Eileen Reynolds

Eileen Reynolds (1923-24)

[Born Dublin 1900, died London 9 Apr 1995]

Though she went by Eileen Carey throughout her youth (Carey was her mother's maiden name) and again later on, Eileen Reynolds used her real name when she was engaged as a D'Oyly Carte Opera Company chorister in 1923. She joined the Company on tour in October and remained until June 1924 when she left to pursue a career in London.

She was able to secure a small named part (Soola) in the West End musical The First Kiss (New Oxford, November-December 1924), appeared in the pantomime Dick Whittington at the same theatre (December 1924-January 1925), and then in the chorus of Love's Prisoner (Adelphi, February 1925). After six months at Drury Lane in the chorus of Rose Marie (March-September 1925), she headed for America where she toured for a time as an understudy in a play called American Born. Returning to New York, she read a friend's copy of the play Juno and the Paycock. "Deeply stirred," she later wrote, "I knew beyond doubt that I must meet the dramatist:Sean O'Casey."

She then returned to Europe and, eventually, to the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, where in 1926 she auditioned for a role in O'Casey's The Plough and the Stars. As Eileen Carey, she appeared in London in The Plough and the Stars (May-September 1926) and O'Casey's The Shadow of a Gunman (May-July 1927). She married O'Casey that year when she was 27 and he was 47.

After appearing in Noel Coward's operetta Bitter Sweet (1929-31) she gave up acting to raise the three O'Casey children. After her husband's death in 1964 she went on to write three books "Sean," "Eileen," and "Cheerio, Titan" under the name Eileen O'Casey. "Eileen" (London, Macmillan, 1976) is her personal life story and deals extensively with her career on the stage.

Page created August 27, 2001 © 2001 David Stone