EVERLASTING JOHNNY MURPHY

Johnny Murphy was a great person, actor and a funny wise man.  He was bigger in life than his magnificent role of Joey ‘The Lips’ Fagan – the lover-man trumpet player in the hilarious movie The Commitments.  Johnny (72) finally gave up the Earthly-stage when he passed from this world after battling cancer for some five years, passing peacefully in Dublin’s St James’s Hospital on February 23rd.  Down-to-earth Johnny began acting over half a century ago in Dublin’s Focus Theatre – founded by the great Irish / American actress & director Deirdre O’Connell, who was married to Luke Kelly from the Dubliners.  Johnny went on to tour the world in the Gate Theatre production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot, playing Gogo.  Of course, most people remember Johnny as the lovable Joey The Lips in The Commitments, directed by Alan Parker, adapted from the brilliant novel by Roddy Doyle.  Johnny was a great man to tell a yarn, having the ability to go all night and into the early hours (and early houses) without repeating a story.  He was a great friend of Dick Massey, the drummer in The Commitments, and often stayed in Dick’s Clare Hall home, as did many an artist like Philip Donnelly, Dave Finnegan and a host of musicians and actors and writers.  One night Johnny told about playing before some 100,000 people at a gig in Brazil, and them going wild after his trumpet solo … and none of them knew he could not play the trumpet … it was a backing track … but Johnny was such an accomplished actor that they all loved his music.