Cyril Cusack

Cyril James Cusack[1] (26 November 1910 – 7 October 1993) was an Irish[2][3] stage and screen actor with a career that spanned more than 70 years. During his lifetime, he was considered one of Ireland’s finest thespians,[4] and was renowned for his interpretations of both classical and contemporary theatre, including Shakespearean roles as a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and over 60 productions for the Abbey Theatre, of which he was a lifelong member. In 2020, Cusack was ranked at number 14 on The Irish Times' list of Ireland's greatest film actors.[5]

Cyril Cusack
Cusack in The Italian Connection (1972)
Born
Cyril James Cusack

(1910-11-26)26 November 1910
Died7 October 1993(1993-10-07) (aged 82)
NationalityIrish
OccupationActor, voice actor, stage director
Years active1918–1993
Spouse(s)
(m. 1945; died 1977)

Mary Rose Cunningham
(m. 1979)
Children6, including Sinéad, Sorcha, Niamh, Pádraig and Catherine Cusack
RelativesRichard Boyd Barrett
(grandson)
Max Irons
(grandson)

Born to Irish parents in South Africa and raised in County Tipperary, Cusack dropped out of law school to join the Abbey Theatre and remained with the company for 13 years, acting in over 60 plays. In London, he performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal National Theatre, and later founded his own company which toured across Europe. Making his film debut at age 8, Cusack worked with many top British directors, including Powell & Pressburger, Carol Reed, Peter Brook, Peter Hall, and Anthony Harvey. He co-starred opposite Richard Burton several times, who once commended Cusack’s acting as “always himself and yet always totally different.” Fluent in both English and Irish, Cusack had a starring role in the very first Irish-language feature film, Poitín (1978).

He was the patriarch of the Cusack acting family, as the father of Sinéad Cusack, Sorcha Cusack, Niamh Cusack, Pádraig Cusack, and Catherine Cusack.


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