FATHER TED fans across Ireland and the rest of the world have paid tribute to stars Dermot Morgan and Frank Kelly on the shared anniversary of their deaths.
Morgan died after suffering a heart attack during a dinner party at his home in London in 1998, just one day after recording the final episode of the hit sitcom. A father of three, he was just 45 at the time.
Forever associated with the title role in Father Ted, Morgan had actually written a film script, Miracle of the Magyars, which he was hoping to get made into a film.
It centred on a real-life incident in the 1950s when the Archbishop of Dublin forbade Catholics from attending a football match between Ireland and Yugoslavia on religious and spiritual grounds.
Morgan had also been commissioned to write a drama for the BBC and was set to star in sitcom titled Re-United, which would have seen him playing a retired footballer-turned-journalist who ends up living with another now-retired player. His character was rumoured to have been based on Eamon Dunphy.
Kelly died exactly 18 years later, in 2016, at the age of 77.
Though he was best known for the role of the blasphemous boozehound Father Jack Hackett on Father Ted, in real life Kelly was an articulate, thoughtful and incredibly charismatic presence.
Though he racked up an early appearance as a prison guard in the Michael Caine classic The Italian Job, Kelly’s first big success came as part of the cast for the satirical sketch series Hall's Pictorial Weekly.
Like Morgan, Kelly passed away after suffering a heart attack.
A year prior to his death, he had revealed he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease and was recovering from bowel cancer having previously recovered from skin cancer.
Eager to show their respects, fans of both Morgan and Kelly took to Twitter to pay tribute with pictures and messages recalling fond memories from Father Ted and so much more besides.
Remember Irish comedy greats Dermot Morgan and Frank Kelly who died today in 1998 and 2016 respectively. Gone but never forgotten pic.twitter.com/e9e6T2raP4
— Paul Humphries (@PFHumps) February 28, 2021
Dermot 💚 pic.twitter.com/iDOzzBVowU
— TG4TV (@TG4TV) February 28, 2021
— Big Bearded Bear 🔴⚪⚫ (@HowieMoran7) February 28, 2021
Remembering Dermot Morgan and Frank Kelly who both died on February 28.
Dermot in 1998 and Frank in 2016. pic.twitter.com/XTX1qofJg9
— Irish Literary Times (@IrishLitTimes) February 28, 2021
R.I.P to two of the best who passed on this day, Dermot Morgan (Ted) - 1998. Frank Kelly (Jack)- 2016. Thanks for the laughs ye gave us for keeps. 🙏 pic.twitter.com/4vazTTgUGb
— Hairy Baby 👕 (@HairyBabyTees) February 28, 2021
“Thanks for the laughs ye gave us for keeps,” one wrote.
“May their legacy always be celebrated,” a second added.
Fiona Ufton worked as a PA alongside Morgan and shared an especially poignant message on the 23rd anniversary of his passing.
“23 years ago today,” she wrote. “Can you imagine what it was like working with him? I'm surprised we got anything done - we laughed and laughed and laughed! AND I was the worst PA in Christendom! Wonderful times with a wonderful, talented man who was taken from us way too early.”
Another summed it all up perfect, writing “Gone but never forgotten.”