back to top

"Father Ted" Actor Frank Kelly Has Died, Aged 77

Kelly is best known for playing profane priest, Father Jack in the popular Channel 4 comedy series.

Posted on

Father Ted actor Frank Kelly has died aged 77, Ireland's national news network RTE reported.

Liam Mcburney / PA WIRE

Kelly is best known for playing Father Jack in the popular Channel 4 comedy series.

The profane priest had a number of catchphrases including "Arse!" "Feck!" "Drink!" and "Girls!".

Father Ted creator Graham Linehan tweeted that Kelly's death was terribly sad news.

"Thanks for everything, Frank," Linehan said.

Just hearing from various sources that Frank Kelly has passed away. Terribly sad news. Thanks for everything, Frank.

Kelly whose stage and screen career spanned 60 years was already a household name in Ireland.

After being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease last year, the actor told the Irish Sun: "I've been working as an actor for over 50 years, and a shaky hand certainly won't stop me. I remain open to offers for work on stage and screen. I'm quite available and my mobile is always on."

Frank Kelly alongside Pierce Brosnan in drama Evelyn.
Supplied By All / Supplied by All

Frank Kelly alongside Pierce Brosnan in drama Evelyn.

Kelly's film debut came in The Italian Job in 1969.

Since Father Ted finished in 1996, Kelly has had several notable roles, including a five-month stint in ITV soap, Emmerdale, and an appearance in Brendan O'Carroll's Mrs. Brown's Boys D'Movie.

RIP #frankkelly So much more than Fr Jack ...

Kelly's death comes 18 years to the day after fellow Father Ted star Dermot Morgan died of a heart attack in 1997.

Isn't life just weird? Frank Kelly going on dad's anniversary... #ripfrankkelly #DermotMorgan

"Isn't life just weird?" Don Morgan, Dermot's son, tweeted.

Tributes poured in for the much-loved actor following the announcement of his death.

Feck Father Jack had passed away RIP Mr Kelly - a comic creation of genius

Father Jack is dead ! Feck Arse Brick - end of an era 😰🇮🇪

And not all of them included the word, "feck".

@RTERadio1 Very sad to hear of the news of Frank Kelly's passing. A brilliant talent, a hero & so very kind. RIP

RIP Frank Kelly. You made us laugh a lot.

Kelly is survived by 7 children, seventeen grandchildren and his wife Bairbre. They were married for 51 years.

Getty Images
Niall Carson / PA Archive/Press Association Images

Laura Silver is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Laura Silver at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.