J. M. Kerrigan

Joseph Michael Kerrigan ( born December 16, 1884 in Dublin, Leinster, † April 29, 1964 in Hollywood, California ) was an Irish film and theater actor and director who has worked primarily in the United States.


J. M. Kerrigan worked until 1907 as a newspaper reporter, but eventually he began to earn his living as an actor. One of his first stops was the Abbey Theatre, the Irish National Theatre. He took roles in plays by Lady Gregory, John Millington Synge, William Butler Yeats and Sean O'Casey. In addition to performances in Ireland, he played on Broadway in 1908 and 1909 in London. Making his first appearance as a film actor had Kerrigan 1916 in the Irish silent film O'Neal of the Glen. Between 1916 and 1918, Kerrigan worked as a director for a dozen silent films in Ireland. Finally, Kerrigan moved permanently over to the United States. In the 1920s, Kerrigan received regular performances on Broadway, including pieces by William Shakespeare, Henrik Ibsen and Sheridan. Between 1908 and 1947 he had a total of 27 Broadway performances.

While Kerrigan had only occasionally adopted roles in silent films, he began to play the end of the 1930s regularly in films with the advent of the talkies. He played various roles in numerous Hollywood films of the 1930s and 1940s, often with Irish background and often somewhat self-righteous or stubborn. In addition to some old colleagues from the Abbey Theatre, he played in 1935 in John Ford's The Traitor the role of the fraudster Terry. Ford sat Kerrigan also five years later in The long road to Cardiff one. Also, he had a supporting role in the Universal horror film Werewolf of London from 1935, which, however, was not a success. When it six years later with The Wolf Man again dared to go near the werewolf theme at Universal, Kerrigan got here again a minor role. His best-known film is Gone with the Wind, but includes Kerrigan's appearance as Johnny Gallagher - the overseer in Scarlett's Sawmill who reproves the prisoners working there and would also whipping - only a striking scene.

In the 1950s, the performances of the aging Kerrigan became increasingly smaller and he turned more to the rise of television, where he had numerous guest roles. One of his last film work was the role of " Old Billy" in Walt Disney's famous film version of Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, where he had a small appearance at the beginning of the film. In 1960 he withdrew from acting, the same year he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his film work. He died in 1964 at the age of 79 years.

Filmography (selection)