seamus dubhghaill

Promoting Irish Culture and History from Little Rock, Arkansas, USA


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Death of RTÉ Presenter Gerard “Gerry” Ryan

Gerard “Gerry” Ryan, presenter of radio and television employed by Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ), is found dead in the bedroom of his home on Leeson Street, Dublin on April 30, 2010. He presents The Gerry Ryan Show on radio station RTÉ 2fm each weekday morning from 1988 until hours before his sudden death. He is presented with a Jacob’s Award for the show in 1990.

Ryan is born in Clontarf, County Dublin on June 4, 1956. He describes his father, Vinnie, as a “slightly eccentric” dentist from a Presbyterian background and his mother, Maureen, as “a flamboyant woman” who comes from a theatrical background and works in the theatre. His godfather is broadcaster Eamonn Andrews. He is educated at St. Paul’s College, Raheny.

Ryan hosts several series of television shows, including Secrets, Gerry Ryan Tonight, Ryantown, Gerry Ryan’s Hitlist, Ryan Confidential and the first three series of Operation Transformation. In 1987, he earns notoriety and the moniker “Lambo” after an unpleasant incident in Connemara. He is also noted for co-presenting, with Cynthia Ní Mhurchú, Eurovision Song Contest 1994 and, in 2008, presenting an edition of The Late Late Show, television’s longest-running chat show, in place of the then regular host Pat Kenny.

Ryan marries Morah Brennan in 1988 and they have five children: Lottie, Rex, Bonnie, Elliott and Babette. In 1997, Morah famously telephones her husband’s show and, under the name Norah, tells half a million listeners intimate details concerning his personal household habits. Gerry and Morah announce their separation in March 2008, which Ryan calls “a very painful experience.” He soon begins a relationship with the former South African Ambassador to Ireland and the then UNICEF Ireland executive director, Melanie Verwoerd.

Ryan is noted for his love of fine food and wine. He battles a weight problem for several years and takes Reductil (Sibutramine), a “slimming pill,” which he says is effective and safe. Ryan concedes in his autobiography Would the Real Gerry Ryan Please Stand Up, released in October 2008, that he drinks too much for his own good.

Among the dignitaries to send tributes following Ryan’s death are Bono, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Taoiseach Brian Cowen, and President Mary McAleese. His funeral takes place on May 6, 2010, and is broadcast on 2fm, the home of Ryan’s radio show and a first for the predominantly youthpop-oriented station. His death also comes sixteen years to the day after he hosted Eurovision 1994.

An inquest shows that the cause of Ryan’s death is cardiac arrhythmia and that traces of cocaine found in Ryan’s system are the “likely trigger” of Ryan’s death. A considerable public controversy erupts when Ryan’s long-term use of cocaine comes to light. RTÉ eventually admits to having given insufficient coverage of Ryan’s cocaine habit in the aftermath of the inquest.

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Birth of Radio & Television Presenter Gerard “Gerry” Ryan

Gerard “Gerry” Ryangerard-gerry-ryan, Irish presenter of radio and television employed by Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ), is born in Clontarf, County Dublin, on June 4, 1956. He presents The Gerry Ryan Show on radio station RTÉ 2fm each weekday morning from 1988 until his sudden death.

Early in his career, Ryan is involved part-time in pirate radio, presenting a selection of programmes firstly for Alternative Radio Dublin (ARD) and then for Big D. When RTÉ Radio 2, now RTÉ 2fm, is launched in 1979, Ryan joins RTÉ as a DJ where he presents a selection of speech and music based programmes.

In 1987, Ryan and a group of volunteers spend time in the countryside of Connemara as part of The Gay Byrne Show. Ryan claims to have killed and eaten a lamb to survive, earning him the nickname “Lambo,” though the story turns out to be a hoax.

The Gerry Ryan Show begins in March 1988 when he is offered a three-hour morning radio slot. Ryan’s style is considered by some to be that of a motor-mouth shock jock. The Gerry Ryan Show is subject to several upheld complaints to the Broadcasting Commission of Ireland (BCI). The Gerry Ryan Show becomes something of a national institution as the oldest show still running on 2fm. Despite repeated reshuffles which see all other presenters shifted around, RTÉ never moves The Gerry Ryan Show from its traditional slot.

In October 1990, Ryan receives a Jacob’s Award for The Gerry Ryan Show, described at the award ceremony as “unbelievably bizarre and unprecedented – and at the same time being serious, hilarious, and unpredictable.”

Ryan hosts several series of television shows during his career including Secrets, Ryantown, Gerry Ryan Tonight, Let Me Entertain You, Gerry Ryan’s Hitlist, Ryan Confidential, and Operation Transformation.

Ryan is noted for his love of fine food and wine. He battles a weight problem for several years. Ryan concedes in his autobiography, Would the Real Gerry Ryan Please Stand Up published in 2008, that he drinks too much for his own good.

Shortly after midday on April 30, 2010, Ryan is found dead in the bedroom of his home on Leeson Street, Dublin. His funeral takes place on May 6, and is broadcast on 2fm, the home of Ryan’s radio show and a first for the predominantly youthpop-oriented station.