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Tributes paid to 'one in a million' actor Gerard Murphy

By • Belfast

Tributes have been paid to Northern Irish actor Gerard Murphy, who died from cancer on Monday (26 August 2013) aged 64.

Gerard Murphy in <i>Krapp's Last Tape</i> (2012)
Gerard Murphy in Krapp's Last Tape (2012)
Murphy, who was born in County Down, enjoyed a long and successful acting career that started at the Glasgow Citizens, where he returned in 2012 to star in Krapp's Last Tape.

Subsequent credits included acclaimed appearances with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Bristol Old Vic, Manchester's Royal Exchange, Northampton's Theatre Royal, Birmingham Rep, Theatre Clywd, Watford Palace and elsewhere.

On screen he was familiar from television's Dalziel and Pascoe, The Scarlet Pimpernel, McCallum and Trial and Retribution as well as Hollywood films including Waterworld and Batman Begins.

His last West End appearance was two years ago in Peter Hall's production of The Rivals at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket.

His agent Lynda Ronan told the Belfast Telegraph: "He was not only a wonderful actor but a dear friend to many people. Anyone who came across, worked or simply shopped with him, everyone had great time for him."

"He understood words probably better than anyone," she added. "He was a great actor, a wonderful director and an excellent translator."

Casting agent and friend Anne Henderson – who was among those at the actor's home when he died – told the paper he was "one in a million".

"We met in 1974 when I was a lowly assistant stage manager at the Citizens Theatre and he was a leading actor; we became good friends, which is rare," she said.

"He's been an inspiration, an incredibly talented person who always wanted to do something new. He never wanted to stay still."

In a 2007 interview with WhatsOnStage, Murphy revealed he was "appallingly shy" as a child. "I realised I was becoming very introverted so I thought I had better do something where I have to talk and express myself," he said.

"I went along to a local theatre and asked for a job. They thought I meant a job in the bar, but I told them I wanted to be an actor."

Of his time at the Citizens in the 1970s, he added: "I loved it. It was a very powerful theatre to be part of... Once I strayed into a bar in Glasgow which was quite rough. There was a group of guys who were looking at me like they wanted to kill me. I was nervous and then suddenly they started telling me that my theatre should do more plays by Seneca."

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