Actor Noel O’Donovan was a mainstay of contemporary Irish theatre who also made memorable contributions to Ireland’s homegrown television and film industries as the country redefined itself in the years following its integration into the European Union in 1973.
Born in Cork, aged 17 he moved briefly to London where he took lessons with Joan Littlewood and worked backstage at the Saville Theatre before returning home to continue his training at the acting school of Dublin’s Abbey Theatre. He caught attention with the city’s Project Arts Centre and became a regular face on the Abbey stage and with Ireland’s leading touring companies.
His London appearances included James Plunkett’s The Risen People (ICA) and Peter Sheridan’s The Liberty Suit (Royal Court) in 1980. More recently, he cut a typically immediate figure as Git Miller in Jimmy Murphy’s The Kings of the Kilburn High Road for Red Kettle at the Tricycle Theatre in 2001.
Familiar on Irish TV, he was seen on British screens in EastEnders, Ballykissangel and Titanic: Blood and Steel. His few film credits included Jim Sheridan’s The Field and The Boxer and Ken Loach’s The Wind That Shakes the Barley.
Noel O’Donovan was born on December 6, 1949, and died on September 13, aged 69.