march in Dublin in 2003. Photo: RollingNews.ie
Campaigner: Jer O’Leary was a social activist. He was involved in campaigns to end homelessness and was at the May Day march in Dublin in 2003. Photo: RollingNews.ie
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

Actor Jer O'Leary, who starred in films including 'My Left Foot', 'Michael Collins' and 'Braveheart', has died peacefully at home.

The Dubliner, aged in his early 70s, was found on Christmas morning. O'Leary was well known on stage and screen and rose to fame for his stage portrayal of trade union leader Big Jim Larkin in 1975.

He appeared in more than 40 films and one of his more recent roles was in the TV fantasy series 'Game Of Thrones'.

His friend and agent Ann Curtis paid tribute to him as "a fabulous character and a Dublin wit with flawless delivery".

"He was the most charismatic man you could meet, and a gentleman too," she told the Irish Independent.

O'Leary's film debut was in Jim Sheridan's 'My Left Foot'. He also played Thomas Clarke in the 'Michael Collins' movie.

He was to become the only actor to work on all of Jim Sheridan's first five films that were shot in Ireland.

He was to go on and work on three films with director Neil Jordan. He acted in three major films with the renowned Daniel Day Lewis, shared the set twice with John Hurt and once with Richard Harris and Sean Penn.

O'Leary lived in North Strand in the north inner city of Dublin and was also well respected as a balladeer and folklorist.

He was also a political activist, first with Sinn Féin and later for the Communist Party.

His family suffered a tragedy 20 years ago when his son Diarmuid (22) was killed in a fire at a guesthouse in Glasgow.

Irish Independent

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