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Noel Purcell
Born 23 December 1900(1900-12-23)
Dublin, Ireland
Died 3 March 1985 (aged 84)
Dublin, Ireland
Occupation Film, television actor
Years active 1926–1984

Noel Purcell (born December 23, 1900, Dublin — March 3, 1985, Dublin) was an Irish film and television actor.



Purcell began his show business career at the age of 12 in Dublin's Gaiety Theatre. Later, he toured Ireland in a vaudeville act with Jimmy O'Dea.[1]

Stage-trained in the classics in Dublin, Purcell moved into films in 1934. He appeared in Captain Boycott (1947) and as the elderly sailor whose death marooned the lovers-to-be in the first sound film version of The Blue Lagoon (1949). Purcell played a member of Captain Ahab's crew in Moby Dick (1956), a gameskeeper in The List of Adrian Messenger (1963), and a barman in The Mackintosh Man (1973), all films directed by John Huston.

In 1955, he was an off-and-on regular on the British filmed TV series The Buccaneers (released to American TV in 1956), and Purcell narrated a Hibernian documentary, Seven Wonders of Ireland (1959). In 1962, he portrayed the lusty William McCoy in Lewis Milestone's Mutiny on the Bounty. He played a taciturn Irish in-law to Lebanese-American entertainer Danny Thomas' character Danny Williams in a 1963 episode of The Danny Thomas Show. In 1971, he played the caring rabbi in the children's musical drama Flight of the Doves.

Purcell also gained some recognition as a singer. Shortly after World War II, songwriter Leo Maguire composed "The Dublin Saunter" for him. He performed the song live for many years and later recorded it for the Glenside label. However, the recording was not a hit. As Purcell recalled many years later, "I don't think one person in the world bought it." In 1981, he recorded a spoken word version of Pete St. John's "Dublin in the Rare Old Times".[2]

In June 1984, Purcell was conferred with the Freedom of the City of Dublin.[3] Nine months later, he died in his native city at the age of 84.


See also


  1. ^ The Irish Times, "Noel Purcell dies in Dublin aged 84", March 4, 1985
  2. ^ The Irish Times, "Noel Purcell - 81 and still performing", (p.5), December 24, 1981
  3. ^ The Irish Times, "Well deserved honour for Potter and Purcell", July 5, 1984

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