Maire O'Neill

Last updated

Maire O'Neill
Maire O'Neill 001.jpg
ca. 1913
Born
Mary Agnes Allgood

(1886-01-11)11 January 1886
Dublin, Ireland
Died2 November 1952(1952-11-02) (aged 66)
Basingstoke, England, UK
Other namesMolly Allgood
OccupationActress
Years active1905–1952 [1]
Spouse(s)
G. H. Mair (m. 19111926)

Arthur Sinclair(m. 19381951)

Maire O'Neill (11 January 1886 – 2 November 1952) was an Irish actress of stage and film. She holds a place in theater history as the first actress to interpret the lead character of Pegeen Mike Flaherty in John Millington Synge's controversial masterpiece The Playboy of the Western World (1907).

Contents

Life

Born Mary Agnes Allgood at 40 Middle Abbey Street, Dublin, she was one of eight children of compositor George and french polisher Margaret (née Harold) Allgood, [2] [3] she was known as "Molly". Her father was sternly Protestant and against all music, dancing and entertainment, [4] and her mother a strict Catholic. [5] After her father died in 1896, [6] she was placed in an orphanage. [7] She was apprenticed to a dressmaker. One of Allgood's brothers, Tom, became a Catholic priest.

Maud Gonne set up Inghinidhe na hÉireann (Daughters of Ireland) in 1900 to educate women about Irish history, language and the arts, and Allgood and her sister Sara joined the association's drama classes around 1903. Their acting teacher, Willie Fay, enrolled them in the National Theatre Society, later known as the Abbey Theatre. [8] Maire was part of the Abbey Theatre from 1906 to 1918 where she appeared in many productions. [9] In 1904, she was cast in a play by Irish playwright Teresa Deevy titled Katie Roche, [10] where she played the part of Margaret Drybone; there were 38 performances in this production.

In 1905, Molly met Irish playwright John Millington Synge, and they fell in love, a relationship regarded as scandalous because it crossed the class barriers of the time. In September 1907, he had surgery for the removal of troublesome neck glands, but a later tumour was found to be inoperable. They became engaged before his death in March 1909. Synge wrote the plays The Playboy of the Western World and Deirdre of the Sorrows for Allgood. [1]

Under her professional name Maire O'Neill, she appeared in films from 1930 to 1953, including Alfred Hitchcock's film version of Seán O'Casey's play Juno and the Paycock (1930). [8] She made her American debut in New York in 1914 in the play General John Regan at the Hudson Theatre. [11]

Marriages

In June 1911, she married G. H. Mair, drama critic of the Manchester Guardian, and later assistant secretary of the British Department of Information, assistant director of the League of Nations Information Office in Geneva, and head of the League of Nations office in London, with whom she had two children. He died suddenly on 3 January 1926. Six months later, she married Arthur Sinclair, an Abbey actor. They had two children but divorced. [8]

Her life suffered a full share of tragedies; she was crushed by her brother Frank's death in World War I in 1915, her fiancé Synge died before they married, her beloved husband died after 15 years of marriage, and their son died in an air crash in 1942. Her sister Sara's husband and baby died of influenza during the Spanish flu. Sara died two years before her; they had become estranged.

Death

She died in Park Prewett Hospital, Basingstoke, England on 2 November 1952, aged 66, where she was receiving treatment after being badly burned in a fire at her London home. [12]

In fiction

Joseph O'Connor's 2010 novel Ghost Light loosely is based on Allgood's relationship with Synge. [13] [14]

Partial filmography

Playography

Related Research Articles

Barry Fitzgerald actor

William Joseph Shields, known professionally as Barry Fitzgerald, was an Irish stage, film and television actor. In a career spanning almost forty years, he appeared in such notable films as Bringing Up Baby (1938), The Long Voyage Home (1940), How Green Was My Valley (1941), Going My Way (1944), None but the Lonely Heart (1944) and The Quiet Man (1952). For Going My Way (1944), he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and was simultaneously nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor. He was the older brother of Irish actor Arthur Shields.

John Millington Synge Irish playwright, poet, prose writer, and collector of folklore

Edmund John Millington Synge was an Irish playwright, poet, prose writer, travel writer and collector of folklore. He was a key figure in the Irish Literary Revival and was one of the co-founders of the Abbey Theatre. He is best known for his play The Playboy of the Western World, which caused riots in Dublin during its opening run at the Abbey Theatre.

Seán OCasey Irish writer

Seán O'Casey was an Irish dramatist and memoirist. A committed socialist, he was the first Irish playwright of note to write about the Dublin working classes.

Lennox Robinson Irish writer

Esmé Stuart Lennox Robinson was an Irish dramatist, poet and theatre producer and director who was involved with the Abbey Theatre.

Una OConnor (actress) actress

Una O'Connor was an Irish-American actress who worked extensively in theatre before becoming a character actress in film and in television. She often portrayed comical wives, housekeepers and servants.

Juno and the Paycock is a play by Seán O'Casey and is highly regarded and often performed in Ireland. It was first staged at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin in 1924. It is set in the working class tenements of Dublin in the early 1920s, during the Irish Civil War period.

Anna Maria Manahan was an Irish stage, film and television actress.

Arthur Shields Irish actor

Arthur Shields was an Irish actor on television, stage and film.

Sara Allgood Irish actress

Sara Ellen Allgood was an Irish–American actress. She was born in Dublin, Ireland to a Catholic mother and Protestant father. She first studied drama in Inghinidhe na hÉireann and was in the opening of the Irish National Theatre Society. In 1904, she had her first big role in Spreading the News and the following year was a full-time actress. In 1915 she toured Australia and New Zealand as the lead in Peg o' My Heart. On that tour, she married her leading man and they had a daughter 2 years later. Both her daughter and husband died in 1918. Her acting career continued in Dublin, London and on tour, including to the USA. She also appeared in a number of films and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1941. She moved to Hollywood to live in 1940 and became an American citizen in 1945.

<i>Juno and the Paycock</i> (film) 1929 film by Alfred Hitchcock

Juno and the Paycock is a 1930 British film written and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring Barry Fitzgerald, Maire O'Neill, Edward Chapman and Sara Allgood.

Mary Gordon (actress) Scottish actress

Mary Gordon was a Scottish actress, long in the United States, who mainly played housekeepers and mothers, most notably the landlady Mrs. Hudson in the Sherlock Holmes series of movies of the 1940s starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce. Her body of work included nearly 300 films between 1925 and 1950.

Macdara Ó Fátharta, Irish actor, is most famous for his role as the villainous publican Tadhg Ó Direáin on the long-running Irish language TG4 drama, Ros na Rún.

Harry Brogan Irish actor

Harry Brogan was an Irish actor often in comic roles. He was part of the Abbey Theatre from 1939 - 1976, he is sometimes referred to as Henry Brogan and also Enri O Brogain. His theatre production involvement can be found in the Abbey Theatre archives Brogan, Harry | Abbey Archives | Abbey Theatre - Amharclann na Mainistreach

Maureen Delany Irish actress

Maureen Barry O'Delany, professionally known as Maureen Delany and also billed as Maureen Delaney, was an Irish stage actress and screen actress of British films

Ria Mooney was an Irish stage and screen actress, artistic director of the Abbey Theatre (1948-1963) and director of the Gaiety School of Acting. She was the first female producer at the Abbey Theatre.

Teresa Deevy was a deaf Irish dramatist, known for her works for theatre, she was also a short story writer, and writer for radio.

Aine Ni Mhuiri actor

Áine Ní Mhuirí is an Irish actress. She began her career at Abbey Theatre in Dublin, Ireland. Áine is a fluent Irish language speaker.

Michael J. Dolan was an Irish actor known for Scrooge (1951), Captain Horatio Hornblower (1951) and Saints and Sinners (1949). He died on 21 October 1954 in Dublin, Ireland at the age of 70.

Mary "May" Cluskey was an Irish stage, film and television actress.

Shelah Richards, was an Irish actress, manager, director and producer.

References

  1. 1 2 E.H. Mikhail, ed. (1988). The Abbey Theatre: Interviews and Recollections. Barnes & Noble. p. 82. ISBN   978-0-389-20616-3.
  2. "General Registrar's Office". IrishGenealogy.ie. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  3. "National Archives: Census of Ireland 1911". Census.nationalarchives.ie. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  4. "Women's Museum of Ireland | Articles | Molly Allgood (Maire O'Neill)". Womensmuseumofireland.ie. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  5. Ruane, Medb (1991). Ten Dublin Women. pp. 15–20.
  6. "General Registrar's Office". IrishGenealogy.ie. Retrieved 12 January 2017.
  7. "Molly Allgood profile". Ricorso.net. Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  8. 1 2 3 Boylan, Henry (1998). A Dictionary of Irish Biography, 3rd Edition. Dublin: Gill and MacMillan. p. 3. ISBN   978-0-7171-2945-4.
  9. "The Abbey Theatre Archive" . Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  10. "The Teresa Deevy Archive" . Retrieved 4 December 2016.
  11. Madison Wisconsin State Journal p.6 (17 February 1914) Madison, Wisconsin.
  12. Profile, Women's Museum of Ireland website; accessed 13 December 2015.
  13. "Ghost Light". Josephoconnorauthor.com. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
  14. "Brimming with sympathy and skill". The Irish Times. 5 May 2010. Retrieved 11 June 2011.