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Brefni O'Rorke

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Brefni O'Rorke
Brefni O'Rorke.jpg
William Francis Breffni O'Rorke

26 June 1889
Died11 November 1946(1946-11-11) (aged 57)
Other namesBrefni O'Rourke
OccupationFilm actor
Years active19391946

Brefni O'Rorke (26 June 1889 – 11 November 1946) was an Irish actor, both on the stage and in movies.[3]

Early life

O'Rorke was born as William Francis Breffni O'Rorke at 2 Esplande Villas in Dollymount, Clontarf, Dublin on 26 June 1889,[1] and baptised at Clontarf Parish Church on 1 August 1889.[4] His father, Frederick O'Rorke, was a cork merchant, and his mother, Jane Caroline O'Rorke, née Morgan, was an actress.[1][4][5] He had an older brother, Frederick, who was twelve years older than him.[6][7]


O'Rorke began studying acting with his mother and made his professional début in 1912 at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin in a production of Shaw's John Bull's Other Island. While still living in Dublin, he met and married in 1916 Alice Cole, a chorus-girl turned actress, who had divorced her first husband and immigrated from South Africa with her young son. Thus O'Rorke became the stepfather of Cyril Cusack.[8] Other theatre roles included the title role in Finn Varra Maa (1917), a musical "pantomime" (or rather, light opera) written by Thomas Henry Nally with music by Geoffrey Molyneux Palmer.[9]

In 1939 he appeared in several broadcasts in the new fledgling BBC television broadcast, including a play by Irish playwright Teresa Deevy called The King of Spain's Daughter,[10] and produced by Denis Johnston.

Partial filmography


National Television started in October 1936, initially broadcast just two hours a day. The station stopped broadcasting at the start of the War, and didn't restart until 1946.

"Plays" (like everything else) could last just one hour maximum, but some were only 25 minutes long. Also, there was no recording possible, so any repeat was really a new broadcast (as in The Advantages of Paternity).


The King of Spain's Daughter (25 Feb 1939) [11]
Writer Teresa Deevy
Producer Denis Johnston
Annie Kinsella Phyllis Ryan
Peter Kinsella Brefni O'Rorke
Mrs Marks Ann Clery
Jim Harris Patrick Boxill
Roddy Mann Tony Quinn
The Advantages of Paternity (12 May 1939) [12]
A comedy by Horton Giddy.
Author Horton Giddy
Producer Denis Johnston
General Yagunin Brefni O'Rorke
Colonel Ilyitch Frank Thornton-Bassett
Brunov Erik Chitty
Orderly Stuart Latham
Good Morning, Bill! (4 Jun 1939) [13]
A comedy by P. G. Wodehouse.
Author P. G. Wodehouse
Producer Royston Morley
Bill Peter Haddon
Lord Tidmouth Michael Shipley
Sir Hugo Drake Brefni O'Rorke


Death at Newton-Stewart (3 Feb 1939) [14]
A reconstruction of an unparalleled murder of the 'seventies [1870s], extracted from the records of the Ulster Assizes.
Producer Denis Johnston
Brefni O'RorkeFrank Thornton-BassettUna O'ConnorGodfrey KentonRupert SiddonsJoan FrankMillar WilsonAlex McCrindleAdrian ByrneIan DawsonMaureen MooreNigel FitzgeraldJohn CliffordRobert SansomCharles MaunsellEric NoelsClive Baxter
The Parnell Commission (18 Jul 1939) [15]
A reconstruction of the famous forgery investigation of 1888–89
Producer Denis Johnston
Piggott Eliot Makeham
Sir Charles Russel Felix Aylmer
Parnell Mark Dignam
Attorney General Wilfrid Walter
Eye Witness Brefni O'Rorke
Mrs O'Shea Olga Edwardes
President of the Court Graveley Edwards
Timothy Harrington Blake Giffard
Doctor Maguire Nigel Fitzgerald
Henniker Heaton Lionel Dymoke
Frank Hugh O'Donnell Harry Hutchinson
Court Registrar Leo McCabe
Captain O'Shea Charles Oliver
Friend Micheline Patton
Servant at Eltham Moya Devlin
Solicitor's Clerk Russell Hogarth
Spanish Policeman Rafael Terry
Houston's Voice
Kenneth Barton
[Actor] Jack Clifford


  1. ^ Radio Times (7 Oct 1937), Death at Newtonstewart, vol. 57, BBC National Programme, pp. 64, 11 This earlier radio broadcast is similar. Inside the Radio Times there, there are some background reading, as well as photographs and a map.


  1. ^ a b c "Births in the District of Clontarf & Howth No. 1 in the Union of North Dublin, 1889" (PDF). Entry Numbers 48–57. Retrieved 8 Mar 2021.
  2. ^ "Deaths Registered in October, November and December, 1946". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 8 Mar 2021.
  3. ^ Brefni O'Rorke at the British Film Institute
  4. ^ a b "Baptisms administered in the Church of Clontarf in the Parish of Clontarf in the Diocese of Dublin, 1889". p. 20. Retrieved 8 Mar 2021.
  5. ^ "Marriages in the Registrar's District of Dublin South, 1875" (PDF). Entry Numbers 105–108. Retrieved 8 Mar 2021.
  6. ^ "Residents of a house 11.1 in Richmond Road and Richmond Avenue East (Clontarf West, Dublin)". 31 Mar 1901. Retrieved 8 Mar 2010.
  7. ^ "Residents of a house 2 in Sanford Avenue (Merchant's Quay, Dublin)". 2 Apr 1911. Retrieved 8 Mar 2010.
  8. ^ Brefni O'Rorke at AllMovie
  9. ^ Freeman's Journal, 27 December 1917, p. 6.
  10. ^ "The King of Spain's Daughter [Television]". The Teresa Deevy Archive. Maynooth University. Retrieved 8 Mar 2021.
  11. ^ Radio Times (25 Feb 1939), The King of Spain's Daughter, vol. 62, BBC Television, p. 16
  12. ^ Radio Times (12 May 1939), The Advantages of Paternity, vol. 63, BBC Television, p. 15
  13. ^ Radio Times (4 Jun 1939), Good Morning, Bill!, vol. 63, BBC Television, p. 16
  14. ^ Radio Times (3 Feb 1939), Death at Newton-Stewart, vol. 62, BBC Television, p. 12[A]
  15. ^ Radio Times (18 Jul 1939), The Parnell Commission, vol. 64, BBC Television, p. 16

External links

This page was last edited on 3 June 2022, at 19:20
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