Famed Irish-American actor and author Malachy McCourt dead at age 92

 March 12, 2024

Malachy McCourt, a famed Irish-American actor and author and barkeep, who was born in Brooklyn, New York, but raised in poverty in the Irish town of Limerick, passed away on Monday at the age of 92, according to Ireland's Live95.

His death in a Manhattan hospital was confirmed to The New York Times by his wife Diana Huchthausen Galin, whom he married in 1965, and the newspaper reported that McCourt had revealed last year that he'd been suffering from a heart condition, muscular degeneration, and multiple forms of cancer.

Yet, in that 2023 interview with The Times, McCourt had said, "Every day I wake up at 91, I am happy without a coffin over my head," and observed, "I don’t know where I’m going, but I do know from whence I came. I’m a New Yorker, born, half-bred and bred, who outlived my brothers and closest friends," but still cherished the "great love" of his life, his wife Diana.

Renowned actor, bar owner, and storyteller

Deadline reported that McCourt was born in New York in 1931 to father Malachy, a former member of the Irish Republican Army, and mother Angela, who raised McCourt and his several siblings in poverty in Limerick after their abusive and alcoholic father abandoned the family, and who was immortalized by Pulitzer Prize-winning brother Frank McCourt's memoir "Angela's Ashes."

With help from his brother Frank, McCourt returned to New York at age 20 and worked a variety of odd jobs, including opening his own eponymous Irish pub in Manhattan in the 1950s, before eventually launching a career as an actor.

According to his IMDb page, McCourt was credited with at least 70 acting appearances, most of which were bit parts in films and TV series, as far back as 1959.

He is perhaps best known for his recurring role as the bartender in 217 episodes of the "Ryan's Hope" TV series from 1975-1989, and more recently as Father Clarence in nine episodes of "All My Children" from 1992-2009.

McCourt also penned two memoirs of his own, "A Monk Swimming" in 1998 and "Singing My Him Song" in 2000, the first of which shared a humorous take on his impoverished upbringing in Limerick and whiskey-fueled antics as a youngster while the second provided a more sober accounting of his post-alcohol life as a father and husband.

He also dabbled in politics later in life, including a failed longshot run as the Green Party candidate to be the governor of New York in 2006 -- a race he lost in lopsided fashion to Democratic candidate Eliot Spitzer.

Survived by his beloved wife, children, and grandchildren

The New York Times reported that McCourt was first married to Linda Wachsman, with whom he had two children -- daughter Siobhan and son Malachy Jr. -- though that marriage ended in divorce a short time later.

He was eventually married again in 1965 to Diana, with whom he'd had a years-long "on-again, off-again, on-again love affair," and she bore him two sons -- Conor and Cormac -- and brought into the mix a daughter of her own from a previous marriage named Nina Galin.

Malachy and Diana ultimately lived together in the same Manhattan apartment for 59 years. According to Variety, McCourt is survived by his wife Diana, his four children and stepdaughter, plus nine grandchildren and one grandchild.

Had previously been released from hospice care for "not dying quickly enough"

According to The Times, McCourt's poor health in his later years had resulted in him being placed in hospice care, though he was later released in 2022 for, as the paper rather wryly noted, "not dying quickly enough."

There is no word yet on any sort of funeral arrangements or memorial service for the beloved actor, bar owner, and storyteller, though fans of his words and work will undoubtedly be anxious to hear of any such plans.

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