Irish actor, writer and pioneering LGBTQ+ ally Malachy McCourt dies at 92

New York’s Irish-American and LGBTQ+ communities remember McCourt as a staunch ally for LGBTQ+ rights. 

Photo of Irish actor, singer, and LGBTQ+ ally Malachy McCourt wearing a green scarf.
Image: Instagram, Actor, author, and staunch LGBTQ+ ally Malachy McCourt, brother of Irish author Frank McCourt, has been announced dead at 92.

New York’s LGBTQ+ community is mourning the loss of Malachy McCourt following the announcement of his death, confirmed by McCourt’s wife, Diana, on Monday, March 11.  He was 92.

While McCourt will be remembered for many things, including his acting, writing, political career, and brotherly connection to Angela’s Ashes author Frank McCourt, New York’s Irish-American and LGBTQ+ communities will also remember him as a staunch ally for LGBTQ+ rights. 

McCourt’s legacy was well established in New York City, where the future writer moved after an impoverished childhood in Ireland. This was particularly evident when the mayor of the city officially proclaimed March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, as Malachy McCourt Day in the City of New York.

At last year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, McCourt led a contingency of LGBTQ+ Irish and their allies down Fifth Avenue as he marched with the Lavender and Green Alliance, an NYC-based Irish LGBTQ+ organisation. 

McCourt’s track record as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community is well documented, including his work with the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization. In 1991, the LGBTQ+ rights group was denied the chance to mark their banner in the official St. Patrick’s Day parade. McCourt would later discuss the topic in a television show where he insisted that the parade should be inclusive.

As Brendan Fay, one of the parade’s founders, later recalled, McCourt similarly “wrote an article and a check in support” of a 1999 St. Pat’s for All Parade in Queens.

Fay similarly reported that he “was there each year” for the parade and even “called his friends in the media” to cover the event.

McCourt was dubbed a “living legend” by former New York City mayor Bill DeBlasio. Upon hearing of his passing, David Rotherberg, a gay activist and McCourt’s colleague at WBAI, said that McCourt “lightened the threat of death but didn’t account for the gap he would leave in his passing.”

In an Instagram post, McCourt’s granddaughter, Gigi, said: “it was always a joy with you grandpa. I told you that two days before you died as I held your hand. And it was an honour to know you, to live with you for years of my life, and to call myself your granddaughter. I got to sing your favourite ‘barefoot days’ and I hope you could hear me.

“…Rest in paradise grandpa, 💚MALACHY MCCOURT💚 ”  



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