- 11 Jul 19
Brendan O'Carroll leads the avalanche of tributes to the Irish comedy legend
The sad news this morning is that 68-year-old comedy legend Brendan Grace has passed away from lung cancer.
Part of the Irish showbiz landscape for 40 years, his Bottler and Father of the Bride characters made him a much-loved household name.
More recently, he reached a whole new audience as the confrontational, jungle music loving Father Fintan Stack in Father Ted.
In a life extremely well lived, he hung out with Sinatra, topped the Irish charts with his version of 'Combine Harvester', soaked up the sun in Florida where he had a home, ran a pub in Killaloe and featured in the pages of Hot Press on many occasions.
One of the first to pay tribute is fellow comic Brendan O'Carroll.
"So sad at the passing of a great comedy legend, husband and father," he says. "He opened doors for so many of us and leaves a legacy of love and laughter that will echo through this land and we will all mourn his passing. Rest peacefully Bottler you’ve earned it."
Speaking on behalf of RTÉ with whom he had a long, close relationship, Director-General, Dee Forbes, says: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Brendan Grace. Brendan was one of Ireland’s original funny men, and one of Irish comedy’s true pioneers. While there are now many Irish comedians who are household names, Brendan emerged as a talent during an era when there were very few established Irish comedians. Through his live shows, his live recordings, The Brendan Grace Show and many memorable guest appearances on RTÉ’s The Late Late Show, Brendan established himself in the hearts of generations of fans, not just in Ireland, but all over the world. Importantly, he also paved the way for many of the wonderful comedians this country has produced over the last twenty years or so and leaves behind a legacy he and his family can be proud of. He will be deeply missed. My thoughts and those of his many friends and fans across RTÉ are with his family and friends at this sad time.”
Jason Byrne adds: "Woke up in Sweden to find out Brendan Grace has passed away, what a lovely, funny genius of a man, I hate that he's gone... May he free nippers in peace wherever he's gone, so sad Brendan, just so sad."
His fellow comedian and podcaster Jarlath Regan observes: "Brendan Grace was a force of nature capable of killing in any room. Making one group of people laugh is hard. Making every generation laugh is next to impossible but he made that his calling card. When you watch his stand-up now you realise how ahead of his time he truly was."
"Feels like I’ve lost a wing this morning," mourns Dustin The Turkey. "RIP Brendan, the original and the best."
Broadcaster Gavin Duffy agrees: "Brendan Grace has died aged 68. He holds a special place in Irish show business along with Joe Dolan. Throughout the 70s and 80s he and Joe were guaranteed to pack any hall in Ireland. He was simply a brilliant comedian who was loved by his army of fans."
For the time being, the final words go to Father Stack: "I've had my fun and that's all that matters."