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Brenda Fricker (born February 17, 1945) is an Academy Award winning Irish actress.

Life and career

Her mother, Bina, was a teacher at Stratford College, and her father, Desmond, was an officer in the Department of Agriculture and a journalist for The Irish Times. In her teens, she aspired to follow her parent's footsteps into journalism.

Before becoming an actress, Fricker was assistant to the art editor of the Irish Times, with hopes to become a reporter. At age 19, she became an actress "by chance", her feature film career began with a small uncredited part in the 1964 film Of Human Bondage, based on the 1915 novel by W. Somerset Maugham.

She first came to wider public attention in the United Kingdommarker for her role as Megan Roach in the BBC One television drama series Casualty. She played this role from 1986 to 1990 on a regular basis, with some return guest appearances later.

Fricker then acted in several films. She won the 1989 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Christy Brown's mother in My Left Foot; among others, she thanked Christy Brown in her acceptance speech, simply for "being alive". She next co-starred in the 1990 film The Field.

She acted in a string of successful films, and continued her television work during this period. She starred in Australian produced short series Brides of Christ (1991). She then co-starred in the 1992 TV miniseries Seekers alongside Josette Simon, produced by Sarah Lawson. Key film appearances include roles in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, and So I Married an Axe Murderer, as a Weekly World News-obsessed Scottishmarker immigrant. In 2003 she played Bernie Guerin, mother of Veronica Guerin (played by Cate Blanchett) in the film of the same name. She then played nurse Eileen in the film Inside I'm Dancing.

She left Casualty because she believed her character had "started off with a wonderful sense of humour, [but] lost it all and all she ever seemed to do was push a trolley around and offer tea and sympathy". Fricker bowed out as Megan in December 1990, after playing the character in 65 episodes, starting with the very first episode in September 1986. Then in February 1998 she was in two episodes, where Megan attended the wedding of her former colleagues Charlie Fairhead and Barbara 'Baz' Samuels. In 2007 she returned for a single episode for Red Nose Day. The episode was written by Richard Curtis.

Most recently, Fricker has appeared in Closing the Ring, Richard Attenborough's post World War II drama, also starring Shirley Maclaine, Christopher Plummer and Mischa Barton.

On 4 October 2009, it was announced that Fricker would make another return to Casualty as Megan for five episodes, before her character is killed off.

Personal life

Fricker currently lives in The Liberties in Dublin. She was previously married to director Barry Davies. She says that her loves include her pet dogs, drinking Guinness, reading poetry and playing snooker (she once said that she had taken 'on the whole crew of My Left Foot, "I played pool against 17 of them, and beat them all" Brenda once said.).

Fricker has been reported to be difficult to work with, and has been called "too reclusive for her own good sometimes". She is also known for her outspoken views on a variety of matters.

Real life quotes

  • If you're doing a scene and you think you're doing it wrong, just swear in the middle of it and then the director can't use it. It's an arrogant way of doing it, but unfortunately it's the only way of self-protection. You have to be a bit anarchic sometimes.
  • When you are lying drunk at the airport you're Irish. When you win an Oscar you're British.
  • (on her character in Casualty) Megan was the mother we all want, full of love and understanding, I'm none of that, I'm not a mother and never will be and I wasn't even a very good wife, I'm not even a good nurse to my father now he's old and frail. I'm much more rebellious that Megan. I couldn't do her job ever. Just go down to the hospital and watch what they do for an eighth of the salary I earned pretending to be a nurse. It makes you blush. You break your heart with people being kicked in the teeth by life. I couldn't handle it, I'd be reduced to tears.


Year Film Role Other notes
1964 Of Human Bondage bit part uncredited
1969 Sinful Davey uncredited
1978-1979 Quatermass Alison Thorpe TV series
1979 Bloody Kids Nurse
1982 The Ballroom of Romance Bridie
1985 The Woman Who Married Clark Gable Mary
1986-1990, 1998, 2007 Casualty Megan Roach TV series
1989 My Left Foot Mrs. Brown Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
1990 The Field Maggie McCabe
1991 Brides of Christ Sister Agnes
1992 The Sound and the Silence Eliza TV
Utz Marta
Seekers Stella Hazard TV
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York Central Park Pigeon Woman
1993 So I Married an Axe Murderer May Mackenzie
Deadly Advice Iris Greenwood
1994 A Man of No Importance Lily Byrne
Angels in the Outfield Maggie Nelson
1995 Journey Lottie TV
1996 Moll Flanders Mrs. Mazzawatti
A Time to Kill Ethel Twitty
Swann Rose Hindmarch
1997 Masterminds Principal Claire Maloney
1998 Painted Angels Annie Ryan
Resurrection Man Dorcas Kelly
Pete's Meteor Lily
1999 Resurrection Clare's mother TV remake of 1980 original
Durango Aunt Maeve
2001 The War Bride Betty
2002 The Intended Mrs. Jones
2003 Conspiracy of Silence Annie McLaughlin
Veronica Guerin Bernie Guerin
2004 Trauma Petra
Omagh Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan TV
Inside I'm Dancing Eileen
Razor Fish Molly
2005 Milk Nan
Tara Road Mona
2007 How About You
Closing the Ring Grandma Reilly
2008 Stone of Destiny post-production
Crossmaglen Aunt Kathleen pre-production

Selected theatre work

  • At the National Theatre
    • The Plough and the Stars
    • Lavender Blue
  • At the Royal Court Theatremarker
    • Within Two Shadows
    • A Pagan's Place
  • At the Geffen Playhouse
    • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
  • Other
    • Typhad Mary
    • Macbeth
    • Outskirts
    • TV Times
    • The Accrington Pals
    • The Irish Play
    • Lost World
    • The Weeping of Angels

See also


  2. | Casualty | Brenda Fricker
  3. Brenda's Red Nose return | The Sun |Showbiz|TV

External links

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