Dan O'Herlihy

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Dan O'Herlihy
Dan O'Herlihy 1955.JPG
O'Herlihy in 1956
Daniel Peter O'Herlihy

(1919-05-01)May 1, 1919
DiedFebruary 17, 2005(2005-02-17) (aged 85)
Malibu, California, U.S.
Alma materUniversity College Dublin
Years active1944–1998
Political partyDemocratic
Elsa Bennett
(m. 1945; his death 2005)

Daniel Peter O'Herlihy (May 1, 1919 – February 17, 2005) was an Irish-born American film actor, known for such roles as Brigadier General Warren A. "Blackie" Black in Fail Safe, Marshal Ney in Waterloo, Conal Cochran in Halloween III: Season of the Witch, "The Old Man" in RoboCop, Grig in The Last Starfighter, and Andrew Packard in Twin Peaks.[1] He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor for the 1954 film Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.[2]

Early life[edit]

O'Herlihy was born in Wexford, Ireland in 1919. His family moved to Dublin when he was at a young age. He was educated at Christian Brothers College in Dún Laoghaire and later studied at University College Dublin, graduating in 1944 with a degree in architecture.[2]


O'Herlihy's first acting role came in 1944, when he played the lead in the play, Red Roses For Me, written and directed by Seán O'Casey. He first appeared in film in Carol Reed's Odd Man Out in 1947.[3] His first American film role was as Macduff in Orson Welles' version of Macbeth (1948).[3] In 1952, he starred in the Red Scare film Invasion, U.S.A. and, in 1954 in Luis Buñuel's Robinson Crusoe, which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.[3] O'Herlihy recalled that the producers of the film wanted Buñuel to use Orson Welles for the role, with Buñuel refusing, saying he was too big and too fat.[3] They arranged a screening of Welles' Macbeth to show how a bearded Welles would look but Buñuel demanded O'Herlihy who appeared in the film.[4]

O'Herlihy was later featured in The Young Land in 1959 as Judge Millard Isham. In 1960, he played Sir Harry Ivers, an upper-class English drifter who joins Alan Ladd in a plot to ruin an Arizona cattle town by robbing its bank in the western One Foot in Hell. In 1964, he starred in Fail Safe in the role of General Black, or "Blackie". In 1969, he was cast in The Big Cube and 100 Rifles. In 1970, he starred in the epic Waterloo, playing the part of Michel Ney, the marshal of France. In 1982, he starred in Halloween III: Season of the Witch as Conal Cochran and in 1984, he appeared in The Last Starfighter as Grig, Alex Rogan's reptilian copilot, navigator, and sidekick. In 1986's The Whoopee Boys he played a judge and in 1987, he appeared in RoboCop as "The Old Man". That same year, he was cast in John Huston's The Dead. In 1990, he appeared in RoboCop 2, the sequel to the 1987 film.

O'Herlihy had a fairly extensive career in television, having appeared on Rawhide, The DuPont Show with June Allyson, Adventures in Paradise, and Target: The Corruptors!. He portrayed Larry "Ace" Banner in the first season of The Untouchables in the episode titled "The Big Squeeze". He was cast as Stephen Jordan in the last season of Checkmate episode " "Referendum on Murder". He also appeared on The Americans and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. in the episodes "The Fiddlesticks Affair" and "The Yo-Ho-Ho and a Bottle of Rum Affair" and on Route 66 in the episode "To Walk with the Serpent". In 1962, he was cast as Glenn Kassin in "The Earth Mover" episode of Empire. He appeared on Bonanza (Episode: "The Artist" as Matthew Raine).

In 1963–1964, he was in The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters. On The Long, Hot Summer, O'Herlihy became the lead star, having replaced Edmond O'Brien in the part of Will Varner midway through the program's one-season run. In 1966, he appeared in the episode "Have You Seen the Aurora Borealis?" of The Road West, starring Barry Sullivan. In 1974, he appeared in QB VII and played the Senior American Officer, Col. Max Dodd in the second series of BBC's POW drama Colditz. In 1976, he guest-starred in an episode of Gibbsville. In 1978, he guest-starred in the second part of the Battlestar Galactica episode "Gun on Ice Planet Zero" as Dr. Ravishol. O'Herlihy also portrayed the ill-fated lumber tycoon Andrew Packard in the cult television program Twin Peaks (1991) and in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Deep Freeze", voicing the villainous theme park mogul Grant Walker. In 1998, O'Herlihy acted in his last film, The Rat Pack, playing Joseph P. Kennedy Sr..[4]

Personal life[edit]

Dan O'Herlihy married Elsie Bennett in 1945. He was the brother of director Michael O'Herlihy (1929–1997) and the father of actor Gavan O'Herlihy, visual artist Olwen O'Herlihy, and architect Lorcan O'Herlihy. He and his wife had 9 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. One grandchild, Mica O'Herlihy, is a filmmaker whose work has been shown at the Sundance Film Festival. Another, Alana O'Herlihy is a photographer and director who has collaborated with Miley Cyrus. O'Herlihy became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1983.[5] He was a Democrat.[citation needed]

Later life and death[edit]

O'Herlihy died of natural causes in Malibu, California in 2005, aged 85. His personal papers are held in the University College Dublin Archives.

Complete filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Maurer, Mark (15 October 2014). "The 5 Actors 'Twin Peaks' Will Be Missing When It Returns in 2016". indiewire.com. Penske Business Media, LLC. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Dan O'Herlihy". ucd.ie. Archived from the original on 12 March 2015. Retrieved September 3, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d McLellan, Dennis (2005-02-19). "Daniel O'Herlihy, 85; Irish Actor Was a Best Actor Oscar Nominee". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  4. ^ a b Vallance, Tom (2005-02-21). "Dan O'Herlihy". The Independent. Retrieved 2017-11-04.
  5. ^ ancestry.com; accessed September 3, 2015. http://interactive.ancestrylibrary.com/3998/40735_1220706418_0330-01784/786801?backurl=http%3a%2f%2fsearch.ancestrylibrary.com%2f%2fcgi-bin%2fsse.dll%3fgss%3dangs-c%26new%3d1%26rank%3d1%26gsfn%3dDaniel%26gsln%3dO%2527Herlihy%26msbdy%3d1919%26MSAV%3d0%26uidh%3d57k%26pcat%3dIMG_CITIZENSHIP%26h%3d786801%26recoff%3d8%2b10%26db%3dLosAngelsCANaturalization%26indiv%3d1%26ml_rpos%3d1&ssrc=&backlabel=ReturnRecord[dead link]

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