|About the Book|
To Danny Kaye, the great American clown, he was the Irish rabbi- to the filmgoers of the 1950s and 1960s worldwide he was a marvellous character actor who by his sheer presence often gave distinction to an otherwise undistinguished film- toMoreTo Danny Kaye, the great American clown, he was the Irish rabbi- to the filmgoers of the 1950s and 1960s worldwide he was a marvellous character actor who by his sheer presence often gave distinction to an otherwise undistinguished film- to Irishmen everywhere his talent was something to boast about- but to his fellow Dubliners he was their Noel and when he sang Dublin Saunter and carolled about the pleasures of heavenly Dublin, with coffee at eleven and a stroll in Stephens Green, laughter, pride and tears struggled for masterly. Noel Purcell was the essential Irishman and Dubliner, kind, witty, talented, tolerant. He was one of the funniest pantomime dames that the Royal and the Gaiety had ever seen, dominating the stage by his great height and his magnificent head. As the schoolteacher in the film of Captain Boycott he stole the thunder of many more experienced actors and yet he gave up a career of film stardom because he could not bear the thought of being seven years away from his beloved Anna Liffey. As readers of Philip B Ryans other biography, Jimmy ODea, The Pride of the Coombe will realise, no one knows more about the great tradition of Dublin variety theatre than he. He tells the story - and what a story it is! - with great sympathy and insight. He reveals that quite a lot of cabinet-making done by the young Purcell survives. Not many people left the theatre (Noel started life as a call-boy in the Gaiety) to become a joiner and then return as a star. Touching and funny too is the love story behind the footlights. Noel met his future wife, Eileen Marmion, when she was twelve and he was thirty but as Noel said She waited for me to grow up, and their marriage was a love match which lasted forty-five years.