THE mother of movie star Jonathan Rhys Meyers died in a Cork city hospital yesterday — just days after the actor’s drunken outburst at Dublin Airport.
The death of Geraldine “Gerri” Meyers-O’Keeffe, 51, at the Mercy University Hospital was confirmed by the actor’s publicist who said the family had no further comment to make at this sad juncture.
The star of hit TV series The Tudors was struggling to cope with his mother’s ill-health last weekend when he was arrested at the airport on drink-related public order offences.
Ms Meyers-O’Keeffe lived in Glanmire, Co Cork, and was hugely proud of her son’s rapid rise to fame as a movie and TV award-winning actor.
“I just gave birth to him. Once he found his niche in life I encouraged him,” she said when he won a Golden Globe and an Emmy nomination for the 2005 CBS mini-series Elvis, in which he played Presley as a young man.
Two years later playing another king, Henry VIII, the actor and model has garnered critical acclaim for the series, which was shot in Co Wicklow and is gearing up for a second season.
Early in 2006, Jonathan and his mother, with whom he had a very close and loving relationship, attended a civic reception at Cork’s City Hall where he was declared the Cork Person of the Month.
When Jonathan was this summer ranked 22nd on an online list of the world’s 100 hottest actors, as voted for by gay and bisexual men, his mother responded by saying: “I know for a fact that he will treat the survey in the way it was intended, as a bit of fun.”
Last April, Jonathan, not long after the release of Mission Impossible III, booked into rehab in the US for alcohol-related problems.
On Saturday last he flew from his home in London to Dublin to appear on RTÉ’s Tubridy Tonight. On his attempted return home last Sunday, he was arrested at Dublin Airport after two drunken outbursts at check-in desks when told he was unfit to fly. He was charged with public order offences and released on bail to appear in Dublin District Court next month.
“He came in just for the show and he was scooting off the next day, I think it was back to London. I met him in the green room before the show and he was drinking tea. He was very charming and very affable. He was very lovely to the make-up artist who was there,” Tubridy later said in his defence.
In an interview weeks before his arrest, in which he said he was teetotal, Jonathan said: “I didn’t drink until I was 25, and I never drank every day, but when I did, it was bad. It would be a couple of days that just wouldn’t work out for me, waking up with a hangover. Drink doesn’t fit into the groove of where my life is going.”
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