Milo O’Shea Dead at 86

Milo O’Shea Dead at 86
Irish born actor Milo O’Shea has succumbed to complications from Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 86.

He first attained wide visibility as Leopold Bloom in Joseph Strick’s movie “Ulysses” (1967), based on the James Joyce novel. “Milo O’Shea is perfect as a fortyish, black-haired Bloom, bright-eyed when fun and lust are rising, flaccid and pathetic when rebuffed,” Bosley Crowther wrote in The New York Times.

He was easily recognizable by his bushy white hair and black eyebrows, and, of course, that devilish Irish smile.  Among his films were “Ulysses,” “Barbarella” and “The Verdict.”  He died yesterday in Manhattan.

He also appeared on television shows such as “The Golden Girls,” “Cheers” and “Frasier” and played the chief justice of the Supreme Court on “The West Wing.” He was twice nominated for Tony Awards.

Of all his performances, the one I would like to have seen most was his initial performance on Broadway.  In 1968, he co-starred with Eli Wallach.  The play, “The Staircase”, featured O’Shea and Wallach as middle-aged gay hairdressers whose suffered through similar problems as heterosexual couples.  Though not a large commercial success, it is hailed as one of the very first efforts to portray a same-sex couple.

James Turnage

Columnist-the Guardian Express

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