08 Aug 2022

An icon of Nenagh's cinema world, the Ormond's Edward Gleeson, has passed away

An icon of Nenagh's cinema world, the Ormond's Edward Gleeson, has passed away

Edward Gleeson in the screening box of the Ormond Cinema

The death has taken place of the former owner of one of the most iconic cinemas in Tipperary, Edward Gleeson of the Ormond Cinema in Nenagh.

Mr Gleeson, who was 91, was from Cappamore in county Limerick, and took over the running of the Ormond in 1986 when he opened a twin cinema in Summerhill.

On an eventful opening day, the first film shown was the animated hit The Care Bears Movie, while the evening showings of Rocky IV and Spies Like Us were disrupted by a projector breakdown.

Having overseen the conversion of the cinema to the four-screen Ormond Cineplex, Mr Gleeson remained at the helm of the business until January 2020, when it was acquired by Omniplex Cinemas.

Mr Gleeson also ran cinemas in Kilmallock and Cappamore and was steeped in the world of movies.

The Regal Cinema in Cappamore, county Limerick, opened in 1942, and Eddie Gleeson was working there from day one, aged just 12 years. The landmark cinema closed in 1991. At the time of its closing the Regal was the last surviving independent cinema serving the smallest population in the European Union

Mr Gleeson opened the Curzon Cinema in Kilmallock in 1974 with The Poseidon Adventure the first film screened.

For Eddie Gleeson, the cinematic highlights of a life spent in movies are too numerous to mention, but his favourite movie was the 1953 western Shane, and John Wayne was his favourite actor.

His interest in movies was lifelong.

In recent weeks, he had been enthusing about the last of countless movies he had seen, the 2020 British comedy-drama The Duke, which was, coincidentally, John Wayne’s nickname.

His eldest son, award-winning Los Angeles-based filmmaker David Gleeson, said this week: “Eddie Gleeson was never seen in public without a shirt and tie. A fastidiously neat man, even at home he always wore a shirt and blazer.

"His business was truly a family affair, and myself and all my siblings were roped in from a young age, and handed a sweeping brush to sweep up between shows. Weekends were spent working in the cinema.

"Our father was always there, 52 weeks a year. He never took a holiday, actually; a remarkable fact. Each of us, his seven offspring, took turns over the years working side-by-side with him for the matinees and evening shows.

"Supper was a meal grabbed hastily between screenings, and often eaten surrounded by overflowing Tayto boxes filled with rubbish. But we didn’t mind and wouldn’t swap these happy memories for anything.

“Through the cinema, we were all exposed to a massive amount of movies, often seeing the same film again and again.

"With the passing of Eddie Gleeson, an era dies with him."

He is survived by his wife Margaret; children Mary, Annette, Helen, David, John, Ita and Claire, and 24 grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements later.

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