Noel Purcell (actor)
1999 commemorative stamp
23 December 1900|
|Died||3 March 1985
|Occupation||Film, television and stage actor|
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 Harrington Street Church. Within a few months, the Purcell family had moved to 12 Mercer St. Lower. In 1911, the Purcells were living at the same address, but the household was headed by Noel's maternal grandmother, Julia Hoban, a furniture dealer.
He lost the tip of his right index finger while making cigarette vending machines, a feature which was exploited for dramatic effect in the film Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) and was also missing his entire left index figure due to a different accident while he was an apprentice carpenter.
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). Purcell 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), these two films 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 World War II, 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 RTE 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."
- The Irish R.M. (1 episode, 1984)
- The Mackintosh Man (1973)
- The Onedin Line (1 episode, 1972)
- Flight of the Doves (1971)
- The McKenzie Break (1970)
- Never Say Die (1970) TV series
- Dixon of Dock Green (1 episode, 1969)
- Where's Jack? (1969)
- Sinful Davey (1969)
- I Spy (1 episode, 1967)
- The Violent Enemy (1967)
- Dr. Finlay's Casebook (1 episode, 1967)
- Drop Dead Darling (1966)
- The Saint (2 episodes, 1964–1966)
- Doctor in Clover (1966)
- The Avengers (1 episode, 1965)
- Lord Jim (1965)
- The Ceremony (1963)
- The DuPont Show of the Week (1 episode, 1963)
- The Running Man (1963)
- The List of Adrian Messenger (1963) (uncredited)
- Nurse on Wheels (1963)
- Make Room for Daddy (1962)
- Mutiny on the Bounty (1962)
- Three Spare Wives (1962)
- The Iron Maiden (1962)
- Johnny Nobody (1961)
- Double Bunk (1961)
- The Three Worlds of Gulliver (1960)
- Man in the Moon (1960)
- The Millionairess (1960)
- Make Mine Mink (1960)
- No Kidding (1960)
- Watch Your Stern (1960)
- Tommy the Toreador (1959)
- Ferry to Hong Kong (1959)
- Shake Hands with the Devil (1959)
- The Key (1958)
- Rooney (1958)
- Merry Andrew (1958)
- The Rising of the Moon (1957)
- Pretty Polly (1957)
- Doctor at Large (1957)
- Rockets Galore! (1957)
- The Adventures of Sir Lancelot (1 episode, 1956)
- The Buccaneers (1 episode, 1956)
- Lust for Life (1956)
- Moby Dick (1956)
- Jacqueline (1956)
- Doctor at Sea (1955)
- Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Presents
- Svengali (1954)
- Mad About Men (1954)
- The Seekers (1954)
- Doctor in the House (1954) (uncredited)
- Grand National Night (1953)
- Decameron Nights (1953)
- The Pickwick Papers (1952)
- The Crimson Pirate (1952)
- Father's Doing Fine (1952)
- Encore (1951)
- Appointment with Venus (1951)
- No Resting Place (1951)
- Talk of a Million (1951)
- Saints and Sinners (1949)
- The Blue Lagoon (1949)
- Captain Boycott (1947)
- Odd Man Out (1947) (uncredited)
- Ireland's Border Line (1939)
- Knight Without Armour (1937) (uncredited)
- Jimmy Boy (1935)
- Blarney (1926)
- Hal Erickson. "Noel Purcell - Biography, Movie Highlights and Photos - AllMovie". AllMovie.
- "Irish Genealogy". irishgenealogy.ie.
- 1901 census http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/pages/1901/Dublin/Royal_Exchange/Mercer_Street_Lower/1308193/
- "National Archives: Census of Ireland 1911". nationalarchives.ie.
- "1955 - 23/12 Noel Purcell having his beard Shaved for Pantomime 941-A2829.jpg - Irish Photo Archive". photoshelter.com.
- The Irish Times, "Noel Purcell dies in Dublin aged 84", March 4, 1985
- "Search Results Page". afi.com.
- "Noel Purcell". BFI.
- "Noel Purcell". bigredbook.info.
- The Irish Times, "Noel Purcell - 81 and still performing", (p.5), December 24, 1981
- The Irish Times, "Well deserved honour for Potter and Purcell", July 5, 1984
- Noel Purcell at the Internet Movie Database
- Noel Purcell's appearance on This Is Your Life
- Noel Purcell at Find a Grave