I Wasn't an Actor but 2 Days before a Show the Guy Playing Rory Left. by Monday Night I Was in Front of 1,300 People; BROWN MRS ON HIS STAR TO FAME RISE

The Mirror (London, England), December 31, 2011 | Go to article overview

I Wasn't an Actor but 2 Days before a Show the Guy Playing Rory Left. by Monday Night I Was in Front of 1,300 People; BROWN MRS ON HIS STAR TO FAME RISE


Byline: MAEVE QUIGLEY

HE'S part of the biggest success story to come out of the country in 2011. But Rory Cowan is the first to admit he fell into acting completely by chance.

The Dubliner plays Mrs Brown's gay son Rory in the hit comedy series which has been taking audiences in Ireland and the UK by storm.

But the star began as Brendan O'Carroll's manager, a position he still holds.

He said: "I wasn't an actor and I had no ambition to be that. So there were a few Rorys before me even though the character was based on me.

"We were to open in Liverpool on the Monday night and two days before that Brendan told me the guy who played Rory had rung to say he was leaving.

"He said, 'Don't worry about that, you know the play so you will fill in and do the part'.

"I thought Brendan was joking so I said of course I would do it.

"But he held me to it and on the Monday night I played the Royal Court in Liverpool in front of 1,300 people.

"I was petrified but I found it was great fun. Even then I thought it was just a short-term thing."

A couple of years later Rory was hit with a brain tumour. He was off the road for five years and just as he was getting better he caught pneumonia. Rory added: "I was off sick for about seven months and Brendan paid me every week.

"When I was feeling better I would go down and sit in the Tivoli [theatre in Dublin] when they were doing a show. There was no need for me to be there but I said to him that I didn't want to be sitting at home.

"The next day Brendan said, 'I've come up with an idea, you're going to be the tour manager and you're coming on tour with us'. I enjoyed doing that but there was another few Rorys but when I got well again Brendan persuaded me to come back."

Rory's showbiz career began as marketing manager of EMI records, working with the likes of Tina Turner and Paul McCartney.

He said: "When I left in 1991 I was managing a few acts, putting them into a couple of pubs and one of them was in Finglas.

"The manager said the acts I had put in were the biggest in 20 years in the pub so he asked if I knew of anyone else.

"I had seen Brendan O'Carroll do a live show a few months before and so I said I knew of a comedian and would get him to do a gig if I could track him down. I found him and we stuffed the place.

"The deal was I took the door and paid Brendan.

"And I did this for a while in a couple of pubs but I was earning more than he was so he asked me to take him on full-time."

Rory, 52, was Brendan's manager when Agnes Brown was actually created by the mad-cap comedian. …

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