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Actress Siobhan McKenna was raised in a cultured Belfast household where nothing but Gaelic was spoken. Accordingly, she made her stage debut at Galway's Gaelic Theatre in 1940, then moved on to English-language productions at Dublin's Abbey Theatre. McKenna's first London production was 1947's the White Steed; her Broadway bow, as Miss Madrigal in The Chalk Garden, occurred seven years later. In 1959, McKenna emulated such actresses as Sarah Bernhardt and Judith Anderson by successfully tackling the male role of Hamlet. Explaining her skimpy movie output by noting "It's mostly a theatre bird I am," McKenna nonetheless contributed cherished performances in such films as The King of Kings (1961) (as the Virgin Mary), Playboy of the Western World (1962) and Doctor Zhivago (1965). McKenna's American following was largely predicated on her many appearances on the TV anthology Hallmark Hall of Fame. Siobhan McKenna was long married to fellow Abbey Theatre veteran Dennis O'Dea.

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