Vincent Hanley presenting MT-USA from New York City in 1984, three years before his death.
2 April 1954|
Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland
|Died||18 April 1987|
Cause of death
|Other names||Fab Vinny|
|Occupation||Radio and television presenter|
|Known for||Radio presenting, MT-USA and his early death|
Vincent Hanley (born in Clonmel, County Tipperary in 2 April 1954, died in Dublin on 18 April 1987) was a pioneering Irish radio DJ and television presenter, nicknamed "Fab Vinny". He worked mainly for Radio Telefís Éireann, and was the first Irish celebrity to die from an AIDS-related illness. He has been described as "Ireland's first gay celebrity."
Hanley began presenting pop music shows on RTÉ Radio Cork in 1976. He also did stints in Dublin on RTÉ Radio One and RTÉ television, including a special on Gilbert O'Sullivan. When the first dedicated pop station, RTÉ Radio Two (now branded 2FM), was started in 1979, he was one of its best-known DJs. In 1981, he moved to London to work for Capital Radio. In 1984, he declined a lucrative offer to remain there and moved to New York City.
Hanley founded Green Apple Productions in 1983 with Conor McAnally, an RTÉ television producer and son of actor Ray McAnally. The company produced MT-USA (Music Television USA), a three-hour-long music video show modelled on the new American cable channel, MTV. MT-USA was broadcast on RTÉ from 1984–87 on Sunday afternoons. Each block of videos was followed by a segment filmed in New York City with Hanley introducing the videos, discussing American music and culture, and interviewing a celebrity. RTÉ described him as Europe's first VJ (video jockey).
In 1987, Hanley died shortly after his 33rd birthday. He had been visibly ill for some time, and was rumoured to have an AIDS-related illness, which he denied. This reflected the stigma then associated with the disease and with homosexuality in Ireland, which was not decriminalised until 1993. The illness admitted by Hanley was congenital cerebral toxoplasmosis, described as an "eye disorder"; he was blind in one eye by his death. Toxoplasmosis is very rarely fatal in adults who do not have a weakened immune system. In 2000, Hanley's friend and colleague Bill Hughes, who had himself come out in the 1990s, agreed that Hanley had in fact died of an AIDS-related illness. The same year, the Sunday Tribune newspaper placed Hanley at the top of a list of Irish gay icons.
- "JB" (20 April 1987). "Vincent Hanley: an appreciation". The Irish Times. p. 8.
- Kearney, Máire (21 July 2001). "Broadcast News". The Irish Times. p. 46. Retrieved 18 October 2007.
- "Irish gay icons". Sunday Tribune. 21 August 2000. Archived from the original on 13 November 2007. Retrieved 20 October 2007.
- Richard Dwyer (10 December 2009). "Back to the 1980s?". forth. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
- "Green Apple now reaping the harvest". The Irish Times. 13 October 1987. p. 19.
- "Gilbert O'Sullivan: Television Appearances". Retrieved 18 October 2007.
Me and My Music, RTÉ Television [Ireland]. Broadcast: 6 Oct 1976. Gilbert is interviewed by Vincent Hanley and answers questions from fans in the audience.[dead link]
- "The new radio channel". The Irish Times. 30 May 1979. p. 12.
- Brennock, Mark; Padraig Yeates (20 April 1987). "Hanley friends deny he had AIDS". The Irish Times. pp. 1, 8.
- Yeates, Padraig (20 April 1987). "Private grief versus public good". The Irish Times. p. 8.
- "The love that is beginning to speak its name". Sunday Tribune. 21 August 2000. Retrieved 20 October 2007.[dead link]