Ernest Gébler

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Ernest Gébler (31 December 1914[1] – 26 January 1998), sometimes credited as Ernie Gebler, was an Irish writer of Czech origin. He was a member of Aosdána.[2]

Early life[edit]

Gébler was born in Dublin, one of the five children of Adolf (or Adolphe) Gébler, a shopkeeper and musician of Czech Jewish origin who had married a Dublin theatre usherette.[3][4] The family moved to Wolverhampton in 1925.[1][3] In 1930 Adolf got a job with a Dublin light opera company and Ernest followed the rest of the family there in 1931.[3] Ernest worked backstage in the Gate Theatre in the 1930s.[2]

Later career[edit]

After his writing career took off with his first novel in 1946, Gébler enjoyed greater success with his novel The Plymouth Adventure (1950), which was made into a Hollywood film.[3] He was first married to Leatrice Gilbert (1924-2015), daughter of the actors John Gilbert and Leatrice Joy, whom he met in Hollywood; he was Leatrice's fourth husband. The couple moved to Ireland, got married and had a son John Karl (called Karl by Ernest but John by his mother). They were divorced in 1952,[3] and mother and baby returned to America.

In Dublin in 1952 Gébler met future novelist Edna O'Brien, then working in a pharmacist's shop.[5] After opposition from O'Brien's family, they moved to England, married in 1954, and made their home at Lake Park House, overlooking Lough Dan, in Co Wicklow.[6] They had two sons, Karl (later Carlo) and Sasha, who became respectively a writer and an architect.[5] The house was sold in 1955 to the poet Richard Murphy.[6] It was Gébler who introduced O'Brien to her first publisher, Iain Hamilton of Hutchinson.[7] and her literary career eclipsed Gébler's after her début novel The Country Girls in 1960.

The couple separated in 1964 and divorced in 1968,[8] with O'Brien eventually gaining sole custody of the children.[4] Both O'Brien and Carlo Gébler later wrote about Ernest's cruelty to the family. Gébler returned to Dublin in 1970, but also owned farmland near Lough Owel, and became friendly with his neighbour J. P. Donleavy.[9]

After a fall at home, Gébler was taken into care and his house in the Dublin suburb of Dalkey was sold.[10] He spent the last seven years of his life at Grove Nursing Home in Killiney, Dublin, where he died in 1998 of a bronchial infection, after several years with Alzheimer's disease.[3]


Works by Ernest Gébler
Title Type Year Notes Refs
He Had My Heart Scalded novel 1946[n 1] [2][11]
The Voyage of the Mayflower novel 1950 Historical novel based on the 1620 Mayflower voyage. Sold five million copies. Filmed in 1952 as Plymouth Adventure starring Spencer Tracy [2][13]
She Sits Smiling play 1954 Premièred at the Pike Theatre [2][14]
A Week in the Country novel 1957 [2][15]
The Love Investigator novel 1960 [2][16]
Eileen O'Roon play [2]
Why Aren't You Famous? teleplay 1966 For the BBC. Adapted from his play Eileen O'Roon. A German version was broadcast in 1969. [2][17]
Where Will I find what will Change my Life? teleplay 1966 [2][18][19]
Call Me Daddy teleplay 1967 "Armchair Theatre" episode on ABC broadcast 8 April 1967. Edited by Terence Feely and directed by Alvin Rakoff. Won the 1968 International Emmy for Entertainment. Expanded into his novel Shall I Eat You Now?. A German version was broadcast in 1970. Staged at the Project Arts Centre in 1975. [2][20][21][22][23][24]
The Old Man and the Girl novel 1968 [2][25]
A Little Milk of Human Kindness teleplay 1968 For London Weekend Television [2][26]
Women Can be Monsters teleplay 1968 "The Wednesday Play" on BBC One, 27 November 1968. Produced by Thames Television [2][27][28]
Shall I Eat You Now? novel 1969 Based on his teleplay Call Me Daddy. Released in the US as Hoffman, and filmed in 1970 also as Hoffman. [2][21][29]
Hoffman screenplay 1970 Based on his novel Shall I Eat You Now? [2]
A Cry for Help play 1975 Premièred at the Peacock Theatre, Dublin [2][30]
The Spaniards in Galway play [2]



  1. ^ WorldCat[11] and Carlo Gebler[12] say 1946; Donnelly incorrectly says 1944.[3]


  • Gebler, Carlo (2 May 2013). Father And I: A Memoir. Little, Brown Book Group. ISBN 9781405529341. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  • Kersnowski, Alice Hughes (2 December 2013). "Chronology". Conversations with Edna O'Brien. Univ. Press of Mississippi. pp. xvii–xviii. ISBN 9781617038730. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  • O'Brien, Edna (24 September 2012). Country Girl: A memoir. Faber & Faber. ISBN 9780571270941. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  • Woods, Michelle (2006). "Ernest Gebler and Edna O'Brien". In Laing, Kathryn; Mooney, Sinéad; O'Connor, Maureen (eds.). Edna O'Brien: New Critical Perspectives. Peter Lang. pp. 54–67. ISBN 9781904505204. Retrieved 7 August 2015.


  1. ^ a b Gebler 2013 p.21
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "Ernest Gébler(1915–1998)". Former members. Aosdána. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Donnelly, Rachel (3 February 1998). "Ernest Gebler: an emotional Dubliner". The Irish Times. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  4. ^ a b MacLeish, William H. (2 December 2001). "The Tyrant (review of Father & I: A Memoir by Carlo Gébler)". The New York Times.
  5. ^ a b Kersnowski p.xvii
  6. ^ a b Frances O'Rourke (2 June 2016). "A piece of literary history by Lough Dan for €3.5m". Irish Times. Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  7. ^ Brendan Lynch (2006). Parsons Bookshop: at the heart of Bohemian Dublin, 1949-1989. Liffey Press. pp. 51–52. ISBN 978-1-905785-11-7.
  8. ^ Woods 2006, p.55
  9. ^ James Patrick Donleavy (1 January 1986). J.P. Donleavy's Ireland: in all her sins and in some of her graces. Michael Joseph/Rainbird. pp. 164–165. ISBN 978-0-7181-2723-7.
  10. ^ Ronan Farren (23 September 2000). "Memories of a chaotic boyhood". Retrieved 3 April 2020.
  11. ^ a b OCLC 559611125
  12. ^ Gebler 2013 p.24
  13. ^ OCLC 290861
  14. ^ "She Sits Smiling". Playography Ireland. Irish Theatre Institute. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  15. ^ OCLC 1658836
  16. ^ OCLC 1015215
  17. ^ "Why Aren't You Famous? (1966)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  18. ^ "Recent Television". Spotlight (118, part 2): 1931. 1966.
  19. ^ "Where Shall I Find What Will Change My Life (1966)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  20. ^ White, Leonard (2003). Armchair Theatre: The Lost Years. Kelly Publications. pp. 19–20, 191–192, 212–214, 275. ISBN 9781903053188. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  21. ^ a b Woods 2006, p.61
  22. ^ "Early Television". Alvin Rakoff. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  23. ^ O'Mahony, Andy (21 April 1975). "Call Me Daddy at the Project". Over the Barricades. RTÉ Television. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  24. ^ "Call Me Daddy (1967)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  25. ^ OCLC 438268
  26. ^ "A Little Milk of Human Kindness (1968)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  27. ^ The Stage Year Book. Carson & Comerford Ltd. 1969. p. 124.
  28. ^ "Women Can Be Monsters (1968)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  29. ^ OCLC 37694
  30. ^ "Cry For Help". Playography Ireland. Irish Theatre Institute. Retrieved 7 August 2015.

Further reading[edit]

  • Carlo Gébler: **The projectionist : the story of Ernest Gébler, Stillorgan, County Dublin, Republic of Ireland : New Island Books, 2015, ISBN 978-1-84840-457-1

External links[edit]