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‘Emeralds in Tinseltown’ Reaches Irish Bookstores
15 Nov 2007 :
Emeralds in Tinseltown
Steve Brennan and Bernadette O’Neill’s book ‘Emeralds in Tinseltown’, tracing the story of the Irish in Hollywood, has just launched in Ireland.

The book tracks the history of the Irish producers, directors and actors in Hollywood from its very early days - including Rex Ingram, Owen Moore, through to Maureen O’Hara, Peter O’Toole and Greer Garson – right up to the modern era, featuring stars such as Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell and Gabriel Byrne.

“We essentially wanted to focus on the real history of the Irish in Hollywood and what a great contribution they made,” Brennan told IFTN. “Some say that they were really one of the most important people in the artistic adjunct. They weren’t always great business people, but they were great artists, actors and producers.”

Containing many previously unpublished photographs, the book looks at directors, the early producers such as Rex Ingram and Herbert Brenon and acting legends including Owen Moore, the first Irish film star, back in 1910.

“The book came about organically,” he continues. “Bernadette O’Neill - my wife and co-author, a founding member of IFTA and an actress - was really the main thrust on the research. She spoke to very many people over the years who had remembered some of the early greats, particularly in the 30’s and 40’s, like Barry Fitzgerald from the Abbey Theatre who was of course in ‘The Quiet Man’.

"Both Bernadette and I have a long and abiding passion for the role that the Irish played in Hollywood. We kept hearing stories about really fabled Irish legends and realised that there hadn’t been a lot written about any of them, except for Rex Ingram - Liam O’Leary the great film historian in Ireland did a book on Rex Ingram. There seemed to be a gap to us that needed to be filled.”

As International Editor of The Hollywood Reporter and a former Independent Newspapers, Dublin reporter, Brennan is used to deadlines and once the book deal had been secured, the couple had just two months to complete the final draft.

“We had a tremendous amount of good will from almost everybody in Ireland, including Morgan O’Sullivan of World 2000 who was very, very helpful in putting it together.”

A TV3/BCI Sound & Vision documentary, based on the book, is already in the works, with O’Neill and Brennan penning the script. Produced by Paul Howard of Imagine Studios and his wife Bernadette, the doco will include interviews with Irish talent in Hollywood, such as Gabriel Byrne.

‘Emeralds in Tinseltown’ is available from all good book stores and online.

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