Aideen O’Kelly

Aideen O'Kelly

Aideen O’Kelly


Aideen O’Kelly is a distinguished Irish actress now based in the U.S. who was born in Dalkey, Dublin in 1940.   She began her career in Dublin and in 1960 made her film debut in “Boyd’s Shop”.   Her other movies include “The Webster Boy” and “A War of Children”.   She has featured on American television on such shows as “Law & Order” and “Third Watch”.   She died in 2015.

“The Actor’s Fund” interview:

Actor Aideen O’Kelly Irish charm: Born in a small town about 12 miles outside Dublin, Ireland. Notables: Broadway production of Othello (1982) as Emilia with Christopher Plummer and James Earl Jones; Brian Friel’s Philadelphia Here I Come! (1994); the Nurse in Long Wharf Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet (1981), opposite Mary Beth Hurt’s Juliet and Peter Gallagher as Benvolio. Of her time at Dublin’s Gate Theatre: “I did some great classics with them,” working with founders Hilton Edwards and Micheál Mac Liammóir. “Micheál was a dream, a ladies’ actor. He sat and talked with me at length. We were rehearsing a play by Jean Anouilh in which he starred and Hilton directed. He could sit and talk to me for hours about Anouilh and French writers.”  Titania in A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream at the Gate:   “It was a beautiful production. The Gate was superb. It was very sophisticated at that stage concentrating mainly on new European plays and classics.” (The photo of Aideen at right is from the production.) On meeting Samuel Beckett: “He wanted to read with me—the play was Happy Days. My terror, even at my age, of having to read with Sam… During it, I was staring, because both eyes were staring into my face. With every muscle he was watching my face, no doubt. All of a sudden, right at the back of his eyes I could see something—in these amazing eyes—something was coming at me from the eyes, and there was a twinkle there… I started to giggle, and he said, ‘What are you laughing at?’ And I said, ‘At you, you’re very funny.’ Well, he slapped my knee and roared laughing, and he said, ‘That’s it!’ Apparently hardly anyone gets it—that it is funny. And his manager said, ‘You know, I’ve never known Sam at an interview to laugh like that, he was thrilled.’ And he was apparently thrilled with me, because I understood the play.” Advice for young actors: “There was one of the old, old actors, F.J. McCormick, who died too young, actually, he was one of the great ones, really great. I asked him, ‘F.J., I’ve done a few plays. Give me some advice.” And he just stared at me and he said, ‘Just listen.’ And I said, ‘Yeah…? Well…?’ He started to grin, ‘Yeah, listen.’ He was absolutely right. Because in life, you wouldn’t be able to interact at all with people unless you listen to what they’re saying to you, and on stage it’s the same.” Aideen is part of a very special community of unique individuals who reside at The Actors Fund’s Lillian Booth Actors Home. The Home is the jewel in The Fund’s housing crown and a recipient of U.S. News and World Report’s coveted “Best Nursing Homes in America” award, bestowed on the best 2,700 of the 17,000 facilities nationwide. Our 124 residents represent a diverse cross-selection of the entertainment industry – from stagehands to writers to producers and, of course, dancers and actors, too. Nearly every entertainment union is represented under one roof in Englewood, New Jersey. This interview originally appeared in Marquee, the official newsletter of The Actors Fund. Join The Fund today! Not only will you receive your own copy of Marquee twice yearly, plus all the benefits of membership, you’ll also play an important role in helping everyone in our creative community in times of need, crisis or transition and continue The Actors Fund tradition of caring for our own in entertainment.  Top photo: Joann Coates   – See more at:

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