'It was a privilege to know him' - President Higgins leads tributes to actor Tom Hickey 

One of the leading Irish actors of his generation, Mr Hickey trained with Deirdre O’Connell at the Stanislavski Studio while working as a cameraman at RTÉ
'It was a privilege to know him' - President Higgins leads tributes to actor Tom Hickey 

STEVEN HEANEY

President Michael D Higgins has paid tribute to veteran actor Tom Hickey, who died yesterday evening.

One of the leading Irish actors of his generation, Mr Hickey trained with Deirdre O’Connell at the Stanislavski Studio while working as a cameraman at RTÉ.

He later became one of the founding members of the Dublin Focus Theatre, playing in a number of ground-breaking productions, including Miss Julie, Antigone, Uncle Vanya and The Night of the Iguana.

He made memorable contributions as an actor to productions in the Project Arts Centre in Dublin, working in collaborations of original work with directors and playwrights including Tom MacIntyre, Patrick Mason, Tom Murphy, Marina Carr and Garry Hynes.

Mr Hickey worked with acclaimed director Lenny Abrahamson on the films What Richard Did and The Garage, with Neil Jordan on The Butcher Boy and Breakfast on Pluto and with Jim Sheridan in My Left Foot.

On TV, he was perhaps best known for his role as Benjy Riordan on The Riordans.

Among his colleagues in the acting community, he was regarded as an artist of total commitment to performance, to his art and to his community.

Mr Hickey was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2013.

He continued to act despite the onset of his condition and became an ambassador for Parkinson's Association of Ireland (PAI) in the years following his diagnosis.

“It is with great sadness that Sabina and I learned of the death of Tom Hickey,” said President Higgins.

"Giving over six decades to his profession. He leaves an indelible imprint on Irish theatre.

"He will be so missed. It was a privilege to know him as a friend,” he added.

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