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Dermot Morgan

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Dermot Morgan

Dermot Morgan
Born Dermot John Morgan
(1952-03-31)31 March 1952
Dublin, Ireland
Died 28 February 1998(1998-02-28) (aged 45)
Hounslow, London, England
Cause of death Heart attack
Resting place Deansgrange Cemetery, South County Dublin
Nationality Irish
Ethnicity Irish
Education University College Dublin (UCD)
Occupation Actor, comedian
Years active 1979–1998
Television Father Ted
Spouse(s) Susanne Morgan
Partner(s) Fiona Clarke
Children Three sons: 2 (Don & Rob) by Susanne,
1 (Ben) by Fiona

Dermot John Morgan (31 March 1952 – 28 February 1998) was an Irish comedian, actor and previously a schoolteacher, who achieved international renown for his role as Father Ted Crilly in the Channel 4 sitcom Father Ted.


  • Personal life 1
  • Father Trendy and The Live Mike 2
  • Kenny Live 3
  • Mr. Eastwood 4
  • Scrap Saturday 5
  • Father Ted 6
    • BAFTA Award 6.1
  • Unreleased works 7
  • Death and legacy 8
  • Appearances 9
    • Television 9.1
    • Radio 9.2
    • Film 9.3
  • References 10

Personal life

Morgan was born on 31 March 1952. His parents were Donnchadh Morgan, an artist and sculptor with a passion for dramatics, and Hilda "Holly" Stokes, a "celebrated beauty" from Dún Laoghaire. Donnchadh died young of an aneurysm, leaving Hilda with four children: Dermot, Paul, Denise, and Ruth; Ruth died in childhood.[1]

Dermot married Susanne Garmatz, a Hamburg native, and they had two sons: Don (born 1978) and Rob (born 1980).[2] He later began a relationship with Fiona Clarke, with whom he had another son, Ben (born 1993).[2]

Father Trendy and The Live Mike

Born in St. Michael's College, Ailesbury Road, played a range of comic characters who would appear between segments, including Father Trendy, an unctuous trying-to-be-cool Catholic priest given to drawing ludicrous parallels with non-religious life in two-minute 'chats' to camera. His other characters included a GAA bigot who would wave his hurley stick around aggressively while verbally attacking his pet hates. He lampooned the Wolfe Tones' song "A Nation Once Again" by singing about a dog who saves his Irish Republican Army (IRA) master by eating a grenade during a search by notorious British paramilitary unit the Black and Tans. When the dog farts and the grenade detonates, the British commented: "It must have been something he ate." The song climaxed with the words: "I hope that I shall live to see Fido an Alsatian once again."

Morgan's success led him to quit teaching and become a full-time comedian.

Kenny Live

Morgan's relationship with Kenny Live, a new Saturday chat show presented by Pat Kenny that was launched to fill a gap in the schedules when The Late Late Show moved to a new Friday slot. However, Kenny Live axed its comedy slot in response to negative public responses to the show's format.

Mr. Eastwood

Morgan branched out in December 1985 when he released a comedy single, Thank You Very Very Much, Mr Eastwood,[4] a take on the fawning praise that internationally successful Irish boxer Barry McGuigan would give his manager, Barney Eastwood, at the end of successive bouts. The single 'featured' lines by McGuigan, Ronald Reagan, Bob Geldof and Pope John Paul II,[5] and was the Christmas number one in the Irish singles chart in 1985.[6]

Scrap Saturday

Morgan's biggest Irish broadcasting success occurred in the late 1980s in the Saturday morning radio comedy show, Gerard Stembridge, Owen Roe and Pauline McLynn mocked Ireland's political, business and media establishment. The show's treatment of the relationship between the ever-controversial Taoiseach, Charles Haughey, and his press secretary, PJ Mara, proved particularly popular, with Haughey's dismissive attitude towards Mara and the latter's adoring and grovelling attitude towards his "Boss ... the greatest Leader, Man of Destiny, Statesman, Titan, a Colossus" winning critical praise.

Morgan pilloried Haughey's propensity for claiming a family connection to almost every part of Ireland he visited by making reference to a famous advertisement for

The Haughey/Mara "double act" became the star turn in a series that mocked both sides of the political divide, from Haughey and his advisors to opposition

In 1991, Morgan received a Jacob's Award for his contribution to Scrap Saturday from the Irish national newspaper radio critics.

Father Ted

Although already a celebrity in Ireland, Morgan's big break came over in the form of Frank Kelly played Father Jack Hackett, a foul-mouthed and apparently brain-damaged alcoholic, while child-minded Father Dougal McGuire was played by new Irish comedian Ardal O'Hanlon. In addition to the three priests was their housekeeper, Mrs. Doyle, played by Pauline McLynn, with whom Morgan had worked on Scrap Saturday.


Father Ted enjoyed widespread popularity and critical acclaim. In 1998 the show won a Father Noel Furlong, played by Irish comedian and future talk show host Graham Norton.[7]

Unreleased works

Morgan said in a 1996 interview with Hungary as the opposing side to Ireland – hence the title. At the time of his death he had completed the screenplay, but the film was never made.

Morgan's first project after Father Ted was set to be Re-united, a sitcom about two retired footballers sharing a flat in London. According to former manager John Fischer, Morgan was scripting the programme and planned to star as "an Eamon Dunphy-type who had gone on to work in journalism, but who had ended up living with an old football pal". Mel Smith was in talks for the role of the friend.[8]

Morgan had also been commissioned to write a drama series for the BBC.[9]

Death and legacy

The 'Joker's Chair', a memorial to actor Dermot Morgan in Merrion Square, Dublin
Dermot Morgan's Grave in Deansgrange Cemetery, south County Dublin

A day after recording the heart attack while hosting a dinner party at his home in south-west London. He was rushed to hospital but died soon afterwards.[10] His sister stated in an interview "He wasn't feeling great at the end of the meal and I went to the bedroom with him. He had a heart-attack and I didn't recognise it. From my limited training in first aid I wasn't sure exactly what was happening," said Denise. "The symptoms didn't match what the books said. I said to him. 'I think you are OK' and we went back to the table. He apologised for having left the room and the next thing he just collapsed. We tried to resuscitate him but it didn't work. He had a massive heart-attack."[11]

Frank Kelly said of his acting colleague: "Dermot's mind was mercurial. I think he was a kind of comedic meteor. He burned himself out".[12]

Morgan's Requiem Mass in St. Therese's Church in his native Mount Merrion, south Dublin, was attended by President of Ireland Mary McAleese, her predecessor, Mary Robinson, and by political and church leaders – many of whom had been the targets of his humour in Scrap Saturday. He was cremated at Glasnevin Cemetery, and his ashes were buried in the family plot in Deansgrange Cemetery.[13]

In a 2009 interview, comedian

  1. ^ Bunbury, Turtle. "A History of the Morgan Family - Father Ted's Forebears". Retrieved 8 July 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "My dad was Fr Ted (and I still miss him terribly)". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). 5 March 2009. Retrieved 5 March 2009. 
  3. ^ Dermot Morgan Internet Movie Database. Retrieved March 2011
  4. ^ a b Hayward, Anthony (2 March 1998). "Obituary: Dermot Morgan".  
  5. ^ New Island Books, 1998.
  6. ^ "The Irish Charts - All there is to know". 
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ Sweeney, Ken (23 July 2013). "Mel and Dermot had show lined up". Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  9. ^ Egan, Barry (1 Jun 2008). "The day the laughter died".  
  10. ^ "Ireland mourns comic talent as 'Father Ted' actor dies, aged 45 ". Retrieved February 2014.
  12. ^ "Father Ted star Dermot Morgan dies". Retrieved February 2014.
  13. ^ "Dermot Morgan Tribute". Retrieved March 2011.
  14. ^ "You killed Fr Ted; WHAT ARDAL SAID TO COMIC TOMMY AS THEY BURIED STAR DERMOT". Retrieved February 2014.
  15. ^ "DERMOT MORGAN – FEARLESS FUNNYMAN". RTÉ. 27 December 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2014. 






In December 2013, a special documentary called Dermot Morgan – Fearless Funnyman aired on RTE One.[15]


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