Father Ted actress Rynagh O’Grady, who memorably played Craggy Island shopkeeper Mary O’Leary on the show, has died at the age of 67.
The death of the Irish actress, who appeared in the 1995-1998 Bafta classic, was announced today in a statement from the Abbey Theater in Dublin.
Rynagh was also known for playing Bernie’s mother in The Commitments, and starred in roles in The Bill and Tom Cruise blockbuster Far and Away.
But her role in Father Ted, where she often appeared opposite the late Dermot Morgan, had an audience in tears of laughter.
The running joke would see her character Mary abusively arguing with her husband before pretending to be the pleasant, lovable couple when she saw the title priest.
One of her co-stars, Pauline McLynn, who played Mrs Doyle, simply put two words online: “So sad x”.
Tragic Loss: The death of the Irish actress, best known for her role as Craggy Island shopkeeper Mary O’Leary from 1995 to 1998, was announced in a statement from the Abbey Theater
Iconic Role: Although Rynagh became a nationally recognized name with her role in Father Ted, she was a star on the Irish theater scene
RIP: Father Ted star Rynagh O’Grady has died at the age of 67 (above as Mary O’Leary on the show alongside Patrick Drury as John O’Leary)
The Abbey Theater’s statement said: “We were deeply saddened by the sudden death of our beloved friend and colleague Rynagh O’Grady. We think of their family and everyone who loved them.
Rynagh was educated at the Abbey School of Acting and first appeared on our stages in 1969. Notable productions included Donie O’Kelly’s Mamie Sighs in 1990 and, more recently, Deirdre Kinahan’s The Unmanageable Sisters.
Graham McLaren, Director of the Abbey Theater said, “Rynagh O Grady, her grace, her talent, her humor, her integrity, her patience
“I would sneak down the back row of the abbey to see her calm down a hysterical audience with a look, and then lead them through a speech full of heart, humanity, and justice
“Irish theater has gotten a lot darker today.
‘We were honored that Rynagh read for the Abbey stage as part of Dear Ireland in August 2020. She will be missed very much. Rest in peace, dear Rynagh. ‘
Bill Murphy, fellow actor at the Abbey Theater, also tweeted a tribute to his friend and colleague, writing, “I am so sorry to hear of the death of our Trojan and friend Rynagh O Grady.
‘We have served together on equity and more recently have worked together. Thunderous ovations to you Rynagh. You have made your mark. ‘
Rynagh was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1954 and learned her trade at the Abbey School of Acting.
Praised: In 2017, Rynagh worked on Comedy Supervised that followed a group of former international superheroes who spent their twilight years in a retirement home in Ireland
Tribute: Bill Murphy, fellow actor at the Abbey Theater, also tweeted a tribute to his friend and colleague, writing, “I’m so sorry to hear of the death of our Trojan and friend Rynagh O Grady.”
Tribute: The director of the Abbey Theater, Graham McLaren, paid emotional tribute to his late friend