Pauline Flanagan

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Pauline Flanagan (29 June 1925 – 28 June 2003) was a County Sligo-born Irish actress who had a long career on stage. American television audiences best knew her as Maeve Ryan's sister, Annie Colleary, on the soap opera Ryan's Hope in 1979 and again in 1981. She later returned to the show as Sister Mary Joel.


Her family was deeply political and supported the Republican (anti-Treaty) side during the Irish Civil War. Both of her parents, Patrick and Elizabeth (née Mulligan) Flanagan, both served as Lord Mayor of Sligo.[1] She was good friends with fellow Irish actresses Joan O'Hara and Paddy Croft. Flanagan spent much of the early 1950s touring with Anew McMaster, where she met Harold Pinter at the Gate's Pinter Festival.[2][3]


She appeared in many Broadway plays, starting in 1957 with Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood.[1] She starred in the 1976 Broadway revival of The Innocents.[4][5] She appeared on Broadway in Philadelphia, Here I Come! in 1994.[6]

She appeared Off-Broadway, several times with the Irish Repertory Theatre, including Juno and the Paycock (1995). She appeared in the Harold Prince play Grandchild of Kings at the Irish Repertory Theatre in February 1992,[7] receiving the 1992 Outer Critics Circle Award nomination for Best Actress.[8][9] Other Off-Broadway work included Yeats: A Celebration.[1]

She appeared in the play Summer, by Hugh Leonard at the Hudson Guild Theater, directed by Brian Murray. (Summer premiered at the Olney Theatre, Maryland, in August 1974.)[10]


A resident of Glen Rock, New Jersey, she died at The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, New Jersey one day before her 78th birthday of heart failure following a battle with lung cancer.[11] She was survived by her husband, George Vogel (whom she married in 1958), a sister, Maura McNally, and her daughters Melissa Brown and Jane Holtzen.[12]


In 1997 she won the Barclays Theatre Awards for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her role in Jennifer Johnston's Desert Lullaby, at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast.[13] (The Barclays Theatre Awards are for outstanding regional theatre (including opera and dance) in the UK.[14])

She was nominated for the 1982 Drama Desk Award, Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play for Medea in which she performed on Broadway in 1982.[15] In 2001 she won an Olivier Award, Best Supporting Actress, for her performance in Frank McGuinness' Dolly West's Kitchen at the Old Vic.[1][16]


  1. ^ a b c d Simonson, Robert. "Pauline Flanagan, Irish Character Actress, Is Dead" Playbill, 30 June 2003.
  2. ^ McGarry, Patsy. "Theatre world mourns Pauline Flanagan", The Irish Times, July 1, 2003
  3. ^ "The Countess Cathleen". Sleeve notes. Topic. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
  4. ^ "Pauline Flanagan Broadway Listing", accessed September 13, 2015
  5. ^ "'The Innocents' Broadway 1976"; accessed September 13, 2015
  6. ^ Philadelphia, Here I Come! 1994 ibdb, accessed September 13, 2015
  7. ^ Collins, Glenn. "Harold Prince Bound For Off Off Broadway, And Happy About It: Harold Prince Happily Bound for Off Off Broadway", The New York Times, February 13, 1992, p. C21
  8. ^ "Awards and Nominations, Irish Repertory Theatre"; accessed September 13, 2015
  9. ^ "Our History", accessed September 13, 2015
  10. ^ Leonard, Hugh. Summer: A Play, Samuel French, Inc., 1979; ISBN 0573618585, p. 4
  11. ^ "Final Curtain", The Irish Echo, 6 May 2003; accessed 17 September 2011; "Actress Pauline Flanagan, one of the pillars of New York's Irish Repertory Theatre and 2001 winner of London's coveted Laurence Olivier Award, died in the early hours of last Saturday morning, after having suffered a massive stroke on June 23.... It was, in fact, in the midst of one of these sojourns, guest-starring in playwright Tom Stoppard's Indian Ink at the Missouri Repertory Theatre in Kansas City that the actress became sufficiently ill that she had to withdraw from the play a week before its closing performance and return to her home in Glen Rock, New Jersey, only a few weeks ago."
  12. ^ Hurley, Joseph. "Pauline Flanagan a giant of New York's theatrical world",, 9 July 2003
  13. ^ "British Theatre News" Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine., 2 November, 1997
  14. ^ Webb, Paul. "Barclays Theatre Awards Shortlist Announced",, 24 September 2001.
  15. ^ Medea 1982 ibdb, accessed September 13, 2015
  16. ^ "Olivier Winners 2001", accessed 14 September 2015.

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