Malachy McCourt, Irish-American actor and author, dead at 92

Irish actor and global gadfly Malachy McCourt, the last surviving sibling of a family chronicled by his brother’s memoir about poverty and pain, died Monday in Manhattan. He was 92.

His wife, Diana McCourt, confirmed his death.

Though he long stood in the shadow of his brother Frank, who penned the acclaimed Pulitzer Prize-winning autobiography “Angela’s Ashes,” Malachy McCourt became an accomplished memoirist in his own right, producing best-selling books filled with humor and wit, including one entitled “Death Need Not Be Fatal.

In that book, McCourt waxes poetically on life, sharing his views on what would or would not happen after he would take his last breath.

“I would like to blame my ensuing behavior over the next decade or so of my life on my brush with death,” McCourt wrote in the 2017 book, during which he described an encounter with an armed robber.

“I didn’t need a reason to drink as if it were Paris before the war, however. The holdup was one of a thousand justifications, but as my friends in church basements say, there is never a reason to drink, only excuses.”

McCourt, the actor, regularly appeared on soap operas, including “All My Children” and “Ryan’s Hope,” where he had a recurring role as a barkeep.

He was well prepared for the role. In the 1950s, he opened what was known as Manhattan’s original singles bar, Malachy’s, on the Upper East Side.

In 2006, he ran for governor of New York on the Green Party ticket, losing out to Democratic candidate Eliot Spitzer.

In 1985, when his father died. McCourt stopped drinking.

He admitted that he spent many years thinking about his own death. After President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, McCourt said he thought about his own mortality.

“And yet there was something in Kennedy’s death that made the eternal sleep viable for any of us,” McCourt wrote. “Even me, and even in those days and nights when I thought I was bulletproof, I began to ponder what death was like.”

And for a while, he even cheated it. In 2022, McCourt, then 90, entered hospice care, but was released when he exceeded the doctors’ expectations.

“Every day I wake up at 91, I am happy without a coffin over my head,” he told the New York Times.

McCourt, one of seven siblings, was born in Brooklyn and moved with his family to Limerick, Ireland as a boy.

He returned to America in 1952, at the age of 20, with a $200 ticket sent by his older brother, Frank, who had emigrated earlier and was working as a public school English teacher.

McCourt is survived by his wife, four children and a stepdaughter.