Tom Hickey (actor)

Tom Hickey
Born 1944 (age 7172)
Kildare, Ireland
Occupation Actor
Years active 1963–present

Tom Hickey (born 1944) is an Irish actor who has appeared on stage and screen in a career that began in the early 1960s. He is, perhaps, best known for playing Benjy Riordan in the long-running television series, The Riordans.

Early life

Born in Kildare,[1] Hickey began his career in 1963 at Deirdre O'Connell's Stanislavski Studio in Dublin where he trained in Stanislavski's system of acting.[2] He has said that he sees his choice of profession as a "vocation", having decided to become an actor when he was five or six years old.[3]


In 1965, Hickey joined the cast of RTÉ television's new rural drama series, The Riordans. He went on to play the part of Benjy Riordan in the successful serial for the next sixteen years.[4]

In 2001, he made a rare venture into television advertising with his appearances in a series of commercials for Club Orange, a soft drink.[5] The first of these was directed by Declan Lowney, the director of Father Ted.[6] Lowney also directed Moone Boy, a Sky television series in which Hickey played Granddad Joe.


On stage, Hickey has favoured parts in the work of modern Irish playwrights such as Tom Murphy, Frank McGuinness, Bernard Farrell, and Marina Carr. In the early 1980s, the playwright Tom MacIntyre asked him to play the lead role in his adaptation of Patrick Kavanagh's poem The Great Hunger. Following the success of that collaboration, he has become an acclaimed interpreter of MacIntyre's work, in such plays as Rise Up Lovely Sweeney, The Gallant John Joe and What Happened Bridgie Cleary.[7]


As a character actor, Hickey has appeared in numerous films, including My Left Foot, Inside I'm Dancing, and Breakfast on Pluto. He was also cast in two of director Lenny Abrahamson's films: Garage and What Richard Did.

Personal life

In 2013, Hickey was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.[8] During an interview on The Marian Finucane Show on 11 April 2015, he spoke of his determination to continue acting despite the onset of this condition.[9]


  1. Sunday Independent, "Enjoying the psychic magic", July 14, 2002
  2. The Irish Times, "Memories in Focus, July 25, 1992,
  3. The Irish Times, "A multiple one-to-one experience", July 16, 2005
  4. The Irish Times, "After the Riordans", July 9, 1981
  5. Irish Independent, "176 reality shows... get me out of here!", January 13, 2005,
  6. The Irish Times, "C&C to double spend on Club Orange brand with elaborate and surreal television campaign", December 6, 2001
  7. The Irish Times, "Between two worlds", April 21, 2005
  8. Sligo Champion, "Actor Tom Hickey urges Parkinson's patients to reach out", 11 Apr. 2015
  9. Marian Finucane, RTÉ Radio 1
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