Brendan Grace (1 April 1951 – 11 July 2019) was an Irish comedian and singer.
He was best known for his comedy schoolboy character 'Bottler', Murphy in the 1995 film Moondance, and his 1996 appearance in the Irish TV sitcomFather Ted as Father Fintan Stack.
His 1975 song, 'Combine Harvester', was a number one hit in Ireland, and the song would later become a UK number one hit for The Wurzels in 1976.
Born in the heart of Dublin in 1951, Grace was raised in the inner city Liberties neighbourhood. His father Seamus worked as a bartender, an ambulance man and other odd jobs to keep the family going. Like many young Dubliners of the time, Grace left school at the age of 13 to begin working. His first job was as a messenger boy, an occupation he often referred to in his live act.
At the age of 18, Grace formed a band known as The Gingermen and toured Ireland, in what has become known as the showband era of the '60s, although The Gingermen were a folk group rather than a showband. During a gig one night, the band found themselves two members short and, in an attempt to calm an anxious crowd, Brendan was thrust upon the stage to humour them. His wit and razor sharp observations of daily life in Ireland immediately won over the crowd and since then he sold out venues around the globe. Brendan shared stages with many well-known names, such as Frank Sinatra, who referred to Grace as his "man in Europe", and John Denver, among many others.
His hit songs included "Cushie Butterfield", "Combine Harvester" (which topped the charts in Ireland in 1975, and would later become a UK number one hit for The Wurzels in 1976), and "The Dutchman".
In 1995, Grace starred in Moondance, and the following year he appeared in the Father Ted episode 'New Jack City' as Father Fintan Stack. In 2007, he appeared as Big Sean in Killinaskully, and in 2015, he starred in The Gift.
He also reprised his Bottler character in a TV movie also called Bottler in November 2013. It tells of Bottler's exploits in his early years.
Grace married Eileen Doyle in 1973. They had four children, one of whom, Bradley Grace, is a member of the American hardcore punk band Poison the Well.
In November 2009, he released his autobiography, Amuzing Grace. In his later life, he divided his time between his home in West Palm Beach, Florida, US and his pub in Killaloe, County Clare, which he named 'Brendan Grace's Bar'.
He was diagnosed with pneumonia in June 2019 and died from lung cancer in Galway, Ireland on 11 July 2019, aged 68.
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