Barbarella’s Milo O’Shea dies aged 86

The character actor who played Dr. Durand Durand in Barbarella passed away in New York following a short illness

Milo O’Shea, the Irish character actor perhaps best known for playing Durand Durand in Barbarella, has died aged 86 following a short illness.


Born in Dublin in 1926, O’Shea began acting on stage in the 1950s before moving into films and TV in the early ‘60s.

His profile in Britain was raised immeasurably by starring opposite Yootha Joice in the BBC sitcom Me Mammy in 1968, and he found international acclaim that same year as Friar Laurence in Franco Zefferelli’s Romeo & Juliet and Dr. Durand Durand in Barbarella.

During the ‘70s he appeared opposite Vincent Price in Theatre of Blood and turned in a memorable performance as Dr. Popplewell in Steptoe and Son Ride Again before moving to New York.

He continued to act on stage and screen throughout the 1980s before notching up a number of roles on US TV series like Cheers and Frasier in the ‘90s. He also appeared in The West Wing as Chief Justice Roy Ashland in 2003.

O’Shea was awarded an honorary degree by Conneticut’s Quinnipiac University in 2010.


He is survived by his actress wife Kitty Sullivan, two sons and three grandchildren.