Daragh O'Malley

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Daragh O'Malley
Born (1954-05-25) May 25, 1954 (age 64)
Dublin, Ireland
Citizenship Ireland
Occupation Actor/Producer
Years active 1977–present
Parent(s) Donogh O'Malley
Hilda Moriarty
Awards MTA Award - Drama League Award

Daragh Gerard Marion O'Malley (born 25 May 1954) is an Irish actor, director, producer born in Limerick, Ireland on May 25th 1954. Among a myriad of TV appearances O'Malley is known for his portrayal of Patrick Harper in the long-running [1993-2009] Sharpe TV series with Sean Bean. O'Malley first appeared in roles in the iconic films The Long Good Friday and Withnail and I, leading guest roles in many UK television series including Tales of the Unexpected, Waking The Dead, Wire in the Blood, Silent Witness and Vera, and roles in Longitude, Cleopatra for ABC and The Magnificent Seven for CBS and in the US TV film Vendetta, as well as Camelot and Shaughnessy. O'Malley also played Irish explorer Tom Crean in the epic BBC 8 part television series The Last Place on Earth with Hugh Grant and Martin Shaw and Max Von Sydow.

In 2011, O'Malley turned his focus back to the stage and appeared in five stage productions in the UK in quick succession. He appeared as Father Jack in a revival of Dancing at Lughnasa, which was nominated for an MTA Best Production Award, and followed that by playing John Rainey in a London revival of Irvine's Mixed Marriage, which received positive reviews.[1] In 2014, O'Malley appeared as Big Daddy in a widely acclaimed production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at The Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester, for which he was nominated for an MTA Best Actor award.[2][3] UK's The Stage selected O'Malley's performance in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof as one of the Top Five Performances in UK theatre in 2014. In 2016, it was announced that O'Malley would play the screen legend Marlon Brando in the one man stage play "Brando" which is being developed by the Sundance Theatre Forum with The Brando Estate.


Daragh O'Malley was born in Holles Street Hospital in Dublin on May 25, 1954 to a politician, Donough, and a medical doctor Hilda (nee Moriarty)and was raised in Limerick and educated by the Jesuits at Crescent College and later by Carmelite monks at Terenure College in Dublin. O'Malley appeared as the lead in several student productions at Terenure College and of the cast of one of the school plays, Juno and the Paycock, five of the cast went on to become professional actors.

As a teenager O'Malley was a multiple winner of prizes for poetry recitation and public speaking - aged 14 he won the Deirdre Ryan Galassi Cup - an all aged national Irish public speaking competition. O'Malley's subject was The Life of Padraig Pearse

On the day that O'Malley was born, his father, Donogh O'Malley, an engineer, was elected to Dáil Éireann for the first time. Donogh O'Malley served as a TD for Limerick East from 1954 to 1968 and as his country's Minister for Health and later as Minister for Education, introducing a revolutionary Free Secondary and Third Level education system in Ireland, which is credited with the subsequent large upsurge in the Irish economy. On Donogh O'Malley's sudden death, aged 47, O'Malley became one of just a select few Irishmen who have been given a full Irish state funeral – others have included Michael Collins. O'Malley's funeral was attended by the then President of Ireland, Éamon de Valera who presided at the graveside.

O'Malley has seemingly been approached many times over the years by the Fianna Fáil party to put his name forward for election in his father's constituency, then Limerick East now Limerick City, but on each occasion O'Malley declined the invitation. On the Sam Smyth Radio Show in Ireland in 2004, O'Malley stated, "The stress of politics, one of the great performance arts, killed my father at 47 – while I would like nothing better than appearing in the great theatre that is Dail Eireann [the Irish Parliament] even for just one day, I feel the price one would pay is far too high. Politics I have discovered is a thankless business which ultimately ends in failure – no matter how well intentioned one is".

O'Malley was very friendly with actor Richard Harris, who was also from Limerick, Ireland. O'Malley's father was once engaged to Harris's sister Audrey but she died aged 21. O'Malley and Harris were often spotted together in hostelries around London and at rugby matches in the UK when Irish team Munster were playing - often with Peter O'Toole in tow - or in Kilkee in Ireland or at Dingle Races in Kerry, Ireland. O'Malley and Harris both had an interest in horse racing - Harris owned two racehorses - Cromwell and A Tramp Shining - O'Malley also owned two racehorses - Mustang Prince (Winner of 12 races) and Running Deer - a filly named after a character in Harris's film A Man Called Horse

O'Malley's mother, Hilda Moriarty, is the subject of Patrick Kavanagh's legendary love poem "On Raglan Road "

O'Malley was seemingly one of the last people to take a meeting with infamous Irish politician Charles J Haughey just before he died. Haughey, who was O'Malley's father,Donogh O'Malley's,best friend requested a meeting with O'Malley in his final days. O'Malley accepted the invitation and spent an afternoon in June 2006 with a very ill Haughey at his home in Dublin accompanied by Irish film producer Noel Pearson(My Left Foot). Haughey died three days later.

O'Malley studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, where he appeared as Creon in Antigone with US actress Amy Irving in his final year production. On leaving LAMDA O'Malley was a founding member of Common Stock Theatre Company, one of London's first community theatre groups, which was based in an old church on Pentonville Road in London – where Grimaldi The Clown is buried - and which took theatre to the poor of London's East End. A fellow founder member of Common Stock with O'Malley was Dame Harriet Walter

From 1993 to 2009, O'Malley appeared with Sean Bean in the iconic ITV series Sharpe which filmed in the Ukraine, Crimea, Portugal, Turkey, India and at various locations in the UK. Sharpe is considered to be one of the most successful British TV series ever made and having been digitalized is still seen in 120 countries around the world.It has been dubbed into many languages from Spanish to Hindi. Former British Prime Minister David Cameron's only job outside of politics was as the PR for Sharpe when he worked as Director Of Communications for Carlton Television who produced the series.

After Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing) was killed off from Dallas, he and O'Malley formed a partnership in the film production company European Motion Pictures.

O'Malley married Gabrielle (née Leavy) in 1993 in London.

In the mid-1990s, O'Malley was cast as Debra Winger's husband in the ill-fated feature Divine Rapture, which also starred Marlon Brando, John Hurt and Johnny Depp. The production spectacularly collapsed a few weeks into filming when Orion, the major Los Angeles production company backing the film, suddenly went bankrupt. O'Malley lived in Los Angeles for many years and after the collapse of Divine Rapture he remained close to Brando. O'Malley and Brando were working on a film version of The Merchant of Venice with Brando due to play Shylock when Brando died. On Brando's death the project was subsequently picked up with Al Pacino as Shylock but even though O'malley had worked on the production for three years O'Malley bowed out and was not involved in the production of the Pacino film.

In 2011, O'Malley returned to the stage, appearing as Father Jack in a UK production of Brien Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa and as Trade Unionist John Rainey in a much-acclaimed London production of Irving's Mixed Marriage. Michael Billington of The Guadian described O'Malley's performance as "magnificent" in "the most compelling play in London".

In late 2014, O'Malley appeared as Big Daddy in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" at Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre. O'Malley was nominated as Best Actor at The MTA Theatre Awards - MTA stated "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof seethes with unhappy people circling the central character, patriarch Big Daddy. Daragh O’Malley blisters his way through this famous role like a raging bull with great physical presence tempered by emotional vulnerability". The Times called O'Malley's performance as Big Daddy " towering in every sense of the word "

O'Malley is the voice of the iconic crooked lawyer Nick Virago in the multi-million-selling Lucas Arts CD ROM Grim Fandango. Also a voice actor and voice-over artist, O'Malley was for years the voice of the Utah-based Beneficial Life Insurance Company across North America.


O'Malley produced the Irish version of The Rocky Horror Show in Dublin; the show won numerous awards, including a Best Production Jacob's Award. Author Richard O'Brien described O'Malley's Irish production as "without doubt, the sexiest version of my show ever produced".

In Los Angeles, O'Malley won a Drama-Logue Best Actor Award for his 1998 performance as "Sweeney" in Patrick Marber's Dealers Choice at The Mark Taper Forum.

A one-off episode of the BBC Series Doctors, which was a two-handed episode in which O'Malley appeared with actor Christopher Timothy, won a BANFF TV Award.

In 2011, a production of Dancing at Lughnasa in which O'Malley appeared as Father Jack was nominated for an MTA AWard.

In 2015, O'Malley was nominated for an MTA Award and STAGE Best Actor Award for his performance as Big Daddy in Tennessee Williams Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Royal Exchange, Manchester.

In 2017 O'Malley was nominated for a West End Offie Award for his performance as the crooked police chief Ivan in the UK Premiere of Maxine Gorky's The Last Ones at The Jermyn Street Theatre

Charity work[edit]

O'Malley was founder of The Sharpe's Children Foundation,[4] a charity designed to fight poverty with education and take orphaned and destitute children off the streets of the third world and into residential primary education. The SCF was launched at Apsley House - home of the Duke of Wellington - in October 2010. Team India - sponsored by The Sharpe's Children Foundation and made up of children who lived in railway carriages at Delhi Railway Station and who played football in the railway yards - won The Street Children's World Cup in Durban, South Africa in 2010. The Sharpe's Children Foundation was chosen as World Charity of The Year in 2012 by Intellectual Property Magazine at a ceremony in The Connaught Hotel, London and was integrated with The Consortium for Street Children later that year.



  1. ^ Michael Billington (10 October 2011). "Mixed Marriage – review | Stage". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-08-23. 
  2. ^ Paul Vallely (2014-11-06). "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Royal Exchange Manchester, review: A compelling production". The Independent. Retrieved 2016-11-17. 
  3. ^ The Manchester Review - Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Royal Exchange, reviewed by Emma Rhys, http://www.themanchesterreview.co.uk/?p=4249, Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  4. ^ "The Sharpe's Children Foundation". causes.com. 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013. 

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