folk singer Liam
Clancy (of the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem) was called "Willie"
until he played a bit part in Cyril Cusack's 1953 Dublin production
of Playboy of the Western World. Cusack gave him the more Irish
sounding "Liam" for the run of the play, but Clancy has used
the name ever since.
Cusack played clergymen in 10 films: Gone to Earth, The Wild Heart,
80,000 Suspects, Tam Lin, Catholics, Jesus of Nazareth, True Confessions,
Don Camillo, Oedipus the King, and The Tenth Man.
He also played a priest on the Irish TV series Strumpet City.
the opening lines in Franco Zeffirelli's 1977 TV miniseries Jesus
of Nazareth. (They are taken from different books of the Old Testament:
"In the hour when the King Messiah comes, He shall stand on the
roof of the temple and proclaim that the time of deliverance has come.
Those who believe and are faithful to God will rejoice in the light
that will rise upon them. As it is written, 'Arise, shine, for thy light
is come.' Only take courage and be careful to observe all things written
in the law of Moses. And turn not aside from them, neither to the right
hand nor to the left. Take care only this: In all diligence that thou
love the Lord thy God. Amen. ...")
Cusack made four Shakespearean films: The Taming of the Shrew,
King Lear, The Comedy of Errors, and As You Like It.
in four films produced by the legendary Powell
and Pressburger: The Small Back Room, Ill Met by Moonlight,
Gone to Earth, and the Elusive Pimpernel.
made three movies with David Niven: The Elusive Pimpernel, Soldiers
Three, and Where the Spies Are.
four with Dirk Bogarde: Esther Waters, Ill Met by Moonlight,
Once a Jolly Swagman, and The Spanish Gardener.
on four films and a television show with Dan O'Herlihy: Odd Man Out,
The Blue Veil; Soldiers Three, A Terrible Beauty (a.k.a.
Night Fighters), and Frederick Forsyth's video short story, "A
Careful Man." He also worked with O'Herlihy's brother, director
Michael O'Herlihy, twice: in "A Careful Man" and Cry of
the Innocent. (Michael O'Herlihy was a regular director of many
classic American television series, among them Gunsmoke, The
Man From U.N.C.L.E., Hawaii Five-O, M*A*S*H, Miami
Vice, and Matlock.)
Cusack and James Mason made five films together: Late Extra, Odd
Man Out, Paura in città, Jesus of Nazareth, and Dr. Fischer
of Geneva. In Paura in città, Cusack plays a character
named Giacomo Masoni--which in English translates to "James Mason."
appeared in five films with Richard Burton: The Spy Who Came in From
the Cold, The Taming of the Shrew, Lovespell, Wagner,
and Nineteen Eighty-Four.
with Irish character actor Noel Purcell in six films: Odd Man Out,
The Blue Lagoon, Jacqueline, The Rising of the Moon, Shake Hands With
the Devil, and Johnny Nobody.
Hordern made eight films with Cyril Cusack: The Man Who Never Was,
The Spanish Gardener; The Spy Who Came In from the Cold;
The Taming of the Shrew; Juggernaut; Danny, the Champion
of the World; The Fool; and Memento Mori. Memento
Mori, which takes a wry look at death, was Cusack's last film and
the second to last for Hordern, who was a year younger.
Cusack shares his November 26 birthday with fellow actor/writer/director
(and friend and mentor of Richard Burton), Emlyn Williams (who was born
five years earlier in Wales). Both made cameo appearances in the 1969
film David Copperfield.
Cyril comes from Greek and means "lordly." Cusack
was originally de Cussac, after the town in Normandy from which the
family first came to Ireland in the 12th century with the Anglo-Norman
invasion. The family became acculturated within Irish society, holding
prominent positions as land and church administrators until the 18th
century, when they refused to give up their religious beliefs for those
of the English establishment. (One member of the family, Captain George
Cusack, who died in 1674, was a notorious pirate.) The Irish form of
Cusack is Cíomhsóg or MacIosog. The name has become less
common in Ireland and is now found primarily in the province of Munster.