Saturday 24 August 2019

Donleavy, bestselling author of The Ginger Man leaves over €2m in will

GIANT OF BOHEMIAN DUBLIN: The late JP Donleavy in 2011 outside his home on the outskirts of Mullingar. Photo: Gerry Mooney
GIANT OF BOHEMIAN DUBLIN: The late JP Donleavy in 2011 outside his home on the outskirts of Mullingar. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Liam Collins

Liam Collins

The bestselling author of The Ginger Man, JP Donleavy, has left more than €2m in his will.

The writer, who was a personal friend of hell-raising Hollywood actor Johnny Depp, lived most of his life in a stately home outside Mullingar, Co Westmeath, following the eventual success of his book based on characters in bohemian Dublin in the late 1940s.

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First published by a Parisian pornographer, The Ginger Man has since sold millions of copies worldwide. It chronicled the dissolute life of Sebastian Dangerfield, a character based on Gainor Crist, who along with Donleavy attended Trinity College in Dublin, funded by the GI Bill which paid for ex-servicemen to attend university after World War II.

New York-born Donleavy became a friend of writers like Brendan Behan, Tony Cronin and John Ryan, who first published his writing.

His books included A Fairy Tale of New York, the title of which was borrowed by Shane MacGowan for his classic song of the same name.

An unpublished novel A Letter Marked Personal left in a drawer of his library is due to be released in October.

According to a document lodged in the Probate Office last week James Patrick Donleavy, of Levington Park, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, who died on September 11, 2017, left estate valued at €2,116,874.

His occupation was not specified but as well as his being a successful author and painter he was also a landowner and farmer near Mullingar, an estate bought with the royalties of his most famous book.

At one time he indicated that he might have left Ireland but for the Charlie Haughey artists' tax exemption, which meant he did not have to pay tax on his author's royalties.

Donleavy, who died aged 91, had hoped to make a film version of The Ginger Man and had collaborated on and off on the project with Johnny Depp, who visited him at his home on the shores of Lough Owel outside Mullingar on a number of occasions. However the film remains unmade.

As a young man Donleavy married Valerie Heron and they had two children. He was married twice.

Sunday Independent

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