Tributes paid to actress Anna Manahan


Tributes were today paid to veteran Irish actress Anna Manahan who died after a long illness, aged 84 years.

A native of Co Waterford, Manahan's career spanned 50 years of stage, cinema and television.

She won a coveted Tony Award in 1998 for her performance in the Beauty Queen of Leenane, by playwright Martin McDonagh.

Arts Minister Martin Cullen, who knew the actress personally, said: "When people talk about great influential Irish actresses they talk of Anna Manahan.

"That is a testament to her talent. The way she shared her talent and creative spirit with others was one of her greatest gifts to all of us during the course of her life."

Her career saw her interpreting the work of writers such as Sean O'Casey, John B Keane, JM Synge, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, Christy Brown and Brian Friel.

She was well known for her roles in TV dramas like The Riordansin the 1960s, Leave it to Mrs O'Brienin the 1980s and Fair Cityin recent years.

She also appeared in films with stars such Laurence Olivier, Peter Cushing, Maggie Smith, Albert Finney and Brenda Fricker.

Her theatre work took her all over Ireland as well as the UK, continental Europe, the US and Australia.

She won the Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama for her role as the exasperated mother, Mag, The Beauty Queen of Leenane.

She had previously received a Tony nomination in 1969 for Brian Friel play, Lovers.

The late playwright John B Keane is believed to have written the play Big Maggiespecifically for her.

Manahan was a member of Waterford Dramatic Society and the city presented her with its highest honour, the Freedom of the City in 2002 in recognition of her life's achievement in the arts.

Mr Cullen said: "Pursuing a love of theatre from an early age in school, the young novice on the stage in Waterford became the master of her art.

"She was a remarkable interpreter of the works of many international and Irish authors." He added: "Anna Manahan loved Waterford and Waterford loved her.

"The city and the country will miss this affectionate, charismatic woman and consummate artist.

"Her work has set a shining example to all artists and she has made an indelible mark." Manahan was widowed in her younger years and never remarried.