As I mention now and again, my article images for articles about people is where I think of them first. Every once in a while, though, it isn’t. There are four possible reasons for this. The most obvious is behind-the-scenes people; I’ve done animators, costume designers, editors, and so forth, and with them, I usually take what images I can get. The second is those few occasions where I simply can’t find the image and have to go with a second, or even third, best. Third is when they’re someone I think of from voicework, because my personal rule is that you have to have the person, and the only times I’ve used an illustration of some sort were for two artists and William Shakespeare. Here, we’re in the fourth—the primary way I think of Dan O’Herlihy is covered in makeup to the point that you can’t recognize him.
In fact, it wasn’t until adulthood that I realized that Andrew Packard and Grig were played by the same person. They are just wildly different characters. Andrew Packard is sly, scheming, and pretty well evil. Grig is pure delight—and apparently closer to the real Dan O’Herlihy, on the grounds that he would sometimes wear his Grig costume to drive home in. Grig is the older, more experienced gunner for Alex in The Last Starfighter, and he is best summed up in-movie as a “gung-ho iguana.”
I’ll confess I’m not entirely familiar with most of the rest of his work; I saw Robocop once in like fourth grade, and we read Halloween III on the Dissolve Couch last year or the year before, but that’s the extent of my familiarity with those two. He did five episodes of Lux Video Theater, which makes me feel like I knew it, but the vast majority of his work is a closed book to me. An episode of Remington Steele. Two episodes of a cartoon called Wildfire that practically no one but me remembers. Two episodes of Murder, She Wrote. The Batman: The Animated Series episode where he’s basically a thoroughly insane Walt Disney.
But he was MacDuff for Orson Welles. Robinson Crusoe for Buñuel. He worked for Carol Reed and Douglas Sirk. He was in The Dead, one of the few movies where he got to use his own Irish accent. He was in The Virgin Queen with Bette Davis. And, um, Invasion, U.S.A., which would be featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000. So good and bad, of course, like most other actors. Not everyone can have the perfect record of John Cazale, and it’s impossible if you’ve been in as much as O’Herlihy was.
He apparently did enjoy being in Halloween III, not least because he got to use his Cork accent—he was born in County Wexford, in fact, but I’m going with his quote on IMDb—and always had fun when he was using his Cork accent. But he didn’t think it was much of a picture, and I suspect that’s in no small part because of how dreadfully anti-Irish it is. And I mean, he’s someone whose IMDb page lists his political affiliation as both Democrat and Sinn Féin.