Barry Fitzgerald
Birth name: William Joseph Shields

Birth: March 10, 1888, Dublin, Ireland
Death: January 4, 1961, Dublin, Ireland.

Trained to be a banker, he instead joined the famed Abbey Theatre in Dublin, and made his film debut in Alfred Hitchcock's Juno And The Paycock. He then went on to work in Hollywood with John Ford, in films like The Plough and the Stars and The Quiet Man. Quite a scene-stealer, he is the only actor ever nominated for both Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor for the same role in the same film--that of Father Fitzgibbon in Going My Way?. He died of natural causes in his home in Dublin.

His brother was actor Arthur Shields, with whom he performed in several films, including The Quiet Man.

Only 5'3"


Fitzgerald's family claimed that he was a descendant of 18th century patriot William Orr, a claim he dismissed. He was a childhood friend of James Joyce and he was briefly the roommate of playwright Sean O'Casey. He was often typecast as a thick-accented Irishman, especially after his Oscar-winning role in Going My Way? as a Catholic priest. Ironically, Fitzgerald was a Protestant.

Going My Way? was nominated for Oscars in ten categories and won in seven. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was dismayed at Fitzgerald's double nomination, and no doubt breathed a sigh of relief when he lost Best Actor to his costar Bing Crosby. They quickly changed the rules so no actor would be nominated in two categories for the same role ever again.

Fitzgerald, like every Oscar winner during World War II, took home a statue made of plastic due to wartime rationing. The $10 plastic statues were given out with the promise of an authentic one once the war was over. A few hours after the award ceremony, Fitzgerald was practicing his golf swing in his living room when he decapitated his plastic Oscar. Paramount bought him a new one the next day.

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