Sunday 18 February 2018

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

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).

Paul McGuinness

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.

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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