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Barry Fitzgerald

Barry Fitzgerald

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Also Known As: William Joseph Shields Died: January 4, 1961
Born: March 10, 1888 Cause of Death: complications from brain surgery
Birth Place: Dublin, IE Profession: actor, bookkeeping clerk

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Going from being one of the leading comedic performers of Ireland's highly respected Abbey Theatre to a second career as a much loved actor on the silver screen, Barry Fitzgerald did not adopt acting as a profession until middle age, but achieved far more in the next 30 years than most of his stage and screen colleagues. Establishing himself as a venerable and diverse character performer via his work in dozens of stage plays at home and on tour with the Abbey Players, Fitzgerald was soon appearing in movies based on his stage successes and quickly developed a reputation in this medium as an able performer. However, he scaled unexpected heights when cast as an irascible old Catholic priest in the Bing Crosby vehicle, "Going My Way" (1944), which earned him new levels of respect within the movie industry and notoriety with audiences. From that point on, he often played characters of differing profession but similar stripe: old, petulant and loveable. With his plucky demeanour, mischievous smile, natural warmth and soft brogue, the 5'3" Dublin native attained a level of fame unheard of for a character actor and became the only performer in Academy Awards history to receive Best Actor and Best Supporting...

Going from being one of the leading comedic performers of Ireland's highly respected Abbey Theatre to a second career as a much loved actor on the silver screen, Barry Fitzgerald did not adopt acting as a profession until middle age, but achieved far more in the next 30 years than most of his stage and screen colleagues. Establishing himself as a venerable and diverse character performer via his work in dozens of stage plays at home and on tour with the Abbey Players, Fitzgerald was soon appearing in movies based on his stage successes and quickly developed a reputation in this medium as an able performer. However, he scaled unexpected heights when cast as an irascible old Catholic priest in the Bing Crosby vehicle, "Going My Way" (1944), which earned him new levels of respect within the movie industry and notoriety with audiences. From that point on, he often played characters of differing profession but similar stripe: old, petulant and loveable. With his plucky demeanour, mischievous smile, natural warmth and soft brogue, the 5'3" Dublin native attained a level of fame unheard of for a character actor and became the only performer in Academy Awards history to receive Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor nominations for the same character in the same film.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Broth of a Boy (1959) Patrick Farrell
2.
 Rooney (1958) Grandfather
3.
 The Catered Affair (1956) Uncle Jack Conlon
4.
 Tonight's the Night (1954) Thady O'Heggarty
5.
 The Quiet Man (1952) Michaeleen Flynn
6.
 Silver City (1951) R. R. Jarboe
7.
 Union Station (1950) Inspector Donnelly
8.
 Top O' the Morning (1949) Officer Briany McNaughton
9.
 The Story of Seabiscuit (1949) Shawn O'Hara
10.
 Miss Tatlock's Millions (1948) Denno Noonan
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1911:
Became a bookkeeping clerk for the Board of Trade's Unemployment Insurance Division; gave up job in 1929 after 14 years of acting on the side
1915:
First walk-on part with the Abbey Theatre and took suitably Irish-sounding stage name (one story says that he let the Abbey Theatre pick his name so that the Civil Service wouldn't find out he was moonlighting)
1929:
Sean O'Casey wrote "The Silver Tassle" for him which led to his most famous stage role in O'Casey's "Juno and the Paycock"
1930:
First film as actor "Juno and the Paycock"
1932:
Broadway debut with the Abbey Theatre
1936:
Went to US to appear in John Ford's film of O'Casey's "The Plough and the Stars"
1944:
Under contract to Paramount
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Family close complete family listing

brother:
Arthur Shields. Actor.

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