`Glenroe' actor Joe Lynch (76) dies suddenly in Spain


The actor Joe Lynch has died at the age of 76 in Spain. He became ill yesterday afternoon and was taken to a hospital in Alicante where he died at about 6 p.m.

He became a household name in Ireland for his television role as Dinny Byrne in the soap operas Bracken and later Glenroe. Dinny was the archetypal schemer and his foil was his gormless son Miley, played by Mick Lally.

The actor last night said he was stunned and paid tribute to his former co-star saying. "He was a big man in all senses of the word. He was good natured and very generous, especially to young actors on the Glenroe set.

"The enduring memory of anyone who met Joe would be talkativeness - stories, yarns, opinions. He was a very talented man and a fine singer - music was his first love. He's a great loss."

Writer Wesley Burrowes who created both series described Lynch last night as having been "full of life both as an actor and as a man".

The actor announced his departure from Glenroe in May last year having spent 20 years on both soap operas. Mr Burrowes revealed at the time how Lynch had got the part of Dinny at the last minute after a well known Abbey actor had been forced to withdraw due to illness.

An RTE spokeswoman last night praised Lynch's contribution and extended her sympathies to the actor's family.

Lynch was born in Mallow, Co Cork in 1926 and attended the North Monastery CBS as well as Blackrock College. He worked at a number of jobs including horse-breaker, tree-feller and as the manager of a wine shop, before moving full time into acting.

He began his performing career with the Cork-based Shakespearean company the Loft and had the chance to try out as a professional footballer, which he turned down in favour of a life in acting.

He worked for a while with the Radio Eireann players and the Abbey Theatre before moving to London where he became a household name thanks to the BBC sit-com Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width. He also starred in Coronation Street.

He is survived by his wife Marie, son Marcus and daughter Linda. His daughter Emmy died some months ago.