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Submitted by Nicky Smith
Cyril Cusack, widely regarded as Ireland's finest actor, died yesterday at his London home after a long illness, his family said.
Mr. Cusack, 82, was the patriarch of an acting dynasty, passing his talent to his four daughters, Sinead, Sorcha, Niamh and Catherine.
Niamh told Ireland's RTE radio that her father was diagnosed two months ago with a motor neuron disease.
In a long career, Mr. Cusack appeared in a wide variety of films including The Day of the Jackal, The Taming of the Shrew, Waltz of the Toreadors and more recently My Left Foot and Little Dorrit. He was also a poet and published his first collection in 1928.
Irish Prime Minister Albert Reynolds, a former show business impresario, led tributes to Mr. Cusack in the Irish parliament, calling him "a very good friend" with "a worldwide reputation."
Born in Durban, South Africa, Mr. Cusack was the son of an Irish father, James Cusack, a mounted policeman in Natal. His mother, Alice Cole, was an English Cockney chorus girl.
At age 6, Mr. Cusack moved to Ireland with his mother, where she met actor Brefni O'Rourke. They set up their own theatrical company, putting on melodramas and pantomimes across the country.
Mr. Cusack made his stage debut at 7 and described their life as "a glorious adventure."
In 1932, he joined the Abbey Theatre in Dublin, appearing in 65 plays in 13 years. Occasional tours with plays in Britain helped establish his reputation.
In 1945, he formed his own touring company and in the 1950s had regular film roles in Hollywood. In 1963, he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company and the following year the Old Vic.
His work won critical acclaim with awards in America, Paris, two doctorates from Irish universities and an award for achievements by Irish people in Britain.
Sinead, Sorcha and Niamh - his daughters by his first marriage - appeared with him in The Three Sisters at London's Royal Court Theater and Dublin's Gate Theater in 1990, the first time he had worked with all three.
Sinead is married to film star Jeremy Irons and Sorcha's husband is Shakespearean actor Nigel Cook. The acting dynasty is being continued by Sinead's son, Sam Irons, who recently made his movie debut.
Mr. Cusack, who had homes in London and Dublin, also is survived by his second wife, Mary, the mother of his youngest daughter, Catherine. His first wife, Mary, who died in the 1970s, was also the mother of sons Paul and Padraig.
Funeral arrangements were not announced.
© Copyright 1993, Newsday Inc. The Associated Press
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