Arthur Shields

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Arthur Shields
Arthur Shields.jpg
Shields in 1940
Born(1896-02-15)15 February 1896
Dublin, Ireland
Died27 April 1970(1970-04-27) (aged 74)
Resting placeCremated; ashes buried in Deans Grange Cemetery, Dublin
Years active1918–62
Bazie Morgan
(m. 1920; div. 1943)

Aideen O'Connor
(m. 1943; died 1950)

Laurie Bailey
(m. 1955)
FamilyBarry Fitzgerald (brother)

Arthur Shields (15 February 1896 – 27 April 1970) was an Irish actor on television, stage and film.

Early years[edit]

Born into an Irish Protestant family in Portobello, Dublin, Shields started acting in the Abbey Theatre when he was 17 years old.[1] He was the younger brother of Oscar-winning actor Barry Fitzgerald. They were the sons of Adolphus Shields, who "was well-known in Dublin as a labour organiser" although the 1901 census listed his occupation as "press reader", and Fanny Sophia Shields (née Ungerland), who was German.[2][3]

Irish nationalist activity[edit]

Along with six others of the Abbey Players, Shields fought in the Easter Rising of 1916. He was interned for six months[1] in the Frongoch internment camp in Frongoch, Wales.[4] His obituary in The Times of San Mateo, California, reported, "... upon his release he was decorated by the Republic of Eire."[1]


Shields returned to the Abbey Theatre and had a varied career there from 1914 to 1939 as actor, assistant director, director and stage manager. He appeared in many productions[5] ("more than 300 roles in 350 plays)[1] while he was there, three of the productions he appeared in were by Irish playwright Teresa Deevy 'The Reapers'[6] 'Temporal Powers'[7] and 'Katie Roche'.[8] Three times he brought the Abbey Company to the United States.[1]

Film and television[edit]

In 1936, John Ford brought him to the United States to act in a film version of The Plough and the Stars, and in 1939 Shields decided to live permanently in California, where the mild climate would help his tuberculosis.[9] Some of his memorable roles were in Ford films. Shields portrayed the Reverend Playfair in Ford's The Quiet Man, opposite John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara and his brother, Barry Fitzgerald. He played Dr. Laughlin in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon with Wayne and Joanne Dru, and appeared yet again with Wayne and Barry Fitzgerald in Ford's Long Voyage Home. His other films include: Little Nellie Kelly, The Keys of the Kingdom, The Fabulous Dorseys, Gallant Journey, The Shocking Miss Pilgrim, Drums Along the Mohawk, Apache Drums, Lady Godiva, National Velvet and The River.[citation needed] He also made television appearances including a 1958 role on Perry Mason as Dr. George Barnes in "The Case of the Screaming Woman" as well as a 1960 episode of Maverick starring Roger Moore titled "The Bold Fenian Men."

Birthplace of Arthur Shields on Walworth Road, Portobello

Personal life[edit]

Shields married Bazie Magee in 1920, and their son Adam was born in 1927. In 1943, the couple were divorced and Shields married Aideen O'Connor. Their daughter Christine was born in 1946. Aideen died in 1950. Shields' third marriage to Laurie Bailey in 1955 lasted until his death.[10]

Shields died of complications related to emphysema on 27 April 1970, in Santa Barbara, California. He was survived by his wife, a daughter, a son and four grandchildren. His body was cremated, with the ashes taken to his native city of Dublin[1] and buried with military honours in Deans Grange Cemetery.[11]



  • Your Show Time – 26 episodes – The Bookshop Man (1949)
  • The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure – 8 episodes – Boles (1956)
  • Perry Mason – episode – The Case of the Screaming Woman – Dr. George Barnes (1958)
  • Captain David Grief – episode – The Return of Blackbeard – Angus Macmor (1959)
  • Bat Masterson – episode – The Conspiracy: Parts 1 & 2 – Dana Ruggles (1959)
  • Maverick – episode – The Bold Fenian Men – Terence Fogarty (1960)
  • Wagon Train – episode – The Amos Gibbon Story – Judge Tremayne (1960)
  • Rawhide – episode – Incident of the Dust Flower – Sam Cartwright (1960)
  • Bonanza – episode – The Stranger – Dennis (1960)
  • Death Valley Days – episode – Loophole – Jebal McSween (1961)


  • The Reapers (1930)
  • Temporal Powers (1932)
  • Katie Roche (1936)


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Actor Arthur Shields Dies". The Times. California, San Mateo. United Press International. 28 April 1970. p. 2. Retrieved 25 September 2016 – via open access
  2. ^ McEvoy, Dermot (2015). Irish Miscellany: Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Ireland. Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. ISBN 9781632200099. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  3. ^ Cowell, John (11 October 1980). Where they lived in Dublin. O'Brien Press Limited – via Internet Archive. the son of an Irish father, Adolphus Shields, and a German mother, Fanny Ungerland..
  4. ^ Boylan, Henry (1999). A Dictionary of Irish Biography. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan. ISBN 0-7171-2945-4.
  5. ^ "The Abbey Theatre Archive".
  6. ^ "The Reapers · Teresa Deevy Archive". Retrieved 7 July 2016.
  7. ^ "The Teresa Deevy Archive".
  8. ^ "The Teresa Deevy Archive".
  9. ^ Irish Times obituary 28 April 1970
  10. ^ "T13 James Hardiman Library NUI Galway".
  11. ^ "Dublin Funeral For Character Actor Slated". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Texas, Lubbock. Associated Press. 28 April 1970. p. 27. Retrieved 25 September 2016 – via open access

External links[edit]