Northern Ireland Equity Branch mourns the passing of JJ Murphy
1 September 2014
The Belfast-born actor, who was 86, was cast to play the role of Ser Denys Mallister, the oldest member of the Night’s Watch, in the fifth season of the adaptation of George RR Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series.
According to his agent Phillip Young, JJ was “absolutely delighted”, to be cast “in one of the biggest productions in the world at this stage in his career.”
JJ working in the Northern Irish theatre scene from the late 1940s, where he cut his teeth with the Ulster Group Theatre School and where he learned his craft in 1948. We all know JJ was a very active member of Equity, the British actors’ union and his passing will be a great loss to the Northern Ireland branch. JJ spent many years at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast, where he worked alongside celebrated Irish actors Cieran Hinds and Liam Neeson. He was also a continuity announcer for UTV in the 1980s. Past film credits include Me and Mickey Bo, Cal, the film version of Frank McCourt’s Angela’s Ashes and Gary Shore’s big budget film Dracula Untold, which will be released in October of this year. .
His agent Philip Young paid tribute to the late actor following the news. 'I have never encountered a man with more spirit, passion and love for his craft.'
Author and journalist Eamonn Mallie described Mr Murphy as "The man with the mellifluous voice."
Actress Maggie Cronin told the Belfast Telegraph, "His passion for theatre, for the welfare and the betterment of actors and those who worked in the performing arts was always there. It was an integral part of the man."
JJ is survived by his wife, Mary and their grown up family.