PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins has paid tribute to “one of the greatest actors of his generation” Tom Hickey, following his sad passing.
A leading figure in the world of Irish acting for more than half a century, Hickey was a founding member of Dublin’s Focus Theatre where he collaborated with some of the nation’s greatest playwrights and directors.
Though he appeared in several films, Hickey will be remembered by many for the role of Benjy on the popular RTE series The Riordans.
More recently, Hickey had appeared in the Chris O’Dowd series Moone Boy.
A magnetic presence on the stage and screen, news of Hickey’s sad passing sent shockwaves through the world of Irish theatre and beyond with tributes flooding in for the veteran performer.
President Higgins was among those to pay their respects, recalling Hickey as an actor who immersed himself in his work and art, showing an incredible level of commitment to his craft.
“It is with great sadness that Sabina and I learned of the death of Tom Hickey, one of the greatest actors of his generation, giving over six decades to his profession,” he said.
“He leaves an indelible imprint on Irish theatre.”
President Higgins continued: “Among his colleagues in the acting community he was regarded as an artist of total commitment to performance, to his art and to his community.
“He will be so missed. It was a privilege to know him as a friend.”
O’Dowd also paid tribute to Hickey on social media.
“We were lucky enough to have Tom Hickey join us on Moone Boy and he was wonderful, as always,” he said.
“Very few are capable of such devilment and empathy in a single look. Rest well Tom, thanks for sharing your talents with us all.”
Meanwhile, the Arts Council also expressed "deep regrets" at the news of the actor's death.
"His extraordinary range of work has left a lasting impression on people from several generations. Across his career, he was responsible for bringing defining new work to the stage,” they said in a statement.
“He was also renowned for a wide range of performances on the large and small screen."
Tom Hickey came into my life as Benjy in The Riordans, as I imagine was the case for much of my generation. Later on became aware of his reputation as a theatre actor & his Stanislavsky roots in Focus Theatre. His generosity was legendary. His skill and presence unmatched. RIP. https://t.co/SkLbaKCuRm
— Niall Shanahan (@niallshan) May 1, 2021
"We send our condolences to his family and friends and to all who grieve for him," they added.
The Abbey Theatre and The Gate Theatre has also paid tribute.