Malachy McCourt

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Malachy McCourt
McCourt at the October 2011 Occupy Wall Street
McCourt at the October 2011 Occupy Wall Street
BornMalachy Gerard McCourt
(1931-09-20) 20 September 1931 (age 91)
New York City
CitizenshipUnited States
Years active1950-present
ChildrenSiobhán and Malachy III (by first wife Linda), Conor and Cormac (by second wife Diana)
RelativesFrank McCourt (brother)
Alphie McCourt (brother)

Malachy Gerard McCourt (born 20 September 1931) is an American-Irish actor, writer, one-time pub owner, and politician. He was the 2006 Green Party of New York candidate for governor in New York State, losing to the Democratic candidate Eliot Spitzer. He is the younger brother of author Frank McCourt.

Personal life[edit]

McCourt was born in New York City, the son of Irish parents Angela (Sheehan) and Malachy McCourt.[1] He is the last survivor of their seven offspring, following the death of his younger brother Alphonsus in 2016. McCourt was raised in Limerick, Ireland, and returned to the United States in 1952. He has four children: Siobhán, Malachy III, Conor, and Cormac, the latter two by his second wife, Diana. He also has a stepdaughter, Nina. He was portrayed by Peter Halpin in the film version of his brother's memoir Angela's Ashes. He is also one of the four founding members of the Manhattan Rugby Football Club in 1960.[2] Malachy appears in Frank McCourt's second memoir 'Tis.

Film, stage, television, radio and music career[edit]

He has acted on stage, on television and in several movies, including The Molly Maguires (1970), The Brink's Job (1978), Q (1982), Brewster's Millions (1985), Tales from the Darkside as Dr Stillman in the "Ursu Minor" episode (2/10 - 1985), The January Man (1989), Beyond the Pale (2000), and Ash Wednesday (2002). He had appeared on three New York City-based soap operas: Ryan's Hope, Search for Tomorrow, and One Life to Live. He is also known for his annual Christmas-time appearances on All My Children as Father Clarence, a priest who shows up to give inspirational advice to Pine Valley citizens.

In the 1970s he hosted a talk show on WMCA.[3]

In 1970, McCourt released an album, And the Children Toll the Passing of the Day.[4]

McCourt at his home in March 2007

In recent years he has occasionally appeared on various programs on New York City's political radio station, WBAI. Among the shows on which he has appeared has been Radio Free Éireann. He is also a regular guest artist at the Scranton Public Theatre in Pennsylvania, having performed in Inherit the Wind, Love Letters and A Couple of Blaguards which he co-wrote with brother Frank McCourt. Currently, Malachy has been hosting a call-in radio forum on WBAI, airing on Sunday mornings at 11 am.[5] He also had a short-lived role as a Catholic priest on the HBO prison drama Oz. He was the owner of Malachy's, a bar on Third Avenue in New York. One of his frequent patrons was actor, and friend, Richard Harris, who although famous worked for a short time behind the bar for McCourt. McCourt played Francis Preston Blair in Gods and Generals (2003).


Malachy McCourt visiting Barnes & Noble Tribeca's yearly Tribute to James Joyce.

McCourt also wrote two memoirs titled, respectively, A Monk Swimming and Singing My Him Song, detailing his life in Ireland and later return to the United States where he operated a successful Manhattan tavern frequented by entertainment celebrities. He also authored a book on the history of the ballad Danny Boy. He also put together a collection of Irish writings, called 'Voices of Ireland'.


On Tuesday, 18 April 2006, McCourt announced that he would seek to become governor of New York in the November 2006 election as a Green Party candidate. Running under the slogan "Don't waste your vote, give it to me", McCourt promised to recall the New York National Guard from Iraq, to make public education free through college, and to institute a statewide comprehensive "sickness care" system. McCourt polled at 5% in a 10 October Zogby poll, versus 25% for Republican John Faso and 63% for Democrat Eliot Spitzer.[6] McCourt was endorsed by Cindy Sheehan, mother of a fallen soldier in the Iraq War.[7][8] The League of Women Voters excluded him from the gubernatorial debate.[9] He came in a distant third in the general election, received 40,729 votes (or just under 1%), 9,271 votes short of what was required to gain automatic access in the 2010 election.

Party political offices
Preceded by Green Party Nominee for Governor of New York
Succeeded by


Malachy McCourt reading James Joyce to audience at Barnes & Noble Tribeca.
  • "I Am Not Myself At All" essay in The Face in the Mirror: Writers Reflect on Their Dreams of Youth and the Reality of Age (2009) Victoria Zackheim, editor Prometheus Books ISBN 978-1-59102-752-2;
  • Bush Lies in State (2004) Sensei Publications ISBN 0-9755746-0-4;
  • Harold Be Thy Name: Lighthearted Daily Reflections for People in Recovery (2004) Carhil Ventures ISBN 978-1-56649-296-6;
  • History of Ireland (2004) Running Press ISBN 978-0-7624-3181-6;
  • The Claddagh Ring: Ireland's Cherished Symbol Of Friendship, Loyalty And Love (2003) Running Press ISBN 0-7624-2014-6;
  • Danny Boy: The Legend of the Beloved Irish Ballad (2003) New American Library ISBN 0-451-20806-4;
  • Voices of Ireland: Classic Writings of a Rich and Rare Land (2002) Running Press ISBN 0-7624-1701-3;
  • Singing My Him Song (2000) HarperCollins ISBN 978-0-06-019593-9;
  • A Monk Swimming: A Memoir (1998) Hyperion ISBN 0-7868-6398-6;
  • Through Irish Eyes: A Visual Companion to Angela McCourt's Ireland (1998) Smithmark Publishing ISBN 978-0-7651-0887-6.

A Monk Swimming[edit]

A Monk Swimming
AuthorMalachy McCourt
Publication date
Followed bySinging My Him Song 

A Monk Swimming (1998) is a memoir by Malachy McCourt of his life in Limerick, Ireland, and of his experiences when he came to America. The book recounts the journey and the many obstacles that McCourt had to overcome. After first working as a longshoreman, he was able to open a successful Manhattan tavern frequented by entertainment celebrities, and appeared on television talk shows, although neglecting his wife and child.

This memoir picks up roughly where Frank McCourt, the author's older brother, left off at the end of his Pulitzer Prize–winning Angela's Ashes. This book was written and published before the elder McCourt published his own sequels, 'Tis and Teacher Man.

Malachy McCourt's account of his early years in New York City and its surrounding areas lends a different, if not altogether more brusque, account of Frank and Malachy McCourt's respective returns to their native United States, and the migration of Michael and Alphie McCourt, from their native Limerick.

Some notable sections include:

The title is a mondegreen of "amongst women", a phrase from the Catholic rosary prayer, Hail Mary.

The book is dedicated to New York City politician, humanitarian, and fellow Irishman Paul O'Dwyer, who at the time of first publication had recently died. McCourt and O'Dwyer had been close friends and politically like-minded.


  1. ^ Dunleavey, M. P. (24 August 1997). "Another Angle on the Family McCourt". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  2. ^ Freeman, Allyn (19 October 2017). "Down Memory Lane – New York City Rugby 1975". Rugby Today. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  3. ^ Foley, Dylan (30 March 1998). "Up Next From McCourt Inc.: Brother Malachy's Memoirs". Observer. Retrieved 29 January 2018.
  4. ^ Malachy McCourt and the Children Toll The Passing of the Day, Mercury, retrieved 24 January 2017
  5. ^[dead link]
  6. ^ "Zogby Poll: Dems on Top in Major New York Races". Zogby International. 10 October 2006. Archived from the original on 3 January 2007. Retrieved 1 November 2006.
  7. ^ Benjamin, Elizabeth (3 October 2006). "Peace Mom For McCourt". Times Union. Albany, New York. Archived from the original on 26 November 2006. Retrieved 5 November 2006.
  8. ^[dead link]
  9. ^ "Green Party Candidates McCourt and Duncan Tour State, Debate Exclusion Fires Resolve to Reach Voters". Green Party of the United States. 3 October 2006. Archived from the original on 18 June 2013. Retrieved 30 June 2013.

McCourt in the news[edit]

External links[edit]

  1. ^ Quinn, Anna (17 March 2021). "Mayor Declares 'Malachy McCourt Day' For NYC Irish Author, Actor". Patch. Park Slope, New York. Retrieved 12 April 2021.