Barry Fitzgerald (born William Joseph Shields; 10 March 1888 – 14 January 1961) was an Irish stage, film and television actor.[1] In a career spanning almost forty years, he appeared in such notable films as Bringing Up Baby (1938), The Long Voyage Home (1940), How Green Was My Valley (1941), None but the Lonely Heart (1944) and The Quiet Man (1952). For Going My Way (1944), he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and was simultaneously nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor.


Birthplace of Barry Fitzgerald on Walworth Road, Portobello, Dublin

Fitzgerald was born William Joseph Shields in Walworth Road, Portobello, Dublin, Ireland, the son of Fanny (Ungerland) and Adolphus Shields. His father was Irish and his mother was German.[2][3][4] He was the older brother of Irish actor Arthur Shields. He went to Skerry's College, Dublin, before going on to work in the civil service,[5] while also working at the Abbey Theatre. His career with the Abbey Theatre was from 1914–1936 where he was involved in numerous productions.[6]

By 1929, he turned to acting full-time. He was briefly a roommate of famed playwright Seán O'Casey[7] and starred in such plays as O'Casey's Juno and the Paycock and the premiere of The Silver Tassie.

Between 1931 and 1936, he appeared in three plays by Irish playwright Teresa DeevyA Disciple,[8] In Search of Valour[9] and Katie Roche[10]—which were also Abbey Theatre productions.

Fitzgerald went to Hollywood to star in another O'Casey work, The Plough and the Stars (1936), directed by John Ford.[3] He had a successful Hollywood career in such films as The Long Voyage Home (1940), How Green Was My Valley (1941), And Then There Were None (1945), The Naked City (1948) and The Quiet Man (1952).

In 1945, Fitzgerald achieved a unique Academy Awards feat. For portraying Father Fitzgibbon in Leo McCarey's Going My Way (1944), he was nominated for both the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (which he ultimately won) and the Academy Award for Best Actor;[3] voting rules were changed shortly after this occurrence to prevent further dual nominations for the same role. An avid golfer, he later accidentally decapitated his Oscar while practicing his golf swing. During World War II, Oscar statuettes were made of plaster instead of gold-plated bronze to accommodate wartime metal shortages. The Academy provided Fitzgerald with a replacement statuette.[11]

Fitzgerald returned to live in Dublin in 1959,[3] where he lived at 2 Seafield Ave, Monkstown. He died, as William Joseph Shields, in St Patrick's Hospital, James Street, on 14 January 1961.[12]

Fitzgerald has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for motion pictures at 6252 Hollywood Boulevard and for television at 7001 Hollywood Boulevard.[13]


Year Film Role Notes
1924 Land of Her Fathers
1930 Juno and the Paycock The Orator
1935 Guests of the Nation Captured of British Soldier
1936 The Plough and the Stars Fluther Good
1937 Ebb Tide Huish
1938 Bringing Up Baby Mr. Gogarty
Four Men and a Prayer Trooper Mulcahay
Marie Antoinette Peddler Uncredited
The Dawn Patrol Bott
1939 Pacific Liner Britches
The Saint Strikes Back Zipper Dyson
Full Confession Michael O'Keefe
1940 The Long Voyage Home Cocky With John Wayne.
The San Francisco Docks The Icky
1941 The Sea Wolf Cooky
How Green Was My Valley Cyfartha
Tarzan's Secret Treasure O'Doul With Johnny Weissmuller.
1943 The Amazing Mrs. Holliday Timothy Blake
Two Tickets to London Captain McCardle
Corvette K-225 Stooky O'Meara
1944 Going My Way Father Fitzgibbon Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Nominated–Academy Award for Best Actor
I Love a Soldier Murphy
None but the Lonely Heart Henry Twite
1945 Incendiary Blonde Michael 'Mike' Guinan
Duffy's Tavern Bing Crosby's Father
And Then There Were None Judge Francis J. Quinncannon
The Stork Club Jerry B. 'J.B.'/'Pop' Bates
1946 Two Years Before the Mast Terrence O'Feenaghty
1947 California Michael Fabian
Easy Come, Easy Go Martin L. Donovan
Welcome Stranger Dr. Joseph McRory
Variety Girl Himself
1948 The Naked City Detective Lt. Dan Muldoon
The Sainted Sisters Robbie McCleary
Miss Tatlock's Millions Denno Noonan
1949 Top o' the Morning Sergeant Briany McNaughton
The Story of Seabiscuit Shawn O'Hara
1950 Union Station Inspector Donnelly
1951 Silver City R.R. Jarboe
1952 Ha da venì... don Calogero! Don Calogero
The Quiet Man Michaleen Oge Flynn With John Wayne.
Lux Video Theatre Barry Flynn episode: The Man Who Struck It Rich
1954 Tonight's the Night Thady O'Heggarty
1955 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Harold 'Stretch' Sears episode: Santa Claus and the Tenth Avenue Kid
1956 The Catered Affair Uncle Jack Conlon
1958 Rooney Grandfather
1959 Broth of a Boy Patrick Farrell

Source: "Barry Fitzgerald". IMDb. Retrieved 9 October 2013. 

Radio appearances

Year Program Episode/source
1952 Lux Radio Theatre Top o' the Morning[14]

See also

References and sources

  1. ^ Obituary Variety, 18 January 1961, page 70.
  2. ^ "General Registrar's Office". IrishGenealogy.ie. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d Boylan 1999, p. 130.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Fitzgerald, Barry - International Dictionary of Film and Filmmakers, (2000) by Anthony Slide
  6. ^ "Abbey Theatre Archives". 
  7. ^ Allmovie Barry Fitzgerald biography
  8. ^ "Teresa Deevy Archive". 
  9. ^ "Teresa Deevy Archive". 
  10. ^ "Teresa Deevy Archive". 
  11. ^ The Only Oscar Winner to Destroy His Academy Award With a Golf Club - Barry Fitzgerald. 1945
  12. ^ "General Registrar's Office". IrishGenealogy.ie. Retrieved 14 January 2017. 
  13. ^ Hollywood Walk of Fame
  14. ^ Kirby, Walter (March 16, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 44. Retrieved May 23, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  • Boylan, Henry (1999). A Dictionary of Irish Biography. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan. ISBN 0-7171-2945-4. 

External links