‘A powerful force’


By Irish Echo Staff:

A large circle of Malachy McCourt’s friends and admirers will gather at the Manhattan Club in New York City on Monday, Oct. 17, to celebrate his remarkable and varied life in the arts.

McCourt, who is 85, is being bestowed with the Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award by the Irish American Writers and Artists. The award has been given annually since 2009, on or near the birth date of the Nobel laureate O’Neill. The recipients so far have been the Irish Repertory Theatre’s Charlotte Moore and Ciaran O’Reilly, William Kennedy, Brian Dennehy, Patricia Harty, John Patrick Shanley, Judy Collins and Pete Hamill.

“Malachy has been a powerful force in the arts of Irish New York for decades,” said IAW&A President Larry Kirwan.  “With his acting and writing talent, his generosity of spirit, and his love of life and creativity, he is known as our organization’s ‘spiritual godfather.’”

Kirwan added: “Malachy came up with the idea of the IAW&A Salon and he reads and sings there every month, delighting audiences and encouraging emerging artists.”

The evening begins at 6 p.m and continues until 9 p.m.  The award ceremony and cocktail reception includes hors d’oeuvres, buffet dinner, and open bar. Tickets, which are $125, include one year of membership with the Irish American Writers & Artists. Buy them here.

McCourt has been an author and a star of film, stage, television and radio, as well as an activist and political candidate. He was born in Brooklyn, but taken to Ireland by his parents as a 3-year-old. He returned to New York City at age20.

McCourt has appeared on and off Broadway in “Mass Appeal,” “Da,” “The Hostage,” “Inherit the Wind” and “A Couple of Blaguards,” which he co-authored and starred in with his late brother Frank.  His TV credits include appearances on many soap operas and as a guest on “The Tonight Show,” “Conan O’Brien” and “The Late, Late Show.”  His movie career include roles in “The Molly Maguires,” “She’s the One,” “Devil’s Own,” ”Green Card,” and many others.  His books are his memoir “A Monk Swimming,” as well as a history of the song “Danny Boy,” a history of the Claddagh ring and “Malachy McCourt’s History of Ireland.”  He also co-hosts the radio show “Talk Back” on WBAI 99.5 FM.

Musician David Amram will perform at the event and McCourt’s son, filmmaker Connor McCourt, will present a short video of his father’s film and television appearances.  Celebrities from the worlds of film and theatre as well as previous O’Neill Award recipients will speak about McCourt’s career and achievements.

The Manhattan Club is on the 2nd Floor of Rosie O’Grady’s restaurant, 800 Seventh Ave. (at 52nd Street) just a few blocks north of where O’Neill was born on Oct. 16, 1888.

For more information on the IAW&A, visit the organization’s website and Facebook page. 

This article originally appeared in the Irish Echo on October 6th.