Daniel O’Herlihy, an Oscar-nominated character actor whose 50-year career extended from the Irish stage to television and Hollywood movies including RoboCop, has died aged 85.
He died yesterday at home in Malibu, California, surrounded by his family after suffering from an illness for a year, said Michael Druxman, his long-time publicist and friend.
Druxman said the family asked that the exact cause not be disclosed.
O’Herlihy was nominated for a best actor Academy Award in 1954 for his starring role in The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe. Marlon Brando won for On the Waterfront that year.
Born in Wexford in 1919, O’Herlihy earned a degree in architecture from the National University of Ireland before picking up minor roles at the Abbey Theatre. He was spotted there by British director Carol Reed, who cast him in the 1946 thriller Odd Man Out.
O’Herlihy went on to appear in more than 70 plays in Dublin and in the United States, including Measure for Measure and Macbeth.
After moving to Hollywood, he played Macduff in Orson Welles’ 1948 film version of Macbeth and began a career that included roles as Brigadier General Warren Black in Fail-Safe (1964), President Roosevelt in MacArthur (1977), and the mysterious cyborg firm executive in RoboCop (1987).
O’Herlihy’s television roles included Doc McPheeters in the early 1960s Western series The Travels of Jamie McPheeters, and six episodes on the early 1990s cult series Twin Peaks. His most recent role was as Joseph Kennedy in the 1998 TV movie The Rat Pack.