Northern Ireland

Gordon Fulton: Funeral held for Game of Thrones actor

The actor was well known to audiences in Northern Ireland as Sammy the barman Image copyright Independent Agency
Image caption The actor was well known to audiences in Northern Ireland as Sammy the barman in Give My Head Peace

The funeral has taken place of Northern Irish actor Gordon Fulton, known as Lord Portan in Game of Thrones.

The funeral Mass was held at St Patrick's Church in Londonderry after the 67-year-old died of a heart attack at Altnagelvin hospital on Sunday.

In the hit HBO drama's second series, Fulton played a Northern Lord who visits Winterfell.

Born in Bangor, County Down, his career spanned decades and included parts on stage, screen and radio.

Fulton trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

'Big loss'

The teacher-turned-actor had recently reprised his role as Sammy the barman in Give My Head Peace for a one-off special on BBC NI this autumn.

Tim McGarry, who helped created the BBC series, said it was a very sad day for the show's wider family.

"He was one of the mainstays of the show, Gordon made the part himself," he said.

"He brought a really good sense of humour to it and he was just a very naturally funny guy.

"He was just a gentleman off the stage as well and he'll be very sadly missed by all of us."

Actress Roma Tomelty, one of Fulton's best friends, told BBC Radio Foyle the actor was "a one-off".

"He was a consummate actor, he was just as happy in Shakespeare as he was in the plays of his friend, John B Keane.

"I remember him coming to audition for the first time. He came on stage and read the lines, and I said: 'you could play this standing on your head'.

"He was an actor that observed people all the time and he will be a tremendous loss.

"He was, in our opinion, the finest character actor in the north."

'Personal warmth'

The veteran actor and his family lived in Derry. His most recent role was in the ITV mini-series, The Secret.

The Derry-based playwright and historian, Ken McCormick, said Fulton had been a big part of the local drama scene.

"Gordon worked with us here at Radio Foyle over a number of years," he said.

"He was a talented, gifted actor, with a great voice and could turn his hand to anything. It really is a big loss."

Gilly Campbell, from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, also paid tribute.

"Gordon was a great character actor and his personal warmth and talent will be greatly missed by many across Northern Ireland and beyond," she said.

Gordon Fulton is survived by his widow, Ann, sons James and Jonathan and grand-daughter Imogen.