Arthur Shields: Irish actor (1896 - 1970) | Biography
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Arthur Shields
Irish actor

Arthur Shields

Arthur Shields
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Irish actor
Was Actor
From Ireland
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender male
Birth 15 February 1896, Dublin
Death 27 April 1970, Santa Barbara (aged 74 years)
The details (from wikipedia)


Arthur Shields (15 February 1896 – 27 April 1970) was an Irish actor on television, stage and film.

Early years

Born into an Irish Protestant family in Portobello, Dublin, Shields started acting in the Abbey Theatre when he was 17 years old. He was the younger brother of Oscar-winning actor Barry Fitzgerald. They were the sons of Adolphus Shields, who "was well-known in Dublin as a labor organizer" although the 1901 census listed his occupation as "press reader," and Fanny Sophia Sheilds.

Irish nationalist activity

An Irish nationalist, Shields fought in the Easter Rising of 1916. He was captured and held for six months in the Frongoch internment camp in Frongoch, Wales. His obituary in The Times of San Mateo, California, reported, "... upon his release he was decorated by the Republic of Eire."


Shields returned to the Abbey Theatre and had a varied career there from 1914-1939 as actor, assistant director, director and stage manager. He appeared in many productions ("more than 300 roles in 350 plays) while he was there, three of the productions he appeared in were by Irish playwright Teresa Deevy 'The Reapers' 'Temporal Powers' and 'Katie Roche'. Three times he brought the Abbey Company to the United States.

Film and television

In 1936, John Ford brought him to the United States to act in a film version of The Plough and the Stars. Some of his memorable roles were in Ford films. Shields portrayed the Reverend Playfair in Ford's The Quiet Man, opposite John Wayne, Maureen O'Hara and his brother, Barry Fitzgerald. He played Dr. Laughlin in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon with Wayne and Joanne Dru, and appeared yet again with Wayne and Barry Fitzgerald in Ford's Long Voyage Home. His other films include: Little Nellie Kelly, The Keys of the Kingdom, The Fabulous Dorseys, Gallant Journey, The Shocking Miss Pilgrim, Drums Along the Mohawk, Lady Godiva, National Velvet and The River. He also made television appearances including a 1958 role on Perry Mason as Dr. George Barnes in "The Case of the Screaming Woman."

Birthplace of Arthur Shields on Walworth Road, Portobello

Personal life

Shields was married to actress Laurie Bailey. They had a daughter, Christine, and a son, Adam.


Shjields died of complications related to emphysema on April 27, 1970, in Santa Barbara, California. He was survived by his wife, a daughter, a son and four great-grandchildren. His body was cremated, with the ashes taken to Dublin, Ireland, where a burial with full military honors was planned.

Selected filmography

  • Drums Along the Mohawk - Reverend Rosenkrantz (1939)
  • The Long Voyage Home - Donkeyman (1940)
  • How Green Was My Valley - Mr. Parry (1941)
  • The Gay Falcon - Inspector Mike Waldeck (1941)
  • The Black Swan - The Bishop (uncredited) (1942)
  • The Man from Down Under - Father Polycarp (1943)
  • National Velvet (1944)
  • Three Strangers - Prosecutor (1946)
  • The Verdict - Rev. Holbrook (1946)
  • She Wore a Yellow Ribbon - Dr. O'Laughlin (1949)
  • Tarzan and the Slave Girl - Dr. E.E. Campbell (1950)
  • A Wonderful Life - Short - Pastor / Narrator (1950)
  • Apache Drums (1951) - Rev Griffin
  • The Quiet Man - Reverend Cyril Playfair (1952)
  • Pride of the Blue Grass - Wilson (1954)
  • The King and Four Queens - Padre (1956)


  • Your Show Time - 26 episodes - The Bookshop Man (1949)
  • The Hardy Boys: The Mystery of the Applegate Treasure - 8 episodes - Boles (1956)
  • Perry Mason - episode - The Case of the Screaming Woman - Dr. George Barnes (1958)
  • Captain David Grief - episode - The Return of Blackbeard - Angus Macmor (1959)
  • Bat Masterson - episode - The Conspiracy: Parts 1 & 2 - Dana Ruggles (1959)
  • Maverick - episode - The Bold Fenian Men - Terence Fogarty (1960)
  • Wagon Train - episode - The Amos Gibbon Story - Judge Tremayne (1960)
  • Rawhide - episode - Incident of the Dust Flower - Sam Cartwright (1960)
  • Bonanza - episode - The Stranger - Dennis (1960)
  • Death Valley Days - episode - Loophole - Jebal McSween (1961)


  • The Reapers (1930)
  • Temporal Powers (1932)
  • Katie Roche (1936)

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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