Father Ted star Frank Kelly remembered as a comic legend

Frank Kelly: Tributes. Picture: PA
Frank Kelly: Tributes. Picture: PA
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ACTOR Frank Kelly, best known for his role as foul-mouthed Father Jack in the comedy series Father Ted, was remembered at his funeral as a loving family man and as a comic legend.

Hundreds of mourners, including stars of the stage and screen, said farewell to the veteran performer at a moving, sometimes funny, service in Dublin.

Irish President Michael D Higgins, Father Ted co-creators Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews as well as Ardal O’Hanlon, who played the hapless Fr Dougal in the TV series, were among mourners.

In an emotional tribute, the actor’s son Emmet joked: “When he gets to heaven, when they chose to let Father Jack through the duty free at pearly gates, they’ll have no choice - It will be the first time anyone ever told St Peter to “feck off”.”

Having spent 60 years in theatre and on television, Kelly, who died on Sunday aged 77, is most widely remembered for his parody of the drunken priest.

Despite his role in lampooning the Catholic Church, chief celebrant Father Bill Fortune said the late actor was in fact a devoted church-goer with a deep faith.

Paraphrasing Napoleon, the parish priest said his friend had “2 o’clock in the morning courage”, not a hot-headed but a cool courage, as he battled Parkinson’s disease, cancer and a failing heart over the past decade.

After the service at the Church of the Guardian Angels, Mr Matthews described Kelly as a legend, saying: “He was naturally very funny, he was great...he was a legendary figure in Irish comedy.”

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