Seamus McGurk – Tribute

In Memory of

Seamus McGurk

… – 19 . 02 . 1998

Wick Newsletter November 2008 carried the following – writen by Ray Hopper.

During the publicity-barrage for Happiest Days last year, the Argus published an appeal for news of the missing members of our 1957 cast.

As a result I received calls from 2 of Seamus’ nephews, who both live in the area [one incidentally being a member of New Venture]. They gave me the sad news that Seamus had died in his family home in Northern Ireland on the 19 February 1998, following a long hard fight against cancer.

The first mention of Seamus in the archives is as Colonel Pickering in Jean Porter’s accident-prone production of Pygmalion in 1956, for which he received excellent reviews. He went on to play rôles in Murder Party and as Billings in Happiest Days in 1957 before directing an acclaimed production of Synge’s Shadow of the Glen in 1958.

At this time he worked as a representative for Pfizer’s and found the job incompatible with stage work. However, he was often found front of house and remained an enthusiastic member for several years, attending my wedding in 1965, after which we gradually lost touch. I so wanted to tell him that I was still using the power drill he gave us as a wedding present 42 years earlier.

Everyone who knew Seamus found him delightful company, and with great charm. He spoke with a soft Irish accent which always sounded as if he was chuckling. I though he played Billings perfectly – nailing all the sarcastic one-liners and being rightly terrified of the advances of Betty Carpenter’s Miss Gossage.

In later life he gave up Pfizer’s, and ran a café in Hove, before returning to Northern Ireland to care for his ailing mother. He spent his last years completely refurbishing the family home.