'He stays with me always': Michael Fassbender pays tribute to Killarney 'mentor' Donie Courtney

'For me, he will always be my mentor. I will call on him in times of hardship and crisis and celebrate moments of joy with him. He stays with me always.'
'He stays with me always': Michael Fassbender pays tribute to Killarney 'mentor' Donie Courtney

In 2013 he wrote, produced and performed the one-man play God Has No Country, based on the life of Killarney man and wartime hero Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty (the Vatican Pimpernel) who rescued over 5,000 Jews during the Second World War. Picture: Don MacMonagle

HOLLYWOOD A-lister Michael Fassbender has paid a heartfelt tribute to his close friend, mentor and fellow Killarney man Donie Courtney who died this weekend.

The star of movies Hunger and 12 Years A Slave told how he was 17 years old when he first met actor and acting coach Donie.

“The encounter was something that would change my life immeasurably. We remained firm friends ever since,” he wrote in a tribute today.

“The first thing that struck me about Donie was how he engaged with me as a peer and not a teenager.” Donie had “a positivity to him that was absolutely infectious and an endless generosity both as a performer and human being”, he added.

“His talent was as much a force of nature as it was eminent. His sense of human nature was uncanny.

“He would make himself the butt of the joke so everyone around him could gain confidence from it.

“He understood people’s insecurities very well because he wore his own on his sleeve.

“Showing personal vulnerabilities so you could feel safe revealing yours.

“He was kind, just and honest, with a wicked sense of humour.

“He is remembered by his family first and foremost, which for him was where his inspiration, joy and heart belonged. The rest of us will feel blessed and lucky for whatever time we’ve been able to share in his company.” 

The Oscar-nominated star’s parents Adele and Josef Fassbender previously ran West End House as a restaurant and it opened as a school of drama and the arts in recent times. Picture: MacMonagle, Killarney, 2008
The Oscar-nominated star’s parents Adele and Josef Fassbender previously ran West End House as a restaurant and it opened as a school of drama and the arts in recent times. Picture: MacMonagle, Killarney, 2008

Penning the tribute on the West End House School of Arts website, Michael Fassbender continued: “West End House School of Arts is Donie’s legacy and we will do our very best to honour him through our work in this unique place that he created.

“For me, he will always be my mentor. I will call on him in times of hardship and crisis and celebrate moments of joy with him. He stays with me always.” 

The Oscar-nominated star’s parents Adele and Josef Fassbender previously ran West End House as a restaurant and it opened as a school of drama and the arts in recent times.

Shock and sadness greeted news of Donie Courtney’s death as tributes have been paid to the renowned actor, drama coach, playwright, producer, director and performer.

In 2013 he wrote, produced and performed the one-man play God Has No Country, based on the life of Killarney man and wartime hero Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty (the Vatican Pimpernel) who rescued over 5,000 Jews during the Second World War.

Donal went on to perform God Has No Country around Ireland, the UK, Europe and the USA. This included a special performance in Rome at the invitation of the Irish Ambassador to the Holy See.

“To his wife Adeline and his two young children and to his siblings and the wider Courtney family, we extend our deepest sympathies and sincere condolences. A master dramatist has left us, but his legacy remains,” said the chairman of the Hugh O’Flaherty Memorial Society Jerry O’Grady.

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