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Vincent Hanley

Vincent Hanley presenting MT-USA from New York City in 1984, three years before his death.
Born April 0, 1954(1954-04-00)
Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland
Died 18 April 1987
Cause of death AIDS-related blindness
Residence Ireland
Nationality Irish
Other names Fab Vinny
Occupation Radio and television presenter
Employer RT√Č
Known for Radio presenting, MT-USA and his early death

Vincent Hanley (born in Clonmel, County Tipperary in April 1954, died in Dublin on 18 April, 1987[1]) was a pioneering Irish radio DJ and television presenter, nicknamed "Fab Vinny".[2] He worked mainly for Radio Telef√≠s √Čireann, and was the first Irish celebrity to die from an AIDS-related illness.[3][4]

Hanley began presenting pop music shows on RT√Č Radio Cork in 1976. He also did stints in Dublin on RT√Č Radio One and RT√Č television,[5] including a special on Gilbert O'Sullivan.[6] When the first dedicated pop station, RT√Č Radio Two (now branded 2FM), was started in 1979, he was one of its best-known DJs.[7][8] In 1981, he moved to London to work for Capital Radio.[3] In 1984, he declined a lucrative offer to remain there and moved to New York City.[3]

Hanley founded Green Apple Productions in 1983 with Conor McAnally, an RT√Č television producer and son of actor Ray McAnally. The company produced MT-USA (Music Television USA), a three-hour-long music video show modelled on the new American cable channel, MTV.[5] MT-USA was broadcast on RT√Č from 1984-87 on Thursday evenings, repeated on Sunday afternoons. Each block of videos was followed by a segment filmed in New York City with Hanley introducing the videos, discussing American music and culture, and interviewing a celebrity.[5] RT√Č described him as Europe's first VJ (video jockey). All videos were of American acts, many previously little-known in Ireland.[3]

In 1987, Hanley died aged not quite 33.[1] He had been visibly ill for some time, and was rumoured to have an AIDS-related illness, which he denied.[9] This reflected the stigma then associated with the disease and with homosexuality in Ireland, which was not decriminalised until 1993.[10] The illness admitted by Hanley was congenital cerebral toxoplasmosis, described as an "eye disorder"; he was blind in one eye by his death.[8] Toxoplasmosis is very rarely fatal in adults who do not have a weakened immune system. In 2000, Hanley's friend and colleague Bill Hughes, who had himself come out in the 1990s, agreed that Hanley had in fact died of an AIDS-related illness.[10] The same year, the Sunday Tribune newspaper placed Hanley at the top of a list of Irish gay icons.[3]


  1. ^ a b "JB" (1987-04-20). "Vincent Hanley: an appreciation". The Irish Times: p. 8.  
  2. ^ Kearney, M√°ire (2001-07-21). "Broadcast News". The Irish Times: p. 46. Retrieved 2007-10-18.  
  3. ^ a b c d e "Irish gay icons". Sunday Tribune. 2000-08-21. Retrieved 2007-10-20.  
  4. ^ Richard Dwyer (2009-12-10). "Back to the 1980s?". forth. Retrieved 2009-12-11.  
  5. ^ a b c "Green Apple now reaping the harvest". The Irish Times: p. 19. 1987-10-13.  
  6. ^ "Gilbert O'Sullivan: Television Appearances". Retrieved 2007-10-18. "Me And My Music, RT√Č Television [Ireland]. Broadcast: 6 Oct 1976. Gilbert is interviewed by Vincent Hanley and answers questions from fans in the audience."  
  7. ^ "The new radio channel". The Irish Times: p. 12. 1979-05-30.  
  8. ^ a b Brennock, Mark; Padraig Yeates (1987-04-20). "Hanley friends deny he had AIDS". The Irish Times: pp. 1,8.  
  9. ^ Yeates, Padraig (1987-04-20). "Private grief versus public good". The Irish Times: p. 8.  
  10. ^ a b "The love that is beginning to speak its name". Sunday Tribune. 2000-08-21. Retrieved 2007-10-20.  


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