‘Dear Daughter’ producer Louis Lentin dies

Former RTÉ head of drama (80) passed away last night after sudden illness

Former RTÉ head of drama and ‘Dear Daughter’ producer Louis Lentin died last night at the age of 80 after a sudden illness. Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Former RTÉ head of drama and ‘Dear Daughter’ producer Louis Lentin died last night at the age of 80 after a sudden illness. Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Wed, Jul 23, 2014, 12:28

Former RTÉ head of drama and ‘Dear Daughter’ producer Louis Lentin died last night at the age of 80 after a sudden illness.

Mr Lentin worked for RTÉ from 1961 to 1989 and directed many notable productions, including “Insurrection”, an eight-day reenactment of the Easter Rising, broadcast in 1966.

He also produced several original television dramas and in 1973 won a Jacobs’ Award for contribution to television drama.

He left the national broadcaster in 1989 and established an independent production company. There he produced ‘Dear Daughter’, the story of the late abuse campaigner Christine Buckley’s harrowing childhood experiences in Goldenbridge, a Dublin industrial school run by the Sisters of Mercy.

The documentary attracted a huge audience, and the Sisters of Mercy issued an apology for mistakes made in institutions in the 1940s and 1950s. The publicity surrounding the revelations of abuse in industrial schools eventually led to the Ryan and Murphy reports and an apology to victims of clerical child abuse by the Taoiseach.

His last production for RTÉ was ‘Grandpa, Speak to me in Russian’, the story of his Jewish grandfather’s immigration from Lithuania to Dublin in the 1890s.

Mr Lentin was born in Limerick in 1933 and graduated from Trinity College Dublin with an arts degree in 1956. He began his professional career as a theatre director.

Arts Council chair Sheila Pratschke said: “It is with great sadness that we mourn the loss of Louis Lentin following a career of over half a century in film, television and theatre. His was a strong and brave voice, and his documentaries, in particular, shone a light on a number of issues close to his heart.”

Mr Lentin is survived by his wife Trinity College academic Ronit and his children Alana and Miki.