Godfrey Quigley, a leading Irish actor who outraged audiences with the sexually explicit plays in which he starred, died Sept. 7 at 71. He had Alzheimer’s disease.
His roles during a stage career of more than 40 years ranged from Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw to the modern playwrights Hugh Leonard and Tom Murphy.
In the 1950s, he was one of the founders of the Globe Theater, which developed a reputation for innovation. But Quigley closed it in 1960 in a fit of anger at the Dublin theater establishment and stomped off to London.
He had been appearing at the time at Dublin’s Gaiety Theater with Richard Harris in a stage version of J.P. Donleavy’s bawdy novel “The Ginger Man.” To Quigley’s rage the play was pulled off the stage following a public outcry.
He returned to Dublin in the mid-1960s and directed the premiere of Eugene McCabe’s “The King of the Castle” at the Abbey Theater. That play provoked more protests and walkouts. But this time, Quigley held his ground.
In 1984, he won a best actor of the year award for his performance in Murphy’s play “The Gigli Concert” about a man who yearns to sing like the famed Italian opera star Benjamino Gigli.