Cork mourns as Michael Twomey of Cha & Miah fame passes away

Cork actor Michael Twomey, best known as one half of Cha & Miah, has passed away, writes Eoin English of the Irish Exmainer.

Tributes have been paid following the death of theatre giant Michael Twomey - one half of the legendary comedy duo Cha and Miah.

Mr Twomey, who first trod the boards of Cork Opera House, aged 11, and who acted, wrote, directed and produced over a career spanning six decades, died in Cork today following a short illness. He was 83.

Former Lord Mayor, Cllr John Buttimer, who in 2013 conferred the Freedom of the Cork on Mr Twomey, his Cha and Miah comedy partner, Frank Duggan, and fellow comedy legend, Billa O’Connell - the first time in the history of the local authority that three people were made freemen of the city at the same time - said the city has lost a legend.

“I was delighted to be able to honour Michael, alongside Frank and Billa, in his lifetime,” he said.

“There was a lot more depth to Michael than portrayed in his character, Miah. He was an actor, a producer, a director and a writer."

“His death is be a huge loss to his family, and to the city.”

Mr Twomey achieved national prominence on Hall’s Pictorial Weekly, which was screened on RTÉ from 1971 to 1980, for his portrayal of Miah, alongside his comedy partner, Frank Duggan, who play Cha.

Mr O’Connell, who worked alongside Mr Twomey for some 33 years in various theatre and pantomime roles, including 21-years in the Summer Revels, said he was a “gifted actor and producer, and a gentlemen to his fingertips”.

“He was one of the great theatre figures in Ireland - he had no equal,” he said.

"He was a great man, and he will be sadly missed.”

Julie Kelleher, who was appointed artistic director of the Everyman Palace Theatre in 2014, when Mr Twomey was a member of its board, she he was joy to work with.

Mr Twomey became acting chairman a short time later, and Ms Kelleher said he was hugely supportive of their vision for the theatre.

“He brought fierce intelligence to the board, and questioned things intelligently,” she said.

“As well as his interest in the artistic side, he had a keen business sense too, and that was really valuable to us.

“He had great empathy for the work we had to do, and his dedication to his role on the board was immense.

“I don’t think he missed a board meeting until his illness.

“He really loved the place. It meant a huge deal to him.”

Conor Keane, son of the late playwright John B Keane, described Mr Twomey as “a true giant” of Irish theatre.

“John B Keane was simply mad about Michael Twomey as a man and as an actor,” he said.

“His talent was immense and no part was too big or too small for him as he was the true ensemble actor.”

Mr Twomey is survived by his wife, Marie, and their children, Sharon, Laura, Des, and their grandchildren.

READ A RECENT TRIBUTE TO MICHAEL: Michael Twomey is a true stalwart of Cork theatre

Lord Mayor, Cllr Tony Fitzgerald has expressed his sincere condolences and sympathy on behalf of the people of Cork city to the family of the legendary Cork actor Michael Twomey.

“Michael Twomey was a legend within Cork theatre. A true corkonian, the people of Cork awaited his appearances on the RTE TV show “Halls Pictorial Weekly” bringing the cork humour to the national stage. In 2013, he was conferred with the Freedom of Cork City by my predecessor, the former Lord Mayor Cllr John Buttimer along with fellow Cork actors Frank Duggan and Billa O’Connell.

"He received the award for his unwavering lifetime contribution to professional and amateur theatre, arts, drama and song in Cork City and for his generosity in supporting the development of emerging talent in Cork. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”

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