NI Game of Thrones actor dies

Published Monday, 11 August 2014
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Belfast actor JJ Murphy has died during filming for the hit fantasy drama Game of Thrones, in which he was to play the oldest member of the Night's Watch.

NI Game of Thrones actor dies
Belfast-born actor JJ Murphy. (© Independent Agency)

The 86-year-old, who was to feature as Ser Denys Mallister, died suddenly on Friday.

His agent, Philip Young from Independent Agency, said that he was "heartbroken to pass on the news that the wonderful JJ Murphy passed away".

He added that he had "never encountered a man with more spirit, passion and love for his craft".

Game of Thrones showrunners DB Weiss and David Benioff said in a joint statement that they will not be recasting JJ Murphy's part.

"He was a lovely man, and the best Denys Mallister we could have hoped for," they said.

"And now his watch is ended."

JJ Murphy, a former UTV continuity announcer in the 1980s, counts Cal, Angela's Ashes, and Mickybo and Me among his acting credits.

He was also to feature in the forthcoming film Dracula Untold.

The actor was still shooting scenes for Game of Thrones just days before his death.

"Working right until the end, he shot his first scenes on Game of Thrones - sadly they will be his last," his agent said.

"Giving any young man a run for his money. Ladies and gentlemen, a round of applause please for Jimmy."

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland paid tribute to the man who also took to the stage in offerings including Martin Lynch's Lyric Theatre production of Dockers in 1981 and Tinderbox Theatre Company's production of Convictions at Crumlin Road Courthouse in 2000.

A statement added: "He trained with the Ulster Group Theatre and worked for many years at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast, where he helped to mentor a younger generation of local actors including Ciaran Hinds and Liam Neeson.

"His concern for his fellow actors was well-known.

"A longstanding member of Equity, he was a spirited and redoubtable advocate for improving the pay, conditions and career opportunities of actors in Northern Ireland."

© UTV News
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