||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (February 2013)|
30 March 1926|
Buncrana, County Donegal, Ireland
|Died||15 June 1989
County Wicklow, Ireland
|Spouse(s)||Ronnie Masterson (1951–1989)|
Ray McAnally was born in Buncrana, a seaside town located on the Inishowen peninsula of County Donegal, Ireland. The son of a bank manager, he was educated at Saint Eunan's College in Letterkenny where he wrote, produced and staged a musical called 'Madame Screwball' at the age of 16. He entered a seminary at the age of 18 but left after a short time having decided that the priesthood was not his vocation. He joined the Abbey Theatre in 1947 where he met and married actress Ronnie Masterson.
The couple would later form Old Quay Productions and present an assortment of classic plays in the 1960s and 1970s. He made his theatre debut in 1962 with A Nice Bunch of Cheap Flowers and gave a well-received performance as George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, opposite Constance Cummings, at the Piccadilly Theatre.
On television he was a familiar face, often in glossy thriller series like Television series The Avengers, Man in a Suitcase and Strange Report. In 1968 he took the title role in Spindoe, a series charting the return to power of an English gangster, Alec Spindoe, after a five-year prison term. This was a spin-off from another series, The Fellows (1967) in which McAnally had appeared in several episodes as the Spindoe character. He could render English accents very convincingly.
McAnally regularly acted in the Abbey Theatre and at Irish festivals, but in the last decade of life he achieved award-winning notice on TV and films. His impressive performance as Cardinal Altamirano in the film The Mission (1986) earned him Evening Standard and BAFTA awards. He earned a second BAFTA award for his role in the BBC's A Perfect Spy (1987). In 1988 he won the BAFTA for Best Actor for his performance in A Very British Coup, a role that also brought him a Jacob's Award. In the last year of his life he portrayed the father of Christy Brown (played by Daniel Day-Lewis) in the Academy Award-winning film, My Left Foot (1989).
At the time of his death, he was due to play "Bull McCabe" in Jim Sheridan's film The Field, the part eventually going to Richard Harris (who would receive an Oscar nomination for his performance). McAnally had also been cast in the lead role of First and Last, a drama about a man who walked from Land's End to John o' Groats. Filming was almost a third of the way done when he died, but the whole play had to be re-filmed, with Joss Ackland taking the role instead.
McAnally had four children; Conor, Aonghus, Máire and Niamh. Conor is a producer, based in Texas, and Aonghus is a television presenter in Ireland.
- Sea of Sand (1958)
- Shake Hands with the Devil (1959)
- The Naked Edge (1961)
- Billy Budd (1962)
- He Who Rides a Tiger (1965)
- The Looking Glass War (1969)
- ITV Playhouse: The Pueblo Affair (1970)
- Quest for Love (1971)
- Fear Is the Key (1972)
- The Outsider (1979 film) (1979)
- The Sleep of Death (1981)
- Angel (1982 film) (1982)
- Cal (film) (1984)
- No Surrender (film) (1985)
- The Mission (1986)
- White Mischief (1987)
- Taffin (1987)
- The Sicilian (film) (1987)
- A Perfect Spy (1987) - TV series
- The Fourth Protocol (film) (1987)
- Empire State (film) (1987)
- A Very British Coup (1988) - British TV series
- High Spirits (1988)
- Jack the Ripper (1988 TV series) (1988) - TV movie
- We're No Angels (1989 film) (1989)
- Venus Peter (1989)
- My Left Foot (1989)