Dan O'Herlihy

Dan O'Herlihy


Also Known As
Daniel O'Herlihy
Birth Place
Wexford, IE
May 01, 1919
February 18, 2005
Cause of Death
Natural Causes


Character actor and idiosyncratic leading man who performed with the Gate Theatre and the Abbey Players in Dublin before immigrating to the USA, O'Herlihy filled up the screen with a long resume of grand performances in Hollywood films from the 40s to the 90s. An architecture student who turned to acting to earn money for college--He appeared in more than 70 plays on the Dublin stage an...


Character actor and idiosyncratic leading man who performed with the Gate Theatre and the Abbey Players in Dublin before immigrating to the USA, O'Herlihy filled up the screen with a long resume of grand performances in Hollywood films from the 40s to the 90s. An architecture student who turned to acting to earn money for college--He appeared in more than 70 plays on the Dublin stage and played the lead in the original production of Sean O'Casey's "Red Roses for Me"--O'Herlihy wound up working with notables including Orson Welles, Gregory Peck and John Huston after being discovered by British director Carol Reed and cast opposite James Mason in the 1947 thriller "Odd Man Out." O'Herlihy joined Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre and played MacDuff opposite Welles' "Macbeth" in both the stage and (1948) screen version of the play. On the U.S. stage he also appeared in John Houseman's "Measure for Measure" in Los Angeles, "King Lear" at the Houston Shakespeare Festival and "Mass Appeal" at the Drury Lane Theatre, while on-screen he appeared with his 'Macbeth' co-star Roddy McDowall in a low-budget adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's "Kidnapped."

He became best known for his title role in Luis Bunuel's "The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe" (1954)--he beat out Welles for the role, which earned O'Herlihy an Oscar nomination as Best Actor. O'Herlihy had a long and varied career as a versatile player, he was seen in Douglas Sirk's melodrama "Imitation of Life" (1959), in Sidney Lumet's Cold War drama "Fail-Safe" (1964), as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt opposite Peck in "MacArthur" (1977), as a homicidal toymaker in "Halloween 3: Season of the Witch" (1982), in full makeup as a lizardlike alien in "The Last Starfighter" (1984), the lead character Mr. Browne in John Huston's film version of the James Joyce story "The Dead" (1987) and as the villainous Old Man, the CEO of Omni Consumer Products, in "RoboCop" (1987) and its 1990 sequel--the latter films made O'Herily a favorite of sci-fi and fantasy genre fans. His final role had him playing Kennedy family patriarch Joe Kennedy in the HBO telepic "The Rat Pack" in 1998.

O'Herilhy's scores of TV credits included Doc McPheeters in "The Travels of Jamie McPheeters" (1963), town boss Will Varner in the series version of "The Long Hot Summer" (1965), The Director in 'A Man Called Sloane' (1979), intelligence agent Carson Marsh in "Whiz Kids" (1984) and as Alexander Packard in the David Lynch-created cult favorite "Twin Peaks" (1990).

The actor's brother was the Emmy-nominated television and film director Michael O'Herlihy. One of O'Herily's sons, Gavan, was the Irish National Tennis Champion and followed his father's footsteps into acting, playing lost brother Chuck Cunningham in the first season of the sitcom "Happy Days."



Cast (Feature Film)

The Rat Pack (1998)
Love, Cheat & Steal (1993)
Robocop 2 (1990)
The Dead (1987)
John Huston & The Dubliners (1987)
Robocop (1987)
The Whoopee Boys (1986)
Dark Mansions (1986)
The Last Starfighter (1984)
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Death Ray 2000 (1981)
The Director
Deadly Game (1977)
Good Against Evil (1977)
Father Kemschler
MacArthur (1977)
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Banjo Hackett: Roamin' Free (1976)
The Tamarind Seed (1974)
Fergus Stephenson
The Carey Treatment (1972)
[Dr.] J. D. Randall
The People (1972)
Waterloo (1971)
Marshal Ney
The Big Cube (1969)
Charles Winthrop
100 Rifles (1969)
How to Steal the World (1968)
Fail Safe (1964)
General Black
The Cabinet of Caligari (1962)
King of the Roaring 20's--The Story of Arnold Rothstein (1961)
Phil Butler
One Foot in Hell (1960)
Harry Ivers
The Night Fighters (1960)
Don McGinnis
The Young Land (1959)
Judge Millard Isham
Imitation of Life (1959)
David Edwards
Home Before Dark (1958)
Arnold Bronn
That Woman Opposite (1957)
Dermot Kinross
The Purple Mask (1955)
Hunters of the Deep (1955)
Narrated by
The Virgin Queen (1955)
Lord Derry
Bengal Brigade (1954)
Capt. Ronald Blaine
The Black Shield of Falworth (1954)
Prince Hal
Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1954)
Robinson Crusoe/Crusoe's father
Sword of Venus (1953)
Baron Danglars
At Sword's Point (1952)
Invasion U.S.A. (1952)
Mr. Ohman
Actor's Blood and Woman of Sin (1952)
Alfred O'Shea
Operation Secret (1952)
Lt. Duncan
The Blue Veil (1951)
Hugh Williams
The Desert Fox (1951)
Commando captain
Soldiers Three (1951)
Sergeant Murphy
The Highwayman (1951)
The Iroquois Trail (1950)
Lt. Blakeley
Larceny (1948)
Macbeth (1948)
Kidnapped (1948)
Alan Breck
Hungry Hill (1947)
Harry Brodrick
Odd Man Out (1947)

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

John Huston & The Dubliners (1987)

Cast (Special)

A Waltz Through the Hills (1988)
Hunter's Moon (1979)
Woman on the Run (1977)

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

QB VII (1974)

Life Events


Movie Clip

Home Before Dark (1958) -- (Movie Clip) Come Back And See Us First scene for Charlotte (Jean Simmons), collected by husband Arnold (Dan O'Herlihy) after a year's stay at the asylum, a nurse (Lillian Culver) not helping, early in Mervyn LeRoy's Home Before Dark, 1958.
Home Before Dark (1958) -- (Movie Clip) Never Mention It Again Home from her year's stay in the mental hospital, husband Arnold (Dan O'Herlihy) recommends a nap for Charlotte (Jean Simmons), who's worried that she may have insulted step-sister Joan (Rhonda Fleming), in Home Before Dark, 1958.
Imitation Of Life (1959) -- (Movie Clip) Foolish Together Single mom and aspiring actress Lora (Lana Turner), embarrassed by Christmas attention from Steve (John Gavin), as housekeeper/roommate Annie (Juanita Moore) takes a call from agent Loomis (Robert Alda), representing Edwards (Dan O'Herlihy), in Douglas Sirk's hit Imitation Of Life, 1959.
Big Cube, The -- (Movie Clip) Open, Adriana As improbable as anything in the LA counter-culture-clash melodrama The Big Cube, 1969, the opening scene in which Lana Turner portrays a legit theater actress, in a grand statement announcing her retirement from the stage.
Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe (1954) -- (Movie Clip) How True My Father's Prophesy Certain artful qualities seen in the opening, in Luis Bunuel's Mexican, made-for-export, wide-screen color adventure, Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe, 1954, starring Dan O'Herlihy.
Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe (1954) -- (Movie Clip) This Terrible Dream Now ill with fever, in his 11th marooned month, but still narrating, Dan O'Herlihy (title character) dreams of his father (also O'Herlihy), a freaky sequence from director Luis Bunuel's Adventures Of Robinson Crusoe, 1954.
Fail-Safe (1964) -- (Movie Clip) Nightmare, Opening Dan O'Herlihy, as "General Black," features in the nightmare sequence and opening credits to Fail-Safe 1964, directed by Sidney Lumet, starring Henry Fonda and Walter Matthau.
Fail-Safe (1964) -- (Movie Clip) This Is Our Chance! Knapp (Russell Collins), Colonel Cascio (Fritz Weaver) et al at missile command as the accidental American nuclear attack proceeds, Secretary Swenson (William Hansen) presiding in the war room, hawkish civilian Groeteschele (Walter Matthau) dominating, the president (Henry Fonda) sequestered, in Sidney Lumet's Cold War thriller Fail-Safe, 1964.
Fail-Safe (1964) -- (Movie Clip) Then We Must Toughen The Men While there's only a routine strategic alert in place, hawkish civilian nuclear war expert Groeteschele (Walter Matthau) is giving a previously scheduled talk to top military brass, jousting in particular with General Black (Dan O'Herlihy), in Sidney Lumet's Fail-Safe, 1964.
Kidnapped (1948) -- (Movie Clip) Of The Honest Party Fugitive David (Roddy McDowall) welcomes shelter from Scottish lass Aileen (Sue England), whose innkeeper father (Alex Frazer) feigns delight at meeting David's colleague Breck (Dan O'Herlihy), then attempts a betrayal, in Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped, 1948.
Imitation Of Life (1959) -- (Movie Clip) Title Song, Credits Earl Grant's vocal, Sammy Fain and Paul Thomas Webster's song, the especially evocative title sequence, from producer Ross Hunter and director Douglas Sirk's hit melodrama Imitation Of Life, starring Lana Turner, John Gavin, Sandra Dee and Juanita Moore.
At Sword's Point (1952) -- (Movie Clip) What A Pretty Boy! Introduction of Maureen O'Hara as the daughter of Athos, through two smart outfits, summoned to join the sons of the other "Musketeers" (Cornel Wilde, Dan O'Herlihy, Alan Hale Jr.) who are convinced she's good looking, if not that she's a girl, early in At Sword's Point, 1952.



Michael O'Herlihy
Director. Died on June 14, 1997 at age 69 in Dublin, Ireland.