Milo O’Shea interred in simple ceremony attended by family and close friends

‘Milo never had such a low turnout’ quips Michael Colgan during tributes at the Gate Theatre afterwards

Fr John Heffernan blesses the ashes of actor Milo O’Shea as they are interred at a special ceremony for family and friends at Deansgrange Cemetery in Dublin yesterday. O’Shea died in New York last week. In attendance were his widow, actor Kitty Sullivan O’Shea (centre in brown coat), sons Colm (far right) and Steven (left with grey scarf) and other friends and family members. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Fr John Heffernan blesses the ashes of actor Milo O’Shea as they are interred at a special ceremony for family and friends at Deansgrange Cemetery in Dublin yesterday. O’Shea died in New York last week. In attendance were his widow, actor Kitty Sullivan O’Shea (centre in brown coat), sons Colm (far right) and Steven (left with grey scarf) and other friends and family members. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Thu, Apr 11, 2013, 06:00

Milo O’Shea’s ashes have been interred in Dublin following a simple prayer ceremony attended by some 50 of his closest family and friends.

Following his funeral and cremation in New York, where he died at the age of 86 after a short illness. the casket was laid in the family grave yesterday at Deansgrange, Co Dublin, by his son Colm.

His widow, Kitty Sullivan-O’Shea, laid her hand on the simple wooden box as Fr John Heffernan told the small gathering: “There is a future for Milo and there is a future for us all.”

Accompanying her were his other son Steven and his partner Melanie; his daughter-in-law Deirdre; his grandchildren Paul, Mark and Ellen, and their friends.

These included actors Frank Kelly and Rosaleen Linehan, former Irish Times arts editor Fergus Linehan, dancer Phil Cahill, goddaughter Miriam Kelly and George O’Reilly, a friend and associate of Bing Crosby.

Former Irish consuls-general Tim O’Connor and Niall Burgess, who were based in New York where O’Shea was an established figure, were also at Deansgrange.

Short tributes were paid to him afterwards from the stage of Dublin’s Gate Theatre, the scene of his last appearance in the city when he played alongside his great friend Dave Kelly in The Sunshine Boys .

Also present were actors Barry McGovern, Stephen Brennan and Des Keogh, author Christopher Fitzsimons and Pat Moylan from the Arts Council.

The warm, witty and moving ceremony was introduced by Michael Colgan, director of the theatre, who quipped: “Milo never had such a low turnout. He had always played to full houses.”He added that O’Shea “made the terrible mistake of outliving his many friends”.

He noted the stage was set for Mrs Warren’s Profession , the play that O’Shea had brought to New York. “He was a great treasure, lost to the Dublin stage,” Colgan added.

Fergus Linehan said it was not possible to recall him without smiling.

“Not every performer is as charming off the stage as on, but you were the same warm, generous and wonderful company no matter where or when one met you.”

A flavour of his wit was given by his goddaughter Miriam Kelly.

“He told me he grew his eyebrows from seed and only had to water them occasionally. And I believed him,” she said.

Colm O’Shea recounted his greatness as a father who was always concerned for others. Steven O’Shea summed up his father simply: “He was a lovely actor because he was a lovely man.”

His wife Kitty recalled his final moments: “He was still very much the Milo we know and loved. I was also very fortunate that he died peacefully – with me.”