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sad loss Tributes pour in after actress who played one-half of iconic Father Ted couple dies aged 66

The couple were famous for putting on a nice front to Fr Ted and others when they met them, but when their backs were turned they started bickering, fighting and insulting each other.

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Rynagh O’'Grady

Rynagh O’'Grady

Rynagh O’'Grady

AN actress who played the legendary character of Mary O’Leary in Father Ted has passed away.

Tributes have been pouring in for Rynagh O’Grady (66), a celebrated stage star who is best known to the general public as one half of the fighting couple ‘John and Mary’ in the hit TV series.

The couple were famous for putting on a nice front to Fr Ted and others when they met them, but when their backs were turned they started bickering, fighting and insulting each other.

The couple ran a shop on Craggy Island, with John played by actor Patrick Drury. They were seen constantly devising ways to maim and kill each other, such as Mary threatening to stick a knife “up (John’s) arse”.

The Abbey Theatre today confirmed: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the sudden passing of our beloved friend and colleague Rynagh O’Grady. We are thinking of her family and all who loved her.”

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Rynagh O’’Grady with Patrick Drury on Father Ted

Rynagh O’’Grady with Patrick Drury on Father Ted

Rynagh O’’Grady with Patrick Drury on Father Ted

Rynagh trained in the Abbey school of acting and first appeared on their stage in 1969.

Notable productions included Donal O’Kelly’s ‘Mammy Sighs’ and more recently in Deirdre Kinahan’s ‘Unmanageable Sisters’.

The Director of the Abbey Theatre, Graham McLaren, who directed her in 2018 and 2019, paid tribute to her.

“Her grace, her talent her humour, her integrity, her patience. I’d sneak into the back row of the Abbey to watch her hush a hysterical audience with her look, and then lead them through a speech full of heart, humanity and justice. Irish theatre got a lot darker today,” he said.

Rynagh also read for the Abbey for the stage part of ‘Dear Ireland’ last August.

Other tributes have been paid on social media.

Bill Murphy noted: “So sorry to hear of the passing of our Trojan woman and friend actor Ryan O’Grady. We served together on Equity and more recently worked together with the Abbey Theatre on Dear Ireland continues and Abbey calling. Thunderous ovations to you Rynagh, you made your mark.”

Rynagh was born in Dublin in 1954 and also starred in numerous films including The Commitments, A Love Divided, Breakfast On Pluto, Widow’s Peak, Far and Away, The Lilac Bus, Moll Flanders and , A Love Divided, and TV shows such as The Bill and The Cassidy’s.

As well as with the Abbey, she has also toured with the Druid theatre, playing Madge in Philadelphia, Here I Come.

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