Entertainment & Arts

Commitments star Johnny Murphy aka Joey the Lips dies

Johnny Murphy starring in The Commitments Image copyright Rex Features
Image caption Johnny Murphy's most famous role was Joey 'The Lips' Fagan (pictured right) in the film adaptation of The Commitments

Johnny Murphy, the actor who portrayed Joey 'The Lips' Fagan in The Commitments, has died.

It's thought he was in his early seventies.

Murphy's Commitments co-star Maria Doyle Kennedy led the tributes on Twitter, posting: "Johnny Murphy. Gentleman."

Glen Hansard, who also appeared alongside Murphy before embarking on a successful music career, said he was "a beautiful man and a true gent".

The character of Joey made Murphy famous when the film version of The Commitments was released in 1991.

It tells the story of a working class boy in Dublin called Jimmy Rabbitte who decides to form a soul band.

The older Joey, who regales the younger musicians with his tales of working with music greats including The Beatles, is recruited as the band's trumpet player.

Fagan explains in the movie that he calls his trumpet Gina, named after the 1950s screen siren Gina Lollobrigida.

The Commitments was based on the original novel written by Roddy Doyle.

Doyle also adapted it for the stage as a musical and the show recently ended a successful run in London's West End.

It emerged later that Van Morrison and Rory Gallagher had been considered to play the part of Joey The Lips in the film adaption.

But the film's director Alan Parker felt that Murphy would be in a good position to mentor the largely inexperienced cast.

Murphy, at that point, was an experienced actor, having made a name for himself as a stage actor.

He went on to star in Into The West, Waiting for Godot and Angela's Ashes.

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