Kathleen Ryan

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Kathleen Ryan
Kathleen Ryan in Odd Man Out.jpg
in Odd Man Out (1947)
Born(1922-09-08)8 September 1922
Dublin, Ireland
Died11 December 1985(1985-12-11) (aged 63)
Spouse(s)Dermod Devane (1944–1958)

Kathleen Ryan (8 September 1922 – 11 December 1985) was an Irish actress.

She was born in Dublin, Ireland of Tipperary parentage and appeared in British and Hollywood films between 1947 and 1957.


Kathleen Ryan was one of the eight children of Séamus Ryan, a member of Seanad Éireann and his wife Agnes Ryan née Harding who came from Kilfeacle and Solohead respectively in County Tipperary and who were Republican activists during the Irish War of Independence. They opened a shop in Parnell Street, Dublin in the 1920s which was the first of 36 outlets which were known as "The Monument Creameries". The family lived at Burton Hall, near Leopardstown Racecourse in the Dublin suburb of Foxrock. Her brother was John Ryan, an artist and man of letters in bohemian Dublin of the 1940s and 50's, who was a friend and benefactor of a number of struggling writers in the post-war era, such as Patrick Kavanagh. He started and edited a short-lived literary magazine entitled Envoy. Among her other siblings were Fr. Vincent (Séamus) (1930–2005), a Benedictine priest at Glenstal Abbey, Sister Íde of the Convent of The Sacred Heart, Mount Anville, Dublin, Oonagh (who married the Irish artist Patrick Swift), Cora who married the politician, Seán Dunne, T.D. When Kathleen was an undergraduate at University College Dublin, she was introduced to the future Dr. Dermod Devane of Limerick. They were married in the society wedding of 1944 and the couple had three children, but the marriage was annulled in 1958.

In 1954, Ryan was fined £5 for failing to stop at the scene of an accident. Ryan hit a man, Peter Kelliher, with her car near Tralee, County Kerry. Mr. Kelliher was parked in an Esso petrol station filling his car with water when Ryan erratically swerved into him, knocked him down and drove off without stopping. When the police traced Ryan that evening they found her relaxing in the bath. Mr. Kelliher's leg was amputated as a result of the accident. In a further insult to the victim, the court hearing where Ryan was fined was adjourned for three months to allow Ryan to finish the filming of Captain Lightfoot (1955).[citation needed]

As one of Ireland's great beauties of her time, she was the subject of one of Louis le Brocquy's most striking portraits, Girl in White, which he painted in 1941 and entered in the RHA exhibition of that year. The portrait (oil on canvas) is in the Ulster Museum collection. She died in Dublin, from a lung ailment aged 63 and was buried with her parents beneath an imposing statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, near the Republican Plot in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.


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