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Biography

O'CONNOR, Pat (director-producer) (1944-)

Born in Ardmore, County Waterford, Pat o’Connor studied film in UCLA and Toronto and worked for many years in television as a director of serials and one-off dramas. O’Connor’s critical breakthrough came in 1982 with the television film THE BALLROOM OF ROMANCE, an adaptation of a short story by William Trevor. He followed this with a second television film, ONE OF OURSELVES (1983), made for the BBC. O’Connor’s reputation was cemented with the release of CAL (1984), another adaptation, this time of a short story by Bernard MacLaverty. CAL was followed by a number of non-Irish releases, notably the British period drama, A Month In the Country, which explored the return from the World War One of two traumatised veterans, played by Colin Firth and Kenneth Branagh. Another critical success, it allowed O’Connor to make a move to Hollywood, where he directed two comedies - Stars and Bars with Daniel Day-Lewis and Harry Dean Stanton, and The January Man with Kevin Kline, Harvey Keitel and Alan Rickman. Neither film was well received and O’Connor returned to Ireland to make another William Trevor adaptation, FOOLS OF FORTUNE (1989). In 1995, O’Connor made CIRCLE OF FRIENDS, an adaptation of a ‘coming-of-age’ tale by popular novelist Maeve Binchy. After Inventing the Abbotts (1997), a small-town American romance starring Liv Tyler and Joaquin Phoenix, O’Connor directed a big budget adaptation of Brian Friel’s DANCING AT LUGHNASA with Meryl Streep playing one of five Donegal sisters living a life not dissimilar to that of the protagonists of THE BALLROOM OF ROMANCE. O’Connor’s most recent film is the romantic comedy Sweet November (2001).

Contact: irishfilm@tcd.ie | Last updated: Nov 27 2006.