Barry Fitzgerald was an Irish stage, film and television actor.
He was born William Joseph Shields in Walworth Road, Portobello, Dublin, Ireland. He is the older brother of Irish actor Arthur Shields. He went to Skerry’s College, Dublin, before going on to work in the civil service, while also working at the Abbey Theatre. By 1929, he turned to acting full-time. He was briefly a roommate of famed playwright Sean O’Casey and starred in such plays as O’Casey’s Juno and the Paycock and the premiere of The Silver Tassie.
Fitzgerald went to Hollywood to star in another O’Casey work, The Plough and the Stars, directed by John Ford. He had a successful Hollywood career in such films as The Long Voyage Home, How Green Was My Valley, And Then There Were None, The Naked City, and The Quiet Man. Fitzgerald achieved a feat unmatched in the history of the Academy Awards: he was nominated for both the Best Actor Oscar and the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the same performance, as “Father Fitzgibbon” in Going My Way. He won the Best Supporting Actor Award; an avid golfer, he later broke the head off his Oscar statue while practising his golf swing.
He returned to live in Dublin in 1959.