Noel Purcell (actor)
1999 commemorative stamp
Patrick Joseph Noel Purcell
23 December 1900
|Died||3 March 1985 (aged 84)|
|Resting place||Deansgrange Cemetery, Blackrock, Dublin|
|Occupation||Film, television and stage actor|
|Spouse(s)||Eileen Marmion (1941–1985) (his death) (4 children)|
Patrick Joseph Noel Purcell (23 December 1900 – 3 March 1985) was a distinguished Irish actor of stage, screen and television. He appeared in the 1956 film Moby Dick and the 1962 film Mutiny on the Bounty.
Patrick Joseph Noel Purcell was the son of auctioneer Pierce Purcell and his second wife Catherine (née Hoban) of 4 Ashbrook Terrace, South Circular Road, Dublin. He was born on 23 December 1900 and baptised six days later at St Kevin's Church, Harrington Street. Within a few months, the Purcell family had moved to 12 Mercer Street Lower.
In 1911, the family was living at the same address, but the household was headed by Noel's maternal grandmother, Julia Hoban, a furniture dealer.
Purcell was educated at Synge Street CBS. He lost the tip of his right index finger while making cigarette vending machines, and was also missing his entire left index finger due to a different accident while he was an apprentice carpenter, a feature which he exploited for dramatic effect in the film Mutiny on the Bounty (1962).
Stage-trained in the classics in Dublin, Purcell moved into films in 1934. He appeared in Captain Boycott (1947) and as the elderly sailor whose death marooned the lovers-to-be in the first sound film version of The Blue Lagoon (1949). He played a member of Captain Ahab's crew in Moby Dick (1956), Dan O'Flaherty in episode one, The Majesty of the Law, of The Rising of the Moon (1957), a gamekeeper in The List of Adrian Messenger (1963), and a barman in The Mackintosh Man (1973); the last two films were directed by John Huston.
In 1955, he was an off-and-on regular on the British filmed TV series The Buccaneers (released to American TV in 1956) and Purcell narrated a Hibernian documentary, Seven Wonders of Ireland (1959). In 1962, he portrayed the lusty William McCoy in Lewis Milestone's Mutiny on the Bounty. He played a taciturn Irish in-law to Lebanese American entertainer Danny Thomas' character Danny Williams in a 1963 episode of The Danny Thomas Show. In 1971, he played the caring rabbi in the children's musical drama Flight of the Doves.
Purcell also gained some recognition as a singer. Shortly after the Second World War, songwriter Leo Maguire composed "The Dublin Saunter" for him. He performed the song live for many years and later recorded it for the Glenside label. However, the recording was not a hit. As Purcell recalled many years later, "I don't think one person in the world bought it." However, over time it became one of the most favourite songs about Dublin, receiving countless air-plays on radio programmes. In his latter years, Purcell was asked by RTÉ journalist Colm Connolly whether he had received many royalties down the years. Purcell replied: "Not a penny. I recorded it as a favour for a pal, Leo Maguire, who'd written it. No contract or anything, so I never got a fee or any payments."
- Jimmy Boy (1935)
- Knight Without Armour (1937) as First Train Driver Trying to Clear Track (uncredited)
- Odd Man Out (1947) as Tram Conductor (uncredited)
- Captain Boycott (1947) as Daniel McGinty
- The Blue Lagoon (1949) as Paddy Button
- Saints and Sinners (1949) as Flaherty
- Talk of a Million (1951) as Matty McGrath
- No Resting Place (1951) as Garda Mannigan
- Appointment with Venus (1951) as Trawler Langley
- Encore (1951) as Tom, Captain (Segment "Winter Cruise")
- Father's Doing Fine (1952) as Shaughneesy
- The Crimson Pirate (1952) as Pablo Murphy
- The Pickwick Papers (1952) as Roker
- Decameron Nights (1953) as Father Francisco
- Grand National Night (1953) as Philip Balfour
- Doctor in the House (1954) as The Padre (uncredited)
- The Seekers (1954) as Paddy Clarke
- Mad About Men (1954) as Percy
- Svengali (1954) as Patrick O'Ferrall
- Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Presents (1955) as Willie Hosmer
- Doctor at Sea (1955) as Corbie
- Jacqueline (1956) as Mr. Owen
- Moby Dick (1956) as Ship's Carpenter
- Lust for Life (1956) as Anton Mauve
- The Buccaneers (1 episode, 1956) as Pat
- The Adventures of Sir Lancelot (1 episode, 1956) as Liam
- Doctor at Large (1957) as The Padre – Bartender
- The Rising of the Moon (1957) as Dan O'Flaherty (1st Episode)
- Merry Andrew (1958) as Matthew Larabee
- Rooney (1958) as Tim Hennesy
- The Key (1958) as Hotel Porter
- Rockets Galore! (1958) as Father James
- Shake Hands with the Devil (1959) as Liam O'Sullivan
- Ferry to Hong Kong (1959) as Joe Skinner, Chief Engineer
- Tommy the Toreador (1959) as Captain
- Make Mine Mink (1960) as Burglar
- Watch Your Stern (1960) as Adm. Sir Humphrey Pettigrew
- The Millionairess (1960) as Prof. Merton
- Man in the Moon (1960) as Prospector
- The Three Worlds of Gulliver (1960) as Capt. Pritchard (uncredited)
- No Kidding (1961) as Tandy
- Double Bunk (1961) as O'Malley
- Johnny Nobody (1961) as Brother Timothy
- Three Spare Wives (1962) as Sir Hubert
- The Iron Maiden (1962) as Admiral Sir Digby Trevelyan
- Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) as Seaman William McCoy
- Make Room for Daddy (1962) as Francis Daly
- Nurse on Wheels (1963) as Abel Worthy
- The Running Man (1963) as Miles Bleeker
- The List of Adrian Messenger (1963) as Countryman (uncredited)
- The DuPont Show of the Week (1 episode, 1963) as Meager
- The Ceremony (1963) as Finigan
- Lord Jim (1965) a Captain Chester
- The Avengers (1 episode, 1965) as Jonah Barnard
- Doctor in Clover (1966) as O'Malley
- The Saint (2 episodes, 1964–1966) as Brendan Cullin / Mike Kelly
- Drop Dead Darling (1966) as Capt. Daniel O'Flannery
- Dr. Finlay's Casebook (1 episode, 1967) as Alexander Craig
- The Violent Enemy (1967) as John Michael Leary
- I Spy (1 episode, 1967) as Fletcher
- Sinful Davey (1969) as Jock
- Where's Jack? (1969) as Leatherchest
- Dixon of Dock Green (1 episode, 1969) as Thomas
- The McKenzie Break (1970) as Ferry Captain (uncredited)
- Flight of the Doves (1971) as Rabbi
- The Onedin Line (1 episode, 1972) as Hennessy
- The Mackintosh Man (1973) as O'Donovan
- The Irish R.M. (1 episode, 1984) as O'Reilly (final appearance)
- "Irish Genealogy". irishgenealogy.ie.
- 1901 census, nationalarchives.ie. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
- "National Archives: Census of Ireland 1911". nationalarchives.ie. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
- "1955 - 23/12 Noel Purcell having his beard Shaved for Pantomime 941-A2829.jpg – Irish Photo Archive". photoshelter.com. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
- "Noel Purcell dies in Dublin aged 84", The Irish Times, 4 March 1985.
- "Noel Purcell profile". afi.com. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
- "Noel Purcell profile". BFI. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
- "Noel Purcell profile". bigredbook.info. Retrieved 4 May 2016.
- "Noel Purcell – 81 and still performing", The Irish Times, pg. 5, 24 December 1981.
- "Well deserved honour for Potter and Purcell", The Irish Times, 5 July 1984.