Northern Ireland

Omagh actor recalls 'inspirational' meeting with Sir John Hurt

Sir John Hurt Image copyright EPA
Image caption Bafta-winning star Sir John Hurt appeared in more than 120 films

A County Tyrone actor has recalled a chance encounter with Sir John Hurt which proved inspirational to him.

Sir John, known for his roles in films such as Alien and The Elephant Man, lived in Ireland for a number of years.

But it was at a London pub that Caolan McCarthy from Omagh met the star of stage and screen.

Mr McCarthy was training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (Rada) at the time and still recalls Sir John's wise words.

"He asked me where I was from, he said he had been in Omagh which I was surprised to hear as it was my home town," he told BBC Radio Ulster's The Sunday News.

"He talked about his time at Rada and how he played Claudio, because one of my friends was playing Claudio in Measure for Measure.

"I remember he said 'do you want my advice?'

Image copyright Caolan McCarthy
Image caption Caolan McCarthy said Hurt had been an inspiration

"He was talking about when you get out of drama school and are in the big, bad world and going for auditions.

"His advice was 'take everything', because the stuff that ends up really not that good, say a film or TV show, people forget and, often, the stuff you think is going to be no good turns out okay.

"He said I will just tell you what Noel Coward told me - 'press on'.

'Class act'

"His mobile rang, he drained his wine, he said his goodbyes and off he went."

Sir John, who died last week, appeared in more than 120 films and had a career that spanned six decades.

He was knighted in 2015 for his services to drama.

Mr McCarthy said Sir John, who last year had a part in The Journey, a film about the relationship between Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness, was "a class act"

"We got such a kick out of meeting him, as he was such an inspiration for all of us," he added.

Image caption Hurt (c) with Derek Jacobi and George Baker in I, Claudius

"He was brilliant and so warm.

"I loved him in anything he turned up in, from The Elephant Man to Alien, right up to the Harry Potter films.

"He was just so true and utterly believable in what he did."

Image caption Caolan McCarthy tweeted about meeting Sir John

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