Wednesday 16 October 2019

Legend of the Irish stage Vincent Dowling (83) dies

Jerome Reilly

Jerome Reilly

VINCENT Dowling, the award winning theatre director and, at one time, one of Ireland’s best known actors, has died at his home in Massachusetts. He was 83.

Mr Dowling was mentor and advisor to some of the biggest names in Irish theatreand was credited with discovering Oscar winning actor Tom Hanks.

 

Born in 1929, the sixth of seven children, he first came to prominence in the 1950s playing Christy Kennedy, in the iconic and long running  radio soap, the Kennedy’s of Castleross.

 

He was a member of the Abbey Theatre and then became the Director of the national theatre.

 

But America called and he served as Artistic and Producing Director of The Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival in the 70s and 80s before returning  to the Abbey briefly, and unhappily, as its artistic director before returning to the US.

 

As a director his productions of the Playboy of the Western World throughout his career won international acclaim and his  production of the play for America’s PBS television won an "Emmy".

Actor Vincent Dowling at Dublin's Customs House. Photo: Tony Gavin
Actor Vincent Dowling at Dublin's Customs House. Photo: Tony Gavin

 

 Mr Dowling  also founded the Chester Theatre Company in 1990. He is survived by his wife Olwen  Patricia O'Herlihy Dowling, children and grandchildren.

 

The Director of the Abbey Theatre, Fiach MacConghail, said Vincent Dowling was an “actor's director.”

Actor Vincent Dowling at Dublin's Customs House. Photo: Tony Gavin
Actor Vincent Dowling at Dublin's Customs House. Photo: Tony Gavin

 

He added that he would be fondly remembered by many of the greats of Irish acting who worked with him.

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