Joseph Maher

Joseph Sylvester Maher (pronounced Ma-her or Ma-HARR,[1][2] December 29, 1933 – July 17, 1998) was an Irish-born American character actor, playwright and director, best known for his roles in motion pictures, television and the theater. He was nominated for three Tony Awards, won a Drama Desk Award and Obie Award, and was a nominee of the Olivier Award for his supporting roles on the stage. He was also known for appearing in plays by Joe Orton.

Joseph Maher
Born(1933-12-29)December 29, 1933
DiedJuly 17, 1998(1998-07-17) (aged 64)
  • Character actor (stage, film and television)
  • playwright
  • director (theatre)
Years active1958−1998

Early lifeEdit

Maher was one of ten children born to Delia A. (née O'Malley) and Joseph Maher, a schoolteacher, in Westport, County Mayo, Irish Free State. He was educated by the Irish Christian Brothers and emigrated to Canada in 1956 where he worked for an oil company before becoming interested in theatre. He worked for three years with the Canadian Players before making his New York stage debut in Brendan Behan's The Hostage.[3]


Maher's Broadway theatre credits include The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, King Henry V, The Royal Family, Night and Day, and Loot.


Maher's film credits include For Pete's Sake, Heaven Can Wait, Time After Time, Just Tell Me What You Want, I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can, The Evil That Men Do, Frankenweenie, My Stepmother is an Alien, Sister Act, Funny Farm, I.Q., In & Out, The Shadow, Mars Attacks! and The Out-of-Towners.


Maher's appearances on television included roles in the soap operas Guiding Light and Another World. He also guest-starred in several other TV series including M*A*S*H, Wonder Woman, When Things Were Rotten, Ellery Queen, St. Elsewhere, ALF, Gimme a Break!, Moonlighting, Thirtysomething, Murder, She Wrote, Seinfeld, Tales from the Crypt and Chicago Hope.


Maher died of a brain tumor at his home in Los Angeles, California, on July 17, 1998. Maher's interment was in his hometown of Westport, County Mayo, Ireland.


Year Title Role Notes
1966 Passages from James Joyce's Finnegans Wake Celebrant
1972 It Ain't Easy Charlie
1974 For Pete's Sake Mr. Coates
1976 Diary of the Dead Walter Johnson
1978 Heaven Can Wait Sisk
1979 Time After Time Adams
1980 Just Tell Me What You Want Dr. Coleson
1980 Those Lips, Those Eyes Fibby Geyer
1981 Going Ape! Gridley
1981 Under the Rainbow The Duke
1982 I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can Doctor Kalman
1984 The Evil That Men Do Molloch
1984 Frankenweenie Mr. Chambers Short
1988 Funny Farm Michael Sinclair
1988 My Stepmother is an Alien Lucas Budlong
1990 The Local Stigmatic David
1992 Sister Act Bishop O'Hara
1994 Killer Dr. Alstricht
1994 The Shadow Isaac Newboldt
1994 I.Q. Nathan Liebknecht
1996 Surviving Picasso Kahnweiler
1996 Mars Attacks! White House Decorator
1997 In & Out Father Tim
1998 OK Garage Lilly
1998 Hoods Dr. Alstrich
1999 The Out-of-Towners Mr. Wellstone (final film role)


  1. ^ "Joseph Maher Biography (1933-)". Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  2. ^ "Joseph Maher, Versatile Character Actor, Is Dead at 64 - The New York Times". July 21, 1998. Retrieved June 12, 2017.
  3. ^ Joseph Maher profile,; accessed June 11, 2017.

External linksEdit