William Francis Breffni O'Rorke
26 June 1889
|Died||11 November 1946 (aged 57)|
|Other names||Brefni O'Rourke|
He was born as William Francis Breffni O'Rorke at 2 Esplande Villas in Dollymount, Clontarf, Dublin on 26 June 1889, and baptised at Clontarf Parish Church on 1 August 1889. His father, Frederick O'Rorke, was a cork merchant, and his mother, Jane Caroline O'Rorke, née Morgan, was an actress. He had an older brother, Frederick, who was twelve years old than him.
He began studying acting with his mother and made his professional début in 1912 at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin in a production of Shaw's John Bull's Other Island. While still living in Dublin, he met and married in 1916 Alice Cole, a chorus-girl turned actress, who had divorced her first husband and immigrated from South Africa with her young son. Thus O'Rorke became the stepfather of Cyril Cusack.
In 1939 he appeared in several broadcasts in the new fledgling BBC television broadcast, including a play by Irish playwright Teresa Deevy called The King of Spain's Daughter, and produced by Denis Johnston.
- The Ghost of St. Michael's (1941) – Sergeant MacFarlane
- This Man Is Dangerous (1941) – Dr Crosbie
- Love on the Dole (1941) – Dole Officer (uncredited)
- Cottage to Let (1941) – Scottish Police Inspector (uncredited)
- Jeannie (1941) – Quarantine Officer
- The Black Sheep of Whitehall (1942) – Ministry receptionist (uncredited)
- Hatter's Castle (1942) – Foyle
- The Missing Million (1942) – Coleman
- The Next of Kin (1942) – Brigadier Blunt
- The Day Will Dawn (1942) – Political journalist
- They Flew Alone (1942) – Mac
- Unpublished Story (1942) – Denton
- The First of the Few (1942) – Specialist
- Secret Mission (1942) – Father Jouvet
- Much Too Shy (1942) – Mr Somers
- King Arthur Was a Gentleman (1942) – Colonel Duncannon
- We'll Meet Again (1943) – Dr Drake
- Tomorrow We Live (1943) – Moreau
- The Flemish Farm (1943) – Minister
- Escape to Danger (1943) – Security Officer
- They Met in the Dark (1943) – Detective Inspector Burrows
- The Lamp Still Burns (1943) – Mr Lorrimer
- The Hundred Pound Window (1944) – Kennedy
- Tawny Pipit (1944) – Uncle Arthur
- It Happened One Sunday (1944) – Engineer
- Don't Take It to Heart (1944) – Lord Chaunduyt
- Men of Rochdale (1944) – Miles Ashworth
- Twilight Hour (1945) – Richard Melville
- They Were Sisters (1945) – Coroner
- Waltz Time (1945) – Emperor
- Perfect Strangers (1945) – Mr Hargrove
- Murder in Reverse (1945) – Sullivan
- The Rake's Progress (1945) – Bromhead
- The Voice Within (1945) – Sergeant Sullivan
- I See a Dark Stranger (1946) – Michael O'Callaghan
- The Root of All Evil (1947) – Farnish
- Green Fingers (1947) – Coroner
- The Upturned Glass (1947) – Dr Farrell
- Jassy (1947) – Fielding, footman (uncredited) (final film role)
National Television started in October 1936, initially broadcast just two hours a day. National Television stopped broadcast at the start of the War, and didn't restart until 1946.
"Plays" (like everything else) could last just one hour maximum, but some were only 25 minutes long. Also, there was no recording possible, so any repeat was really a new broadcast (as in The Advantages of Paternity).
|The King of Spain's Daughter||(25 Feb 1939)|||
|Annie Kinsella||Phyllis Ryan|
|Peter Kinsella||Brefni O'Rorke|
|Mrs Marks||Ann Clery|
|Jim Harris||Patrick Boxill|
|Roddy Mann||Tony Quinn|
|The Advantages of Paternity||(12 May 1939)|||
|A comedy by Horton Giddy.|
|General Yagunin||Brefni O'Rorke|
|Colonel Ilyitch||Frank Thornton-Bassett|
|Good Morning, Bill!||(4 Jun 1939)|||
|A comedy by P. G. Wodehouse.|
|Author||P. G. Wodehouse|
|Lord Tidmouth||Michael Shipley|
|Sir Hugo Drake||Brefni O'Rorke|
|Death at Newton-Stewart||(3 Feb 1939)|||
|A reconstruction of an unparalleled murder of the 'seventies [1870s], extracted from the records of the Ulster Assizes.|
|Brefni O'Rorke Frank Thornton-Bassett Una O'Connor Godfrey Kenton Rupert Siddons Joan Frank Millar Wilson Alex McCrindle Adrian Byrne Ian Dawson Maureen Moore Nigel Fitzgerald John Clifford Robert Sansom Charles Maunsell Eric Noels Clive Baxter|
|The Parnell Commission||(18 Jul 1939)|||
|A reconstruction of the famous forgery investigation of 1888–89|
|Sir Charles Russel||Felix Aylmer|
|Attorney General||Wilfrid Walter|
|Eye Witness||Brefni O'Rorke|
|Mrs O'Shea||Olga Edwardes|
|President of the Court||Graveley Edwards|
|Timothy Harrington||Blake Giffard|
|Doctor Maguire||Nigel Fitzgerald|
|Henniker Heaton||Lionel Dymoke|
|Frank Hugh O'Donnell||Harry Hutchinson|
|Court Registrar||Leo McCabe|
|Captain O'Shea||Charles Oliver|
|Servant at Eltham||Moya Devlin|
|Solicitor's Clerk||Russell Hogarth|
|Spanish Policeman||Rafael Terry|
- "Births in the District of Clontarf & Howth No. 1 in the Union of North Dublin, 1889" (PDF). irishgenealogy.ie. Entry Numbers 48–57. Retrieved 8 Mar 2021.
- "Deaths Registered in October, November and December, 1946". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 8 Mar 2021.
- Brefni O'Rorke at the British Film Institute
- "Baptisms administered in the Church of Clontarf in the Parish of Clontarf in the Diocese of Dublin, 1889". irishgenealogy.ie. p. 20. Retrieved 8 Mar 2021.
- "Marriages in the Registrar's District of Dublin South, 1875" (PDF). irishgenealogy.ie. Entry Numbers 105–108. Retrieved 8 Mar 2021.
- "Residents of a house 11.1 in Richmond Road and Richmond Avenue East (Clontarf West, Dublin)". census.nationalarchives.ie. 31 Mar 1901. Retrieved 8 Mar 2010.
- "Residents of a house 2 in Sanford Avenue (Merchant's Quay, Dublin)". census.nationalarchives.ie. 2 Apr 1911. Retrieved 8 Mar 2010.
- Brefni O'Rorke at AllMovie
- "The King of Spain's Daughter [Television]". The Teresa Deevy Archive. Maynooth University. Retrieved 8 Mar 2021.
- Radio Times (25 Feb 1939), The King of Spain's Daughter, 62, BBC Television, p. 16
- Radio Times (12 May 1939), The Advantages of Paternity, 63, BBC Television, p. 15
- Radio Times (4 Jun 1939), Good Morning, Bill!, 63, BBC Television, p. 16
- Radio Times (3 Feb 1939), Death at Newton-Stewart, 62, BBC Television, p. 12[A]
- Radio Times (18 Jul 1939), The Parnell Commission, 64, BBC Television, p. 16