Irish character actor Milo O'Shea, 86, dies in NYC

Sunday - 4/7/2013, 9:30pm EDT

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Irish actor Milo O'Shea, whose many roles on stage and screen included a friar in Franco Zeffirelli's "Romeo and Juliet," an evil scientist in "Barbarella" and a Supreme Court justice on "The West Wing," has died in New York City. He was 86.

Ireland's arts minister, Jimmy Deenihan, said in a statement announcing O'Shea's death on Tuesday that the Dublin-born actor would be remembered for "ground-breaking" roles, including a performance as Leopold Bloom in the 1967 film adaptation of "Ulysses."

O'Shea also acted on Broadway, playing a gay hairdresser in 1968's "Staircase." He was nominated for Tony Awards twice.

The public knew O'Shea best as a character actor. His bushy eyebrows and white hair made him a favorite of casting directors looking for priests. He played a drunken one on the TV show "Cheers," a pedophilic one in the 1997 film "The Butcher Boy," a charming one in the 1981 Broadway play "Mass Appeal," as well as the tragedy-enabling Friar Laurence in "Romeo and Juliet." He was a judge in the film "The Verdict."

His loony turn as the pleasure-obsessed scientist Durand Durand in the 1968 science fiction romp "Barbarella" inspired a British rock group to name its band after his character. Duran Duran also put him in a concert video.

O'Shea moved to the U.S. in the mid-1970s and was a longtime resident of New York.


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