Irish dramatist, journalist and self-styled curmudgeon Hugh Leonard has died. He was 82.

Born in 1926, the prolific playwright had been ill for some time.

Hugh Leonard was the pseudonym of John (Jack) Keyes Byrne, who was raised in Dalkey, Co Dublin. He died early this morning.

He adopted the name in the 1950s while working in the Civil service fearing his employers would frown upon his writing.

His plays included The Big Birthday , A Leap in the Dark, Stephen D , The Poker Session , The Patrick Pearse Motel , The Au Pair Man and Da . . .


Hugh Leonard funeral taking place in Dublin today 

Monday February 16 2009

The funeral of award-winning playwright Hugh Leonard is taking place in Dublin today.

The Dalkey native, whose real name was Jack Keyes Byrne, died in hospital last week at the age of 82.

Leonard won a Tony award in 1978 for his play Da, which was later made into a film starring Martin Sheen.

He also wrote a weekly column for the Sunday Independent.

His funeral mass is taking place this morning at the Church of the Assumption in Dalkey . . .



Hugh Leonard, 82, Dies; Wrote Broadway’s ‘Da’


Published: February 12, 2009

Hugh Leonard, the prolific Irish playwright, memoirist, travel writer and dyspeptic newspaper columnist whose autobiographical play “Da” won four Tony Awards in 1978, including best play, died Thursday in Dublin. He was 82 and lived in Dalkey, the Dublin suburb where he grew up.

He died of multiple ailments in a hospital after having been ill for some time, his daughter, Danielle Byrne, said.

Mr. Leonard was a celebrity in Dublin, where his plays were produced at the city’s famed theaters — the Abbey, the Gate and others — beginning in 1956; where his two volumes of autobiography, “Home Before Night” and “Out After Dark,” were widely read; and where he wrote a weekly column in The Sunday Independent, Ireland’s largest Sunday newspaper . . .

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