By Eileen Murphy
Those of you who’ve been dying to see more of Malachy McCourt, take heart: your fondest dream has been realized. The younger of the literary McCourt brothers has joined the cast of "A Couple of Blaguards," which is currently running at the Triad Theater in NYC.
Of course, this strikes us as rather amusing, since Malachy will be replacing an actor who plays him. "Blaguards" is based on the McCourts’ impoverished childhood in the slums of Limerick. The brothers McCourt wrote the play in the early 1980s, and the original off-Broadway production starred Malachy and future Pulitzer Prize-winner Frank.
In more McCourt news, HBO held its first preview screening of "Beyond the Pale," which stars Malachy, Roger Davis, Patrick Clarke and Conn Horgan. The film tells the story of a modern-day Irish immigrant, and should bow on HBO this spring.
We hear that Frank McCourt has put the finishing touches on "T’is," his followup to "Angela’s Ashes." And the Irish gossip columns buzzed recently with accounts of Frank’s visit to the "Ashes" movie set. Apparently, the designers have recreated Frank’s childhood home so accurately that he was overwhelmed, and retired to a nearby pub for a restorative pint. Talk about the seal of authenticity . . .
The (cheap) shot heard ’round the world
Never miss an issue of The Irish Echo
Subscribe to one of our great value packages.
We never realized how hard it was to be a teen idol these days. In addition to having a cute face, tolerable singing voice and six-pack abs, it seems one must also have a hide like a rhinoceros. We refer, of course, to poor Ronan Keating, lead singer of Irish pop group Boyzone and the subject of a nasty rumor that has swept Europe and scarred teenyboppers everywhere.
The story goes something like this: Ronan’s supermodel wife, Yvonne, arrived home one day to find her hubby en flagrante delicto with another — unidentified — male pop star. This so upset Yvonne that she ran out and, in a rage, smashed up Ronan’s swanky sports car.
Keating was furious, and took the unusual step of going to the press to deny the rumor. In an interview with the Sunday World, he said that he usually ignores "silly stories" about him, but this was different, because it dragged his wife and a fellow pop star into the mud.
"That story is just hilarious and I don’t know where it came from," said Keating ruefully. "It’s mad, it never happened and it’s completely untrue. I have never had an affair with another fellow."
"Yvonne and myself have never been happier," he continued. As for the other pop star, Keating said, "We have been pals for a long time. But there has never, ever been anything between us other than friendship.
"To suggest otherwise is just unbelievably nasty and vicious. If anyone came up to me and said it, I would say ‘Would you [rhymes with truck] off and get the [rhymes with truck] out of here!’"
We’ll forgive the salty language only because poor Ronan’s been through a lot this week. On the up side, he notes that his new baby, Jack, is "healthy and strong" and that he and Yvonne "are having a wonderful life." So there.
But do they kiss their mother with those mouths?
Dr. Spock might not have approved, but Ellen Barkin and Gabriel Byrne march to the beat of their own drummer when it comes to disciplining their kids.
It seems that the estranged couple’s progeny picked up more than a few choice phrases while driving in the family car with mom. Unfortunately, 6-year-old Romy Byrne repeated those pithy sayings in school. Which meant she got to spend some quality time with the principal.
The headmaster asked Romy if she knew what the bad words meant. The child explained that this was how her mommy singled out bad drivers.
"It was horrible," an abashed Barkin told the Sunday World. "There were 4-year-olds walking around all day saying ‘[very bad word] [bad word]-hole!"
The solution? Barkin allows the kids to have a "swearing hour" every day. To get it out of their systems, you see. Imagine what would happen if the kids had started drinking.
Barkin blames her own trashy mouth on her "New York roots" and her father, who had, er, little tolerance for bad drivers.
Well, it just confirms the old adage, "Monkey see, monkey do." And "Little pitchers have big ears." And "Just wait until you have kids of . . ." Well, you get the idea.
No woman’s an island
Those who still think talk is cheap must also believe in the two-cents plain and the tooth fairy. Chatty television personality Rosie O’Donnell recently purchased an estate on Miami’s Star Island, a man-made oasis in Biscayne Bay. The $6.75 million, Mediterranean-style home boasts an 8,000-square-foot main house, two guest houses, a swimming pool, a dock and 250 feet of waterfront. Neighbors within sugar-borrowing distance include Gloria Estefan and Leona Helmsley.
Hunky Richard Chamberlain, whom we almost met at the opening night party for "The Weir" last week, has signed on to play Irish butler Bernard Lafferty in an upcoming TV movie.
Chamberlain, who’s currently appearing on Broadway in "The Sound of Music," will portray the hard-drinking Donegal native, who was named executor of the estate of the late billionaire Doris Duke. Lafferty, who later formed a close friendship with Elizabeth Taylor, died of a heart attack in 1996.
Charity, the ‘sweetest thing’
The handwritten lyrics to U2’s new/old song, "The Sweetest Thing," (new because it was recently released; old because it was an unfinished B-side 10 years ago) raised £5,800 at a charity auction last month.
But before Bono gets too chuffed, he should remember that someone bid £12,500 for a collection of Jimi Hendrix doodles, and £8,000 for the original lyrics to "Three Lions" by Skinner, Baddiel and The Lightning Seeds. On the up side, U2 beat out the £3,100 paid for the lyrics to "Our House" by Madness. And those lyrics were written on a door.