Christopher T. Casson (20 March 1912 – 9 July 1996) was an English-born actor who became a citizen of Ireland in 1946. His work included stage, screen, radio and television roles. His portrayal of a Church of Ireland canon in the long-running series The Riordans made him known nationwide.

Life and work

He was born in Prestwich, Lancashire, the youngest son of actors Sybil Thorndike and Lewis Casson. He made his stage debut at age three in Julius Caesar at the Old Vic.[1]

After a brief naval career he enrolled at the Central School of Dramatic Art at the Royal Albert Hall. He began his professional career in 1930. He toured Egypt, Palestine, Australia and New Zealand during the 1930s.

In 1938 he joined the Hilton Edwards and Micheál Mac Liammóir company at the Gate Theatre in Dublin. He married the Irish stage designer and artist Kay O'Connell in 1941, with Mac Liammóir as his best man. They had two daughters. He became a Roman Catholic in 1946. He worked with Longford Productions until 1950, when he became a freelance actor.

Casson achieved national fame with his portrayal of Canon Browne in The Riordans. He also had parts in The Irish RM, Autumn Sunshine and Strangers and Brothers. His film credits included Captain Lightfoot (1955), Shake Hands with the Devil (1959), Broth of a Boy (1959), The Siege of Sidney Street (1960), Johnny Nobody (1961), Zardoz (1974), The Sleep of Death (1980), Educating Rita (1983), Attracta (1983) and Frankie Starlight (1995).

He was part of a Jacob's Award winning production in 1982, as a member of the RTÉ Players, when he acted the part of Virag in RTÉ Radio's unabridged, 30-hour, marathon broadcast of James Joyce's novel, Ulysses.[2]

He was an accomplished harpist and ballad-singer. He lived in the coastal Dublin suburb of Sandymount.


Year Title Role Notes
1959 Captain Lightfoot Lord Clonmell
1959 Broth of a Boy Mr. Justice Healy
1959 Shake Hands with the Devil Brigadier
1960 The Siege of Sidney Street Police Commissioner
1961 Johnny Nobody Father Bernard
1962 The Devil's Agent Headmaster Uncredited
1974 Zardoz Old Scientist
1980 The Sleep of Death Sir Philip Terence
1983 Educating Rita Professor
1983 Attracta Mr. Jameson
1995 Frankie Starlight Bookshop Gentleman


  1. ^ Boylan, Henry (1998). A Dictionary of Irish Biography, 3rd Edition. Dublin: Gill and MacMillan. p. 62. ISBN 0-7171-2945-4.
  2. ^ Cast of Ulysses broadcast RTÉ. Retrieved: 2011-06-13.