Tributes have poured in after it was confirmed that Irish actor Tom Hickey had died in his 70s. The actor had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2013.
The Irish acting icon boasted a career spanning more than six decades, taking lead roles in films such as Breakfast on Pluto, Fools of Fortune and Inside I’m Dancing.
Paying tribute, President Higgins said: “It is with great sadness that Sabina and I learned of the death of Tom Hickey, one of the greatest actors of his generation, giving over six decades to his profession.
“He leaves an indelible imprint on Irish theatre.
“He will be so missed. It was a privilege to know him as a friend.”
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Marion O’Dwyer added: “Tom Hickey. He was my Dad once, my husband at least twice; so many plays elevated by his presence. The artist and the man; fine and noble and far too funny.
“His work for Parkinson’s. All he was and did. Impossible to pay tribute properly; lucky to know you, Tom. Rest easy.”
Olwen Fouere went on to say: “Farewell, dear Tom.
“Thank you for so many great times working together. R.I.P. Tom Hickey.”
Tom had been a founding member of the Dublin Focus Theatre group – with the organisation saying: “Among his colleagues in the acting community, he was regarded as an artist of total commitment to performance, to his art and to his community.”
Tom was perhaps best known for his portrayal of Benjy Riordan in the long-running RTE One drama, The Riordans, for 16 years.
The actor who was born in Kildare, Ireland in 1944 boasted a successful stage career, appearing in productions such as The Night of the Iguana, Uncle Vanya, Miss Julie and Antigone.
He had started his career back in 1963 at Deirdre O’Connell’s Stanislavski Studio in Dublin, training in Stanislavski’s style of acting, adding that he saw the entertainment industry as a “vocation” after deciding at just the age of five that he wanted to become an actor.