Frank leads tributes to lifelong friend Michael

Frank leads tributes to lifelong friend Michael
Michael Twomey receiving the Freedom of the city in 2013.

TRIBUTES have been pouring in for Michael Twomey, one-half of Cork’s legendary double act, Cha and Miah, who has passed away after a battle with cancer.

The stalwart of Cork theatre performed for more than 70 years — first appearing on stage at the old Opera House age 11 in 1944.

Best known as Miah in Cha and Miah, he shot to fame after appearing on the TV show, Hall’s Pictorial Weekly. The exposure prompted a national cabaret tour with his close friend, on and off the stage, Frank Duggan, also known as Cha.

“The only counties we haven’t appeared in are Donegal and Monaghan — at least you’ve two counties with good taste,” Frank said yesterday.

Michael was a writer, a producer, actor, director, narrator and adjudicator. He has been described as “an icon” and “a gentleman.”

He was also a husband to Marie and a dedicated family man. He was 84.

Michael Twomey and Frank Duggan as 'Cha and Miah', pictured at their old haunt at the Marina. Photo by Shane Schollard
Michael Twomey and Frank Duggan as 'Cha and Miah', pictured at their old haunt at the Marina. Photo by Shane Schollard

Frank Duggan said he will miss his friend of 60 years.

“I was shattered, I was devastated. We were very good friends since 1958 on the stage and off the stage.

“He was a very modest man, he was very successful in the theatre but despite that, he had no airs or graces. He was a very ordinary guy and we always got on together.

“His knowledge of the theatre was very profound, especially in the comedy-line. He was absolutely superb.

“I will miss his company.” Frank hopes his friend will be remembered for his theatrical legacy. He said his Michael would always be in his heart.

Before their retirement, they were awarded the Freedom Of The City in 2013 by Councillor John Buttimer.

The former Lord Mayor said Michael was “articulate and intelligent, thoughtful and warm-hearted. I’m very saddened by his passing, I was honoured to confer the Freedom of the City on Michael in 2013 for the years of entertainment and commitment and dedication to the artistic and cultural life of Cork, in many different guises.

“He’s a character that, like lots of Cork people, everybody would feel they would know him and knew him intimately.”

Actor Billa O’Connell worked alongside Michael for 33-years in variety shows and pantomimes.

“I’ll tell you now, he was brilliant.

“‘Tis he produced them all — he produced Summer Rebels and he produced the pantomime. He was a masterpiece at production. He’d know whether a line was right or wrong and when he’d change it, it would always be right. Chalk it down, he was a perfectionist in every way.”

Billa said Michael “wouldn’t know the Barrs colours from the Glen, he had no interest in the GAA” but he knew everything about theatre. “He was a gentleman and very much so.”

Chair of The Everyman palace board, Denis McSweeney, classed Michael as “the most valued elder statesman for those of us privileged to serve with him on the board.”

Lord Mayor of the city, Tony Fitzgerald, said Michael Twomey was a legend within Cork theatre and a true Corkonian who offered an “unwavering lifetime contribution to professional and amateur theatre and song in Cork city”.

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