Michael Morris, 3rd Baron Killanin: Irish journalist (1914 - 1999) | Biography
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Michael Morris, 3rd Baron Killanin
Irish journalist

Michael Morris, 3rd Baron Killanin

Michael Morris, 3rd Baron Killanin
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Irish journalist
Was Politician Film producer Journalist Writer
From Ireland
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio Journalism Literature Politics
Gender male
Birth 30 July 1914, London, Greater London, England, United Kingdom
Death 25 April 1999, Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland (aged 84 years)
Star sign Leo
Father: George Henry Morris
Children: Redmond Morris4th Baron KillaninMouse Morris
The details (from wikipedia)


Michael Morris, 3rd Baron Killanin, MBE, TD (30 July 1914 – 25 April 1999), was an Irish journalist, author, sports official, and the sixth president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). He succeeded his uncle as Baron Killanin in the Peerage of the United Kingdom in 1927, which allowed him to sit in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster as Lord Killanin upon turning 21.

Early life

Morris was born in London. The son of Irish Catholic Lt. Col. The Hon. George Morris who was from Spiddal in Co. Galway. The Morrises were one of the fourteen families making up 'the Tribes of Galway'. His mother was Dora Wesley Hall, an Australian by birth, whose family was from Herefordshire in England. His father was killed in action near Villers-Cotterêts, France, on 1 September 1914 while commanding the Irish Guards. He was educated at Summerfields, St Leonards-on-Sea, Eton College, the Sorbonne in Paris and then Magdalene College, Cambridge, where he was President of the renowned Footlights dramatic club. In the mid-1930s, he began his career as a journalist on Fleet Street, working for the Daily Express, the Daily Sketch and subsequently the Daily Mail. In 1937–38, he was war correspondent during the Second Sino-Japanese War.


Lord Killanin married (Mary) Sheila Cathcart Dunlop (1918–2007), MBE, of Oughterard, County Galway, in 1945. She was the granddaughter of Henry Dunlop, who built Lansdowne Road Rugby Ground in Ballsbridge, Dublin, in 1872. Her father was The Very Rev. Canon Douglas Lyall Chandler Dunlop, Church of Ireland Rector of Oughterard. Lord and Lady Killanin had three sons, George Redmond ("Red"), Michael ("Mouse"), and John ("Johnny"), and a daughter, Monica Deborah.

Military career

In November 1938, the young Lord Killanin was commissioned into the Queen's Westminsters, a territorial regiment of the British Army, where he was responsible for recruiting fellow journalists, including future Daily Telegraph editor Bill Deedes, and friends who were musicians and actors. He reached the rank of major and took part in the planning of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy in 1944, acting as brigade major for the 30th Armoured Brigade, part of the 79th Armoured Division. He was appointed, due to the course of operations, a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). After being demobilised, he went to Ireland. He resigned his TA commission in 1951.

President of the IOC

In 1950, Lord Killanin became the head of the Olympic Council of Ireland (the OCI), and became his country's representative in the IOC in 1952. He became senior vice-president in 1968, and succeeded Avery Brundage, becoming President elect at the 73rd IOC Session (21–24 August) held in Munich prior to the 1972 Summer Olympics. He took office soon after the Games.

During his presidency, the Olympic movement experienced a difficult period, dealing with the financial flop of the 1976 Montréal Olympics and the boycotts of the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Denver, originally selected to host the 1976 Winter Olympics, withdrew and had to be replaced by Innsbruck. The cities of Lake Placid and Los Angeles were chosen for 1980 Winter and 1984 Summer Games by default due to a lack of competing bids. Killanin resigned just before the Moscow Olympics in 1980, and his position was taken over by Juan Antonio Samaranch. He was later unanimously elected Honorary Life President.

Other positions

Killanin served as Honorary Consul-General of Monaco in Ireland from 1961 to 1984.

Killanin served as Chairman of the Race Committee for Galway Racecourse from 1970 to 1985. In his acceptance speech on behalf of the Galway Race Committee when accepting an award for its contribution to Irish Raching in 2013 the then chairman Mr Naughton said Lord Killanin’s appointment as Chairman of the Race Committee in the early 1970s was instrumental in setting in motion a train of development that has resulted in the venue not only becoming a top horse-racing destination but also an attractive tourist destination. A keen horse racing enthusiast, Killanin also served as a steward of the Irish Turf Club on two occasions and on the National Hunt Steeplechase Committee.

Killanin was a founder member of An Taisce and was chairman of the National Monuments Advisory Council until his death.


Lord Killanin was also a director of many companies and dabbled in the film industry, collaborating with his lifelong friend, John Ford, on The Quiet Man. He also produced films, including The Playboy of the Western World and The Rising of the Moon.


Commemorative stained glass window for The 3rd Lord Killanin in Spiddal

Killanin died at his home in Dublin aged 84 and, following a bilingual funeral Mass at St Enda's Church in Spiddal, County Galway, he was buried in the family vault in the New Cemetery, Galway.

Selected works

  • Four days, an account of the 1938 Munich crisis, edited by Lord Killanin. London, W. Heinemann, Ltd. (1938).
  • Sir Godfrey Kneller & His Times, by Lord Killanin. B. T. Batsford Ltd., (England) (1948).
  • Olympic Games, by Lord Killanin. MacMillan Publishing Company (1 February 1976), ISBN 0-02-975730-4.
  • Shell Guide to Ireland, by Lord Killanin, M.V. Duignan, Peter Harbison (Editor). Macmillan; 3Rev Ed edition (May 1989). ISBN 0-333-46957-7.
  • The Fitzroy: The Autobiography of a London Tavern, by Lord Killanin, Sally Fiber, and Clive Powell-Williams. Temple House; 1st edition (21 August 1995). ISBN 1-85776-023-9.
  • My Olympic Years, by Lord Killanin. Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd; First Edition (9 May 1983). ISBN 0-436-23340-1.
  • My Ireland: A Personal Impression, by Lord Killanin. Gallery Books (Nov 1987). ISBN 0-8317-6286-1.


  • Lord Killanin. The Guardian obituary. Retrieved: 2010-10-23.
  • Lord Killanin, Olympic Leader, Dies at 84 by Richard Goldstein (two pages). New York Times obituary, 26 April 1999. Retrieved: 2010-10-23.
  • An Irishman and his family: Lord Morris and Killanin, by Maud Wynne. Publisher: J. Murray (1937).
  • Lord Killanin (1914–1999), Maire Boran, Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, Volume 53, 2001, 218–19.
  • Michael Killanin at the Internet Movie Database
Civic offices
Preceded by
United States Avery Brundage
President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)
Succeeded by
Spain Juan Antonio Samaranch
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Martin Morris
Baron Killanin
Succeeded by
Red Morris
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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