Rynagh O’Grady dead aged 67 – Father Ted star who played legendary Mary O’Leary dies suddenly

FATHER Ted star Rynagh O'Grady has died suddenly aged 67.

The Dublin actress was best known for her iconic role as Mary O'Leary from Craggy Island.

Her character was known for having blazing rows with co-star Patrick Drury, who played her husband John.

Rynagh trained in the Abbey School of Acting appeared in numerous productions at the Dublin theatre.

The Abbey Theatre said in a statement: "We were deeply saddened to hear of the sudden passing of our beloved friend and colleague Rynagh O’Grady. We are thinking of her family and all who loved her.

"Rynagh trained in the Abbey School of Acting and first appeared on our stages in 1969. Notable productions included Donal O’Kelly’s Mamie Sighs in 1990 and more recently in Deirdre Kinahan’s The Unmanageable Sisters."

The theatre also shared a tribute from director Graham McLaren, who said: "Rynagh O Grady, Her grace, Her talent, Her humour, Her integrity, Her patience.

"I'd sneak into the back row of the Abbey to watch her hush a hysterical audience with a look, then lead them through a speech full of heart, humanity & justice

"Irish theatre got a lot darker today.”


Fellow actor Bill Murphy also tweeted a tribute to his friend, writing: "So sorry to hear of the passing of our trojan woman and friend actor Rynagh O Grady.

"We served together on equity and more recently worked together,with the Abbey Theatre on dear ireland continues and abbey calling. Thunderous ovations to you Rynagh. You made your mark."

Rynagh played Mary – owner of the store on Craggy Island – between 1995 and 1998.

She previously spoke about her role on the hit comedy, saying: "I was thrilled to play Mary O'Leary in Father Ted. 

"Declan Lowney is one of the nicest directors I have worked with. Arthur and Graham wrote fantastic wacky scripts with this undercurrent of shocking truth. 

"We recorded it in front of a live audience in London, which was good as it gave us something to bounce off.'"

As well as Father Ted, Rynagh played Olive in the 1992 Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman movie, Far and Away.

She also appeared as Bernie's mum in 1991 film The Commitments and Mrs Coyle in the 2005 film Breakfast On Pluto with Cillian Murphy. 

Rynagh was married to musician Eamon Murray.

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