Vincent Dowling

Vincent Gerard Dowling (7 September 1929 – 9 May 2013)[1] was an Irish actor and director.

Vincent Dowling
Vincent Gerard Dowling

7 September 1929
Dublin, Ireland
Died9 May 2013(2013-05-09) (aged 83)
Boston, Massachusetts, US
OccupationActor, director
Years active1950–2013
Brenda Doyle
(m. 1952; div. 1975)

Olwen O'Herlihy
(m. 1975)
Children6, including Bairbre Dowling and Richard Boyd Barrett


Dowling was born in Dublin and educated at St Mary's College and Rathmines College of Commerce. He came to prominence in the 1950s for his role as Christy Kennedy in the long-running radio soap opera, The Kennedys of Castleross and as a member of the Abbey Theatre company. He returned to the Abbey as artistic director from 1987 to 1990.

United StatesEdit

Dowling emigrated to the United States and was artistic and producing director of The Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival (GLSF) in Cleveland, Ohio from 1976 to 1984,[2] where he directed, produced and acted in many classical works, by Shakespeare and others.[2] He is credited with discovering actor Tom Hanks.[2] Dowling received an Ohio Valley local Emmy for the 1983 PBS broadcast of his 1982 GLSF production of The Playboy of the Western World.[3]

He was visiting professor at The College of Wooster in Ohio during the 1986-87 academic year. He founded the Miniature Theatre of Chester (now the Chester Theatre Company), in Chester, Massachusetts, in 1990.[4]

Personal lifeEdit

Dowling married actress Brenda Doyle in 1952; they had four daughters, including actress Bairbre Dowling, before divorcing in 1975.[5] In 1975, Dowling married Olwen O'Herlihy, with whom he had a son.[5]

Politician Richard Boyd Barrett was the biological son of Dowling and recording artist and actress Sinéad Cusack from a 1966 relationship while both were at the Abbey Theatre; Boyd Barrett was adopted as an infant. Dowling contacted Boyd Barrett after his connection with Cusack was publicly revealed in 2007. Their relationship was made known after his death in 2013.[6]

Dowling published an autobiography in 2000.[7] His papers, from 1976 onward, are housed at the Kent State University[8] and John Carroll University libraries.

Selected filmographyEdit


  1. ^ "Vincent Dowling, Irish director and actor who led Great Lakes Theater Festival, dies at 83". The Plain Dealer. May 11, 2013. Retrieved 2013-05-12.
  2. ^ a b c Vincent Dowling, Curriculum Vitae: Summary Archived 2008-08-27 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "About - 50 Stars". Great Lakes Theater. Retrieved 20 April 2018. In 1982, Dowling's The Playboy of the Western World was taped by PBS and won a local Emmy Award.
  4. ^ "Vincent Dowling, 83; Irish actor, director cofounded Chester Theatre Company - The Boston Globe". Retrieved 2017-05-30.
  5. ^ a b "Dowling, Vincent 1929–". Contemporary Authors. HighBeam Research. Archived from the original on 10 June 2014. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  6. ^ Lynch, Donal (12 May 2013). "Dowling was my father, his death saddens me". Irish Independent. Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  7. ^ Dowling, Vincent (2001). Astride the Moon: A Theatrical Life. Wolfhound Press. ISBN 0-86327-828-0.
  8. ^ "Vincent Dowling papers". Library; Special Collections and Archives. Kent State University.
  9. ^ My Wife's Lodger (1952) at IMDb

External linksEdit