Vincent Hanley

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Vincent Hanley
RTÉ MT-USA Vincent Hanley.jpg
Vincent Hanley presenting MT-USA from New York City in 1984, three years before his death.
Born(1954-04-02)2 April 1954
Died18 April 1987(1987-04-18) (aged 33)
Dublin, Ireland
Cause of deathCerebral toxoplasmosis resulting from AIDS
Other namesFab Vinny
OccupationRadio and television presenter
Known forRadio presenting, MT-USA and his early death

Vincent Hanley (born in Clonmel, County Tipperary on 2 April 1954, died in Dublin on 18 April 1987[1]) was a pioneering Irish radio DJ and television presenter, nicknamed "Fab Vinny".[2] He worked mainly for Raidió Teilifís Éireann, and was the first Irish celebrity to die from an AIDS-related illness.[3][4] He has been described as "Ireland's first gay celebrity."[5]

Hanley began presenting pop music shows on RTÉ Radio Cork in 1976. He also did stints in Dublin on RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ television,[6] including a special on Gilbert O'Sullivan.[7] When the first dedicated pop station, RTÉ Radio Two (now branded 2FM), was started in 1979, he was one of its best-known DJs.[8][9] While in Dublin he shared accommodation with Charles Self.[10] In 1981, he moved to London to work for Capital Radio.[3] In 1984, he declined a lucrative offer to remain there and moved to New York City.[3]

Hanley founded Green Apple Productions in 1983 with Conor McAnally, an RTÉ television producer and son of actor Ray McAnally. The company produced MT-USA (Music Television USA), a three-hour-long music video show modelled on the new American cable channel, MTV.[6] MT-USA was broadcast on RTÉ from 1984–87 on Sunday afternoons. Each block of videos was followed by a segment filmed in New York City with Hanley introducing the videos, discussing American music and culture, and interviewing a celebrity.[6] RTÉ described him as Europe's first VJ (video jockey).[3]

In 1987, Hanley died shortly after his 33rd birthday.[1] He had been visibly ill for some time, and was rumoured to have an AIDS-related illness, which he denied.[11] This reflected the stigma then associated with the disease and with homosexuality in Ireland, which was not decriminalised until 1993.[12] The illness admitted by Hanley was congenital cerebral toxoplasmosis, described as an "eye disorder"; he was blind in one eye by his death.[9] Toxoplasmosis is very rarely fatal in adults who do not have a weakened immune system. In 2000, Hanley's friend and colleague Bill Hughes, who had himself come out in the 1990s, agreed that Hanley had in fact died of an AIDS-related illness.[12] The same year, the Sunday Tribune newspaper placed Hanley at the top of a list of Irish gay icons.[3]


  1. ^ a b "JB" (20 April 1987). "Vincent Hanley: an appreciation". The Irish Times. p. 8.
  2. ^ Kearney, Máire (21 July 2001). "Broadcast News". The Irish Times. p. 46. Retrieved 18 October 2007.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Irish gay icons". Sunday Tribune. 21 August 2000. Archived from the original on 13 November 2007. Retrieved 20 October 2007.
  4. ^ Richard Dwyer (10 December 2009). "Back to the 1980s?". forth. Archived from the original on 13 December 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
  5. ^ "Jan 2009, Issue 229". Gay Community News. January 2009. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2017.
  6. ^ a b c "Green Apple now reaping the harvest". The Irish Times. 13 October 1987. p. 19.
  7. ^ "Gilbert O'Sullivan: Television Appearances". Archived from the original on 20 April 2007. Retrieved 18 October 2007. Me and My Music, RTÉ Television [Ireland]. Broadcast: 6 Oct 1976. Gilbert is interviewed by Vincent Hanley and answers questions from fans in the audience.
  8. ^ "The new radio channel". The Irish Times. 30 May 1979. p. 12.
  9. ^ a b Brennock, Mark; Padraig Yeates (20 April 1987). "Hanley friends deny he had AIDS". The Irish Times. pp. 1, 8.
  10. ^ Collins, Liam (31 July 2016). "Unsolved crimes: Mystery blond holds key to solving brutal murder of RTÉ set designer". Sunday Independent. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  11. ^ Yeates, Padraig (20 April 1987). "Private grief versus public good". The Irish Times. p. 8.
  12. ^ a b "The love that is beginning to speak its name". Sunday Tribune. 21 August 2000. Archived from the original on 10 January 2016. Retrieved 20 October 2007.