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Cusack, Cyril Biography




biography of Cusack, Cyril

Cyril James Cusack
26 November 1910, Durban, Natal, South Africa
7 October 1993, London, England, UK (motor neuron disease)
Although born in South Africa, 'Cyril Cusack' (qv) was brought up in Ireland. He was a child star on the Irish stage, appearing first at the age of 7. He toured Ireland with his own theater company. Although he made some very telling film appearances, his small stature kept him from the classic roles.
Steve Crook



-   'Mary Rose Cunningham' (1979 - 7 October 1993) (his death); 1 child

-   'Maureen Cusack (I)' (qv) (5 April 1945 - 18 December 1977) (her death); 5 children


-   Father of 'Paul Cusack' (qv) 'Sinéad Cusack' (qv), 'Sorcha Cusack' (qv), 'Niamh Cusack' (qv) 'Pádraig Cusack' (qv) and 'Catherine Cusack' (qv).

-   Father-in-law of 'Jeremy Irons' (qv).

-   Grandfather of 'Samuel Irons' (qv).

-   He was offered the role of the Doctor in _"Doctor Who" (1963)_ (qv) in 1963 but turned it down.

-   He tried to discourage all of his six children from pursuing the entertainment field, going so far as to not keeping a TV inside the house while they were young. Nevertheless, all of them went into some form of entertainment. Sons Paul and Padraig worked behind the scenes as director/producer types and daughters, Sinead, Sorcha, Niamh and Catherine all became actresses. In 1990 Cyril performed in an acclaimed stage production of Chekhov's "The Three Sisters" with daughters Sinead, Sorcha and Niamh at the Gate Theatre in Dublin, Ireland.

-   Educated in Newbridge College, Newbridge, Co. Kildare, and University College, Dublin, but left without a degree to join the Abbey Theatre in 1932. He received honorary doctorates in 1977 and 1980 from the NUI and the University of Dublin, respectively.

-   His parents separated when he was young and his mother took him to England, and then to Ireland. Cusack's mother and her subsequent partner, Breifne O'Rorke, joined the O'Brien and Ireland Players where Cyril made his theater debut at age 6.

-   Formed his own company and staged productions in Dublin, Paris and New York beginning in 1947.

-   Became a campaigner for conservative causes in Ireland in his later years, notably in his opposition to abortion, where he became a frequent letter-writer into the main Liberal Irish newspaper, The Irish Times. His conservative credentials came under scrutiny, however, following his death and the revelation that he had not been faithful in his first marriage, with a long-term mistress, Mary Rose Cunningham, who bore him a daughter, Catherine. Cusack married Cunningham following his first wife's death.

-   Grandfather of 'Max Irons' (qv).

-   His father, James Cusack, was a mounted policeman in Natal Province, South Africa.

-   Aged six, Cyril left South Africa for Ireland, accompanied by his mother Alice Cole. Joined by actor Brefni O'Rourke to form theatrical troupe. Appeared on stage for the first time a year later in pantomime and dramatic performance. Led unsettled life on the road, with brief attendances at diverse schools throughout Ireland.

-   Joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1963 and the Old Vic in 1964.

-   Not the same actor as 'Cyril Chosack' (qv), with whom he bears no resemblance, despite the apparent similarity of their names.


-   "Timepieces" (Poetry Ireland editions, 9) Dublin: Dolmen Press, 1970.

-   "Between the Acts and Other Poems". UK: C. Smythe, 1990.

-   "Tar ^is an aifrinn: dráma aonghnímh". Baile Átha Cliath: Sìrs^al-Ó Marcaigh, 1989.

-   He played Iago in Caedmon Records' 1960 full-length recording of Shakespeare's "Othello". Frank Silvera played Othello.

-   Acted in a 1957 Broadway stage production of the drama "A Moon for the Misbegotten".

-   (1990) He acted in Frank McGuinness' translation of Anton Chekhov's play, "The Three Sisters," at the Royal Court Theatre in London, England with Sorcha Cusack, Niamh Cusack, Sinead Cusack, Barry Lynch, Patricia Hayes, Nicky Henson, and Lesley Manville in the cast. Adrian Noble was director.

-   (April 9, 1963) He acted in William Shakespeare's play, "Julius Caesar," in a Royal Shakespeare Theatre Company production at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England with Tom Fleming, Kenneth Haigh, David Warner, Charles Kay, Cherry Morris, Roy Marsden, Nicholas Selby, Jeffery Dench, Clifford Rose, John Normingham, and Susan Engel in the cast. John Batchley was director.

-   (January 9, 1963) He acted in Friedrich Durrenmatt's play, "The Physicists," at the Aldwych Theatre in London, England in a Royal Shakespeare Company production with Irene Worth, Michael Hordern, Alan Webb, and Diana Rigg in the cast. Peter Brook was director.

-   (February 1963-March 1964) He acted in George Bernard Shaw's play, "Saint Joan;" Harold Brighouse's play, "Hobson's Choice;" play, "Andorra;" George Farquhar's play, "The Recruiting Officer;" and Anton Chekhov's play, "Uncle Vanya;" in a National Theatre Company Repertoire production at the Old Vic Theatre in London, England with Max Adrian, Colin Blakely, Tom Courtenay, Frank Finlay, Rosemary Harris, Jeanne Hepple, Derek Jacobi, Robert Lang, Mary Miller, Anthony Nicholls, Laurence Olivier, Joan Plowright, Michael Redgrave, Lynn Redgrave, Maggie Smith, Robert Stephens, John Stride, and Diana Wynyard in the cast.h

-   (1968) He acted in Dion Boucicault's play, "The Shaughraun," in an Abbey Theatre of Ireland production at the Aldwych Theatre in London, England with Donal McCann, Desmond Cave, Peadar Lamb, Fidelma Murphy, Brid Lynch, and Maire O'Neill in the cast. Hugh Hunt was director.

-   (1974) He acted in William Shakespeare's play, "The Tempest," in a National Theatre production at the Old Vic Theatre in London, England with John Gielgud (his last role at the Old Vic Theatre. It was also where he made his West End Debut in 1922), Jenny Agutter, Denis Quilley, Arthur Lowe, and Michael Feast in the cast. Peter Hall was director.

-   (1974) He acted in Frank Wedekind' play, "Spring Awakening," in a National Theatre production at the Old Vic Theatre in London, England with Peter Firth, Michael Kitchen, Dai Bradley, Christopher Guard, Veronica Quilligan, Jane Carr, Jenny Agutter, Patti Love, Rupert Frazer, Joseph O'Conor, Susan Engel, Beryl Reid, and William Squire in the cast. Bill Bryden was director.

-   (January 1974-December 1974) He acted in the Repertoire Season in the National Theatre production at the Old Vic Theatre in London, England in Trevor Griffith's play, "The Party;" Eduardo De Filippo's play, "Saturday Sunday Monday;" William Shakespeare's plays, "Measure for Measure," "The Tempest," "Romeo and Juliet;" Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's play, "The Front Page;" Peter Shaffer's play, "Equus;" Anton Chekhov's play, "The Cherry Orchard;" Frank Wedekind's play, "Spring Awakening;" Edward Clarke's play, "Next of Kin;" JB Priestley's play, "Eden End;" Beaumarchais's play, "The Marriage of Figaro;" Peter Nichols's play, "The Freeway;" and Rene Clair's play, "Grand Manoeuvres;" with Laurence Olivier, John Gielgud, Joan Plowright, Rachel Kempson, Alec McCowen, Arthur Lowe, Beryl Reid, Denis Quilley, Frank Finlay, Gemma Jones, Geoffrey Palmer, Graham Crowden, Irene Handl, James Laurenson, Jenny Agutter, Joan Hickson, John Shrapnel, Martin Shaw, Michael Kitchen, Peter Firth, Ronald Pickup, Alan MacNaugthan, Anna Carteret, Benjamin Whitrow, Christopher Guard, Clive Merrison, Constance Cummings, Dai Bradley, David Bradley, David Dixon, David Firth, Derek Godfrey, Gabrielle Day, Gawn Grainger, Gillian Barge, Howard Goorney, Hugh Thomas, Jane Carr, Jane Wenham, Jeanne Watts, Joseph O'Conor, Julian Curry, Julian Orchard, Julie Covington, Lesley Manville, Leslie Sands, Louise Purnell, Mark Dignam, Michael Feast, Michael Jayston, Nicholas Clay, Nicola Pagett, Patti Love, Paul Curran, Paul Rogers, Paul Scofield, Ram John Holder, Rupert Frazer, Veronica Quilligan, William Relton, and William Squire in the cast.

-   (January 1977-December 1977) He acted in the Repertoire Season at the National Theatre in London, England in Odon Von Horvath and Christopher Hampton's play, "Tales from the Vienna Woods;" Edward Albee's play, "Counting the Ways;" Thomas Bernhard's play, "The Force of Habit;" Carlo Goldoni's play, "Il Campiello;" Christopher Marlowe's play, "Tamburlaine the Great;" Tom Stoppard's play, "Jumpers;" Noel Coward's play, "Blithe Spirit;" John Millington Synge's play, "Playboy of the Western World;" Harold Pinter's play, "No Man's Land;" William Shakespeare's plays, "Hamlet," "Julius Caesar;" Ben Jonson's play, "Volpone;" Alan Ayckbourn's play, "Bedroom Farce;" Harley Granville Barker's play, "The Madras House;" Robert Bolt's play, "The State of Revolution;" Sean O'Casey's play, "The Plough and the Stars;" Samuel Beckett's play, "Happy Days;" play, "The Passion;" play, "Sir is Winning;" play, "Judgement;" Georges Feydeau's play, "The Lady from Maxim's;" William Wycherley's play, "The Country Wife;" Julian Mitchell's play, "Half-Life;" John MacKendrick's play, "Lavender Blue;" Ferenc Molnar and Frank Marcus's play, "The Guardsman;" play, "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight;" Victor Hugo's play, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame; James Kirkup's play, "The Magic Drum" (produced by Phoenix Theatre of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England); Ben Jonson's play, "Devil is an Ass" and William Shakespeare's play, "Measure for Measure," (produced by the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in Birmingham, West Midlands, England); play, "Nas Palabras," (produced by the Nuria Espert Company); Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's musical, "Don Giovanni" (produced by the Glyndebourne Opera in Glyndebourne, Wales); Franz Kafka's play, "The Metamorphosis," and Edgar Allen Poe's play, "The Fall of the House of Usher" (produced by the London Theatre Group of London, England); play "Babel's Dancer" (produced by Moving Being Company); William Shakespeare's play, "Richard III Part II and the play, "Motocar" (produced by Paine's Plough Company) and Halleschen Uber company of West Berlin, West Gergmany; with Paul Scofield, John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson, Albert Finney, Peggy Ashcroft, Diana Rigg, John Neville, Ben Kingsley, Brian Cox, Denis Quilley, Barbara Jefford, Stephen Rea, J.G. Devlin, Beryl Reid, Elizabeth Spriggs, Ian Charleson, Joss Ackland, Susan Fleetwood, Warren Clarke, Ronald Pickup, Tom Wilkinson, Brian Blessed, Brenda Blethyn, Michael Bryant, Kenneth Cranham, Joan Hickson, Richard Johnson, Sara Kestelman, Susan Littler, Elspeth March, Michael Medwin, Stephen Moore, John Normington, Kate Nelligan, Hugh Paddick, Paul Rogers, Jane Asher, Tony Haygarth, Fulton Mackay, Dinah Stabb, Maria Aitken, Sylvia Coleridge, Oliver Cotton, Robert Eddison, Julian Glover, Michael Gough, Michael Kitchen, Peggy Mount, Ann Way, Brenda Fricker, Christopher Good, Edward Hardwicke, Isabel Dean, Richard Pearson, and Robin Bailey in the cast.

-   (January 1978-December 1978) He acted in Repertoire Season in the National Theatre production at the Lyttelton, Olivier, and Cottesloe Theatres in London, England in William Wycherley's play, "The Country Wife;" Sean O'Casey's play, "The Plough and the Stars;" Harley Granville Barker's play, "The Madras House;" Ben Jonson's play, "Volpone;" Ferenc Molnar's play, "The Guardsman;" play, "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight;" Georges Feydeau's play, "The Lady from Maxim's;" Robert Bolt's play, "State of Revolution;" Alan Ayckbourn's play, "Bedroom Farce;" Victor Hugo's play, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame;" Julian Mitchell's play, "Half-Life;" John MacKendrick's play, "Lavender Blue;" Anton Chekhov's play, "The Cherry Orchard;" Arnold Wesker's play, "Love Letters on Blue Paper;" Keith Dewhurst's play, "Lark Rise;" Henrik Ibsen's play, "Brand;" David Hare's play, "Plenty;" Odon Von Horvath and Christopher Hampton's play, "Don Juan Comes Back From the War;" William Shakespeare's play, "Macbeth;" P.L. Travers's play, "Plunder;" play, "Lost Worlds;" David Mamet's play, "American Buffalo;" play, "The Woman;" William Congreve's play, "The Double Dealer;" George Bernard Shaw's play, "The Philanderer;" play, "The World Turned Upside Down;" John Galsworthy's play, "Strife;" Harold Pinter's play, "Betrayal;" Charles Wood's play, "Has 'Washington' Legs;" and play, "Herold;" with Joss Ackland, Polly Adams, Brian Blessed, Brenda Blethyn, Judi Bowker, Michael Bryant, Ian Charleson, Patience Collier, Julie Covington, Kenneth Cranham, Andrew Cruickshank, Timothy Davies, J.G. Devlin, Edna Dore, Avril Elgar, Lynn Fairleigh, Albert Finney, Susan Fleetwood, Paul Freeman, Brenda Fricker, Michael Gambon, John Gielgud, Brian Glover, Michael Gough, Edward Hardwicke, Nicky Henson, Bob Hoskins, Richard Johnson, Sara Kestelman, Ben Kingsley, Dinsdale Landen, Susan Littler, Daniel Massey, Mark McManus, Stephen Moore, Peggy Mount, Kate Nelligan, Hugh Paddick, Richard Pearson, Ralph Richardson, Diana Rigg, Paul Scofield, Jack Shepherd, Elizabeth Spriggs, John Standing, Robert Stephens, Dorothy Tutin, and Penelope Wilton in the cast.

-   (1980) He acted in Hugh Leonard's play, "A Life," in an Abbey Theatre Company production at the Old Vic Theatre in London, England with Dearbhla Molloy, Maureen Toal, and Philip O'Flynn in the cast. Joe Dowling was director.


-   "Radio Times" (UK), 21 March 1964

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Acting in movies

  1. "Strumpet City" (1980) {(#1.5)}
  2. The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Winds of Change (2008) (V)
  3. "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" (1992) {Paris, May 1919 (#2.18)}
  4. As You Like It (1992)
  5. Far and Away (1992)
  6. "Screen Two" (1985) {Memento Mori (#8.14)}
  7. The Fool (1990)
  8. Danny and the Dirty Dog: The Making of 'Roald Dahl's Danny the Champion of the World' (1989) (TV)
  9. My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown (1989)
  10. Roald Dahl's Danny the Champion of the World (1989) (TV)
  11. "Menace Unseen" (1988)
  12. Little Dorrit (1988)
  13. The Tenth Man (1988) (TV)
  14. "The Ray Bradbury Theater" (1985) {The Small Assassin (#2.6)}
  15. "Robin of Sherwood" (1984) {The Inheritance (#3.4)}
  16. Dr. Fischer of Geneva (1985) (TV)
  17. Don Camillo (1984)
  18. Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984)
  19. Two by Forsyth (1984) (TV)
  20. "Play for Today" (1970) {Rainy Day Women (#14.10)}
  21. "Six Centuries of Verse" (1984) {Chaucer to Ted Hughes (#1.1)}
  22. "Six Centuries of Verse" (1984) {Earlier Twentieth Century 1914-1939 (#1.15)}
  23. "Tales of the Unexpected" (1979) {Accidental Death (#7.12)}
  24. "The Theban Plays by Sophocles" (1986) {Oedipus the King}
  25. "Glenroe" (1983)
  26. At the Cinema Palace: Liam O'Leary (1983)
  27. One of Ourselves (1983) (TV)
  28. The Comedy of Errors (1983) (TV)
  29. The Kingfisher (1983) (TV)
  30. "Death of an Expert Witness" (1983) {(#1.2)}
  31. "Death of an Expert Witness" (1983) {(#1.3)}
  32. "Wagner" (1983) {(#1.2)}
  33. The Ballroom of Romance (1982)
  34. The Ghost Downstairs (1982) (TV)
  35. The Outcasts (1982)
  36. Andrina (1981)
  37. Lovespell (1981)
  38. No Country for Old Men (1981) (TV)
  39. True Confessions (1981)
  40. "Maybury" (1981) {Maisie and Mac (#1.9)}
  41. Cry of the Innocent (1980) (TV)
  42. "Strumpet City" (1980) {(#1.2)}
  43. "Strumpet City" (1980) {(#1.3)}
  44. "Strumpet City" (1980) {(#1.4)}
  45. "Strumpet City" (1980) {(#1.6)}
  46. "Strumpet City" (1980) {(#1.7)}
  47. "Tales of the Unexpected" (1979) {The Hitch-Hiker (#2.4)}
  48. Les Miserables (1978) (TV)
  49. Poitín (1978)
  50. "BBC Play of the Month" (1965) {You Never Can Tell (#13.1)}
  51. "Jesus of Nazareth" (1977) {Part 1 (#1.1)}
  52. Paura in città (1976)
  53. "BBC2 Playhouse" (1974) {The Mind Beyond: The Man with the Power (#4.6)}
  54. Children of Rage (1975)
  55. Arrivano Joe e Margherito (1974)
  56. Il venditore di palloncini (1974)
  57. Juggernaut (1974)
  58. The Abdication (1974)
  59. A Likely Story (1973)
  60. La mano spietata della legge (1973)
  61. The Day of the Jackal (1973)
  62. The Homecoming (1973)
  63. "Great Mysteries" (1973) {The Monkey's Paw (#1.11)}
  64. "ITV Saturday Night Theatre" (1969) {Catholics (#6.9)}
  65. "Them" (1972)
  66. La mala ordina (1972)
  67. La polizia ringrazia (1972)
  68. Più forte, ragazzi! (1972)
  69. Poet Game (1972) (TV)
  70. The Hands of Cormac Joyce (1972) (TV)
  71. "Clochemerle" (1972) {The Dreaded Arrival of Captain Tardivaux (#1.8)}
  72. "Clochemerle" (1972) {The Glorious Triumph of Barthelemey Piechut (#1.9)}
  73. "Clochemerle" (1972) {The Magnificent Idea of Barthelemey Piechut, the Mayor (#1.1)}
  74. "Clochemerle" (1972) {The Scandalous Outcome of a Night of Destruction (#1.6)}
  75. "Clochemerle" (1972) {The Spirited Protest of Justine Pulet (#1.3)}
  76. "Clochemerle" (1972) {The Triumphant Inauguration of a Municipal Amenity (#1.2)}
  77. "The Golden Bowl" (1972) {Charlotte (#1.3)}
  78. "The Golden Bowl" (1972) {End Game (#1.6)}
  79. "The Golden Bowl" (1972) {Fanny (#1.4)}
  80. "The Golden Bowl" (1972) {Maggie (#1.5)}
  81. "The Golden Bowl" (1972) {Mr. Verver (#1.2)}
  82. "The Golden Bowl" (1972) {The Prince (#1.1)}
  83. Harold and Maude (1971)
  84. King Lear (1971)
  85. Sacco e Vanzetti (1971)
  86. "Shirley's World" (1971) {A Hell of an Engineer (#1.8)}
  87. The Ballad of Tam Lin (1970)
  88. "The Sinners" (1970) {In the Bosom of the Country (#1.5)}
  89. Country Dance (1969)
  90. David Copperfield (1969) (TV)
  91. Red Peppers (1969) (TV)
  92. Galileo (1968)
  93. Oedipus the King (1968)
  94. "Omnibus" (1967) {The Hunted Man}
  95. Dial M for Murder (1967) (TV)
  96. The Taming of the Shrew (1967)
  97. "Thirty-Minute Theatre" (1965) {A Time of Wolves and Tigers (#3.8)}
  98. Fahrenheit 451 (1966)
  99. I Was Happy Here (1966)
  100. Deirdre (1965) (TV)
  101. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1965)
  102. Where the Spies Are (1965)
  103. "BBC Play of the Month" (1965) {Passage to India (#1.2)}
  104. "Festival" (1963) {Six Characters in Search of an Author (#1.31)}
  105. 80,000 Suspects (1963)
  106. "ITV Television Playhouse" (1955) {The Wedding Dress (#8.25)}
  107. I Thank a Fool (1962)
  108. Waltz of the Toreadors (1962)
  109. "ITV Play of the Week" (1955) {Don Juan in Hell (#8.10)}
  110. Johnny Nobody (1961)
  111. The Power and the Glory (1961) (TV)
  112. A Terrible Beauty (1960)
  113. "Armchair Mystery Theatre" (1960) {The Dummy (#1.13)}
  114. "Play of the Week" (1959) {The Enchanted (#1.27)}
  115. Shake Hands with the Devil (1959)
  116. The Moon and Sixpence (1959) (TV)
  117. "The DuPont Show of the Month" (1957) {What Every Woman Knows (#2.5)}
  118. Floods of Fear (1958)
  119. Gideon's Day (1958)
  120. Ill Met by Moonlight (1957)
  121. Miracle in Soho (1957)
  122. The Rising of the Moon (1957)
  123. Jacqueline (1956)
  124. The Man in the Road (1956)
  125. The Man Who Never Was (1956)
  126. The March Hare (1956)
  127. The Spanish Gardener (1956)
  128. "Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Presents" (1953) {Ship Day (#4.21)}
  129. Passage Home (1955)
  130. "Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Presents" (1953) {The Only Son (#3.29)}
  131. "Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Presents" (1953) {The Thoroughbred (#3.24)}
  132. Art of Reception (1954)
  133. Destination Milan (1954)
  134. The Last Moment (1954)
  135. Saadia (1953)
  136. "Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Presents" (1953) {Lowland Fling (#1.25)}
  137. "Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Presents" (1953) {The Sensible Man}
  138. The Wild Heart (1952)
  139. Soldiers Three (1951)
  140. The Blue Veil (1951)
  141. The Secret of Convict Lake (1951)
  142. Gone to Earth (1950)
  143. The Elusive Pimpernel (1950)
  144. All Over the Town (1949)
  145. Once a Jolly Swagman (1949)
  146. The Blue Lagoon (1949)
  147. The Small Back Room (1949)
  148. Escape (1948)
  149. Esther Waters (1948)
  150. Who Fears to Speak of '98 (1948)
  151. Odd Man Out (1947)
  152. Inspector Hornleigh Goes to It (1941)
  153. Once a Crook (1941)
  154. St. Patrick's Day (1938) (TV)
  155. Guests of the Nation (1935)
  156. Knocknagow (1918)

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