Colm Meaney's tribute to Pat Laffan, his friend and co-star in The Snapper, is absolutely beautiful 7 months ago

Colm Meaney's tribute to Pat Laffan, his friend and co-star in The Snapper, is absolutely beautiful

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Laffan sadly passed away this year. He famously played George Burgess in The Snapper and Pat Mustard in Father Ted. A true great.

While we're reluctant to speak on behalf of every single actor, the majority of actors will tell you that they're just happy to be working.

A select bunch might get one or two great roles in their career, while the very talented few will give performances that are cherished, loved, and remembered by the public.

In the case of Pat Laffan, he did this...twice.

Sadly, on 14 March, 2019, he passed away.

While the actor is perhaps still best remembered by Irish audiences for his portrayal of George Burgess in The Snapper and as Pat Mustard, the Lothario milk man in Father Ted, he had almost 40 film credits and 30 television credits to his name.

Having been raised on a farm in Meath, Laffan began his career as an actor after graduating from Engineering in UCD.

A prolific theatre actor, he was a member of the Abbey Theatre Company in the 1960s and 1970s, and was the Director of the Peacock Theatre for most of the 1970s. He also directed in the Gate Theatre from 1979 to 1982.

In the early 1970s, Laffan returned to the Abbey Theatre after a stint in London where he became close friends with Colm Meaney.

JOE was delighted to welcome Colm Meaney into our studio a few weeks ago to chat about his upcoming film, The Last Right, among lots of other topics.

Naturally, Meaney's work in The Barrytown Trilogy (The Van, The Snapper, The Commitments), Star Trek, Con Air, and his career as a whole was discussed, but we couldn't let the opportunity slip without asking about his favourite memories of working with Laffan.

"Ah, Pat was a mentor to me. He was an extraordinary man. He was the one who told me when I was in drama school, he said, ‘You don’t want to worry about being a star! That’s all nonsense. You have to be a working actor, a good working character actor!’ That was the best advice I ever got.

"Pat was extraordinarily supportive for young people, all of his life. It’s a reason why I go back to work with first-time directors and young directors. That was Pat. He was a wonderful mentor to young actors. That’s why you see all that affection for him when he passed away," said Meaney.

Of course, to most Irish audiences, there's one iconic scene that featured both actors and all we have to say are these two words, "Snip, snip!"

When asked about the cultural impact that the famous scene in The Snapper continues to have, 26 years since its original release, Meaney shared a wonderful anecdote about just how much the public were fascinated by Laffan's most famous character.

"I suppose about 10-12 years ago, myself and Pat were in town and I’m not sure what we were doing. We were on Capel Street and this literal tribe of young fellas - ages from 5-10 - started after us. You know, they’re like ‘Ah Jaysus, it’s Georgie Burgess! The fuck is he here for, get outta dat!’ Pat and I are going, 'ah, for fuck's sake!'  and we started running and they were running after us!

"There’s the art gallery there on Capel Street and we ducked in there thanks to a fella named Alan. He says to us ‘get in here quick!’ and we got in behind a wall which had the paintings on back. So, we ducked in and hid behind them. The kids come up to the door, start looking in, and go ‘where the fuck are they?’ They hang outside for what must have been 20-25 minutes. Finally, we look out and it’s all clear.

"Ha, we go out the door, get about 20 yards down the street... and they come again! All of a sudden, we hear “JEEEEESUS!’ Pat was like ‘Ah, for fuck's sake! Can we go nowhere?!’ He was tormented!," said Meaney.

A small indication into how the character of George Burgess, and the talent of Pat Laffan, continues to be embraced by new generations and film fans.

As for Colm Meaney's next project, The Last Right is released in Irish cinemas on 6 December.

Take a look at what's in store.

Clip via Entertainment One UK and GmanIreland

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