Malachy McCourt, Actor, Memoirist and Gadabout, Dies at 92

Malachy McCourt, who fled a melancholic childhood in Ireland for America, where he applied his blarney and brogue to become something of a professional Irishman as a thespian, a barkeep and a best-selling memoirist, died on Monday in Manhattan. He was 92.

His death, in a hospital, was confirmed by his wife, Diana McCourt.

In 1952, when he was 20, the Brooklyn-born Mr. McCourt reunited with New York.

He embarked from Ireland with a ticket paid for with $200 in savings sent by his older brother, Frank McCourt, who had emigrated earlier and was working as a public school English teacher. Frank would also become a late-blooming author, whose books included the Pulitzer Prize-winning autobiographical work “Angela’s Ashes” (1996).

Malachy left school in Limerick when he was 13, two years after his heavy-drinking father deserted the family, leaving his mother, Angela, to raise the four of their surviving seven children. The family, Malachy would write, was “not poor, but poverty-stricken.”

“Coming out of that life, the things that get you are the two evils of shame on one shoulder, the demon fear on the other,” he told The New York Times in 1998. “Shame says you came from nothing, you’re nobody, they’ll find you out for what you and your mother have done. Fear says what’s the use of bothering, drink as much as you can, dull the pain. As a result, shame takes care of the past, fear takes care of the future and there’s no living in the present.”

In the mid-1980s, he gave up drinking and smoking.

The barrel-chested, red-bearded Mr. McCourt appeared regularly on soap operas — notably “Ryan’s Hope,” on which he had a recurring role as a barkeep — and played bit parts in several films. In the 1950s, he opened what was considered Manhattan’s original singles bar: Malachy’s, on the Upper East Side.

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