“A brilliant comedian, an absolute gentleman and a true friend” - Tributes paid to Brendan Grace

“A brilliant comedian, an absolute gentleman and a true friend” - Tributes paid to Brendan Grace

The late Brendan Grace has been described by those who knew him as brilliant comedian, an absolute gentleman and a true friend.

The Dublin born comedian passed away on Thursday morning following a brief battle with lung cancer.

He was 68 and had been involved in the Irish showbusiness scene for 50 years.

News of Mr Grace’s ill-health broke earlier this month after his lung cancer was discovered following a bout of pneumonia.

The comedian cancelled his upcoming tour following the diagnosis.

Comedian, actor and singer Brendan Grace. 
Comedian, actor and singer Brendan Grace. 

Those in the world of theatre and entertainment, as well as the thousands of fans who saw him perform over the years, were quick to pay tribute to the comedian, actor and singer.

Cork actor Pascal Scott, star of Killinaskully and The Young Offenders, worked with Mr Grace in the past.

“I’ve done a few jobs with Brendan over the years - we were good old pals,” he told The Echo.

“I was very, very sorry to hear the news.

“He was one of the greats of Irish theatre,” he added.

“He was a wonderful comedian, a brilliant actor and an absolute gentleman.

Mr Scott admitted it was a shock to hear of his friend's illness in recent weeks.

“Although he had slowed down a bit in recent years - but he was still Brendan, still the same lovely guy.

“I didn’t realise he was seriously ill and I don’t think he did himself,” he added.

“He was telling me we were going to meet up once he got back down here on his tour.

“It was very sudden, a huge shock and a loss,” said Mr Scott.

“He really was one of the true greats of Irish theatre over the years and he certainly left his mark.

“He was a brilliant comedian, an absolute gentleman and a true friend.” 

Brendan Grace outside the Cork Opera House on 2002.Pic: Brian Lougheed
Brendan Grace outside the Cork Opera House on 2002.Pic: Brian Lougheed

 Grace was probably best known for his Bottler character as well as his portrayal of Father Fintan Stack in Father Ted.

Cork actor Ciarán Bermingham, a regular on the Cork panto scene who has also starred in Game of Thrones, described Mr Grace as an institution.

“It was a huge shock to hear of his death,” he told The Echo.

“I was very sad when I saw the news this morning.

He recalled when he was just 11-years-old seeing the famous comedian perform his one man show in the Cork Opera House.

“I thought Bottler was just the most incredible character that had been ever put on a stage,” he said.

“I had no idea what a stand-up comedian was at that stage - as far as I was concerned, this was just a man telling a story.

“And he was just so incredibly funny,” he added.

“He was a grown man with a beard, in a pair of shorts and a schoolboy blazer but I could identify with everything he said.

“He was phenomenal,” said Mr Bermingham.

“He really was at the top of his field."

Mr Bermingham added he would have liked to see Brendan Grace take on a dramatic role during his career.

“If you look at Pat Shortt now taking on dramatic roles, you can see the intensity a comic brings to it and I think Brendan would have been amazing at that.” 

Mr Bermingham also praised the Dublin born comedian for being loyal to the huge fanbase he had amassed throughout his career.

“He still did the shows all across Ireland where people who had seen him numerous times over the past 30 years would come out again in force to see him,” he said.

“He never let them down and he always put on fantastic shows.

“Everyone still loved him,” he added.

Brendan Grace with the real Echo boy Arthur on the Christy Ring Bridge in Cork in 1997.
Brendan Grace with the real Echo boy Arthur on the Christy Ring Bridge in Cork in 1997.

“He just had a natural likeability.

“He was an institution.

“Some of the young comics coming up today might not know who he was but he blazed a trail for them.

“He really put a stamp out there internationally for Irish comics to follow him,” said Mr Bermingham.

“It’s gas the memories that are flooding back to me from his many performances now.

“The man had a brilliant ability to be a storyteller which was fantastic,” he added.

“That’s what the best comedians are, storytellers, and Brendan was one of the best.” 

RTÉ will air a documentary looking back at five decades of Mr Grace's career tonight.

The documentary titled 'Brendan Grace - Funny Man,' was broadcast last October and will be repeated on RTÉ One at 10.15pm tonight.

Brendan Grace at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin in 2008. Pic: Collins Photos
Brendan Grace at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin in 2008. Pic: Collins Photos

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