Newry Doctor Who star Gerard Murphy dead
Newry actor Gerard Murphy, cousin of the late Sean Hollywood, died yesterday in England after a two and a half year battle with prostate cancer.
He was one of the most famous actors from Northern Ireland, starring on stage and screen. With an acting CV that boasts Doctor Who, Father Ted, The Bill and Batman, Gerard often played villains due to his imposing stature.
Stage and television work, notably with the Glasgow Citizens Theatre and Z Cars, Doctor Who, Minder, Heartbeat, Father Ted and The Bill led Gerard to secure prestigious Hollywood roles.
Perhaps his best-known film roles were as “The Nord” in Waterworld and as the corrupt High Court Judge Faden in Batman Begins.
Though Gerard’s work was based away from home, he was a frequent visitor back to his home city and was generous with his time, and encouraging of talent in Newry. He spent time with the performing arts students at SRC recently, and, although a little star-struck, they benefited enormously from his advice and encouragement.
Reacting to the sad news, Mayor of Newry and Mourne, Michael Ruane said, “I heard of the passing of Gerard Murphy with deep regret. He was truly a giant in acting circles, in stature, talent and personality.
“I extend my deep sympathy to his family and loved ones. I hope to be able to provide details at a later stage of how the Council will pay tribute to Gerard; his passing sees the loss of one of Newry’s most famous sons, and it will be fitting to mark his contribution in an appropriate manner,” he added.
SDLP Spokesperson for Culture, Arts and Leisure Karen McKevitt MLA also expressed her sadness.
Speaking to Newry Times, McKevitt said, “Although Gerard was born and grew up in Newry he began his acting career with The Citizens Theatre in Glasgow and soon became known around the world for his roles in theatre productions The History Boys and The Rivals and Hollywood Blockbusters Batman and Waterworld.
McKevitt added, “Gerard was an immensely talented actor and director and he will be remembered fondly by the people of Northern Ireland particularly in his hometown of Newry. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this difficult time.”
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