Oscar Actors: Fricker, Brenda–Background, Career, Awards

Brenda Fricker Career Summary

Fricker (born February 17, 1945) has enjoyed a career of six decades on stage and screen, with more than 30 films and TV roles. In 1989, she became the first Irish actress to win an Oscar, the Best Supporting Actress for her performance in My Left Foot, as Daniel Day-Lewis mother.

Fricker was born in Dublin, Ireland, her mother, “Bina” (née Murphy), was a teacher at Stratford College, and her father, Desmond Frederick Fricker, an officer in the Department of Agriculture and a journalist for The Irish Times.

Fricker began as assistant to the art editor of the Irish Times, hoping to become a reporter. At age 19, she became an actress “by chance,” with a small uncredited part in the 1964 film “Of Human Bondage,” based on the 1915 novel by W. Somerset Maugham.

One of Fricker’s first TV roles was staff nurse Maloney in Coronation Street, which debuted in January 1977.

Fricker came to wider public attention in the UK in another nursing role, as Megan Roach in the BBC One television drama series Casualty. Fricker bowed out as Megan in December 1990, after playing the character in 65 episodes.

Fricker found acclaim after winning the Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 1989 for her performance as Christy Brown’s mother in My Left Foot. In her acceptance speech, Brenda thanked Christy Brown “just for being alive” and also dedicated the Oscar to Mrs. Brown, saying “Anybody who gives birth twenty-two times deserves one of these.”

For her performance Brenda was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award and she won the L.A. Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress.

She rejoined My Left Foot’s writer-director Jim Sheridan to make the 1990 film The Field, starring alongside Richard Harris as Maggie McCabe (wife of Harris’ “Bull” McCabe).

She starred in the Australian-produced short series Brides of Christ (1991), and then co-starred in the 1992 TV miniseries “Seekers,” alongside Josette Simon.