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J. M. Kerrigan
Born Joseph Michael Kerrigan
December 16, 1884(1884-12-16)
Dublin, Ireland
Died April 29, 1964 (aged 79)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1907–1960

Joseph Michael Kerrigan (16 December 1884 – 29 April 1964), better known as J. M. Kerrigan, born in Dublin, Ireland, was an Irish character actor.


Kerrigan worked as a newspaper reporter until 1907 when he joined the famous Abbey Players. There he became a stalwart, appearing in plays by Lady Gregory, John Millington Synge, William Butler Yeats, and Sean O'Casey (for whom he played the role of Jimmy Farrell in The Playboy of the Western World.

His first screen appearance was in the silent film Food of Love in 1916. By the 1920s he was appearing on Broadway, often in plays by Shakespeare, Ibsen, and Sheridan.

He settled permanently in Hollywood in 1935, having been recruited along with several other Abbey performers, to appear in John Ford's The Informer. In that film and in Ford's The Long Voyage Home, he plays similar roles, that of a leech who attaches himself to men until they run out of money. Perhaps his best known role was in The General Died at Dawn, where he plays a character actually named Leach, in which he steals scenes from Gary Cooper, Madeleine Carroll, and William Frawley. In it he plays a sinister little petty thief who, holding a gun on Cooper, says, "I may be fat, but I'm agile." Regrettably, in the forties and fifties he rarely got good parts and eventually became little more that a bit player.

He had very little screen time in films which he starred as minor roles, such as the "First Drayman" in Merely Mary Ann (1931) with Janet Gaynor. One of his most recognizable minor roles in Gone with the Wind (1939), when he played John Gallegher, the seemly jovial mill owner who whips his convict labour in to "co-operation". He also appeared in Walt Disney's 1954 famous film version of Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea in a minor role at the beginning of the film.

In 1946 Kerrigan tried breaking into Broadway shows, playing the discombobulated leprechaun Jackeen J. O'Malley in the show "Barnaby and Mr. O'Malley", based on the Crockett Johnson comic strip.

Despite having small roles, Kerrigan has a "Star" on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6621 Hollywood Blvd.

He died in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California on April 29, 1964. He is buried in Culver City's Holy Cross Cemetery.

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