16 February 2011 4:00 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Versatile Irish stage actor who became a familiar face across British drama

Before he became a familiar face on television and cinema screens, the outstanding Irish actor Tp McKenna, who has died after a long illness aged 81, bridged the gap between the old and the new Abbey theatres in Dublin. He appeared with the company for eight years during the interim period at the Queen's theatre; the old Abbey burned down in 1951, the new one opened by the Liffey in 1966.

During that time he made his reputation as a leading actor of great charm, vocal resource – with a fine singing voice – and versatility. He was equally adept at comedy and tragedy, a great exponent of the best Irish playwriting from Jm Synge and Séan O'Casey to Hugh Leonard and Brian Friel. The elder son in Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night was a favourite, much acclaimed role.

It was Stephen D, »

- Michael Coveney

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