Desmond with his wife Margaret at his 90th birthday party

Celebrations are underway as a loved Rathfarnham actor is marking his 100th birthday today.

Desmond Cunningham was born on December 6, 1918.

He has appeared in a whole host of movies including The Guns of Navarone, The Trials of Oscar Wilde and Dracula.

His step-daughter Myra, a grandmother-offive from Rathfarnham, told Dublin Gazette that Des came from a family of six and when he was eight his family moved to the States when they were sponsored by his uncle.

“He was raised there. Then he went into the army during the war. After the army he joined the Merchant Navy. He’s been all around the world with [them], that’s why he’s lived so long, he’s had a great life.”

When Des moved back to Ireland, he studied drama for four years in the Brendan Smith Academy on Grafton Street.

Myra said he has been in a lot of films that “he is very proud of”.

“He has been in The Guns of Navarone, The Old Curiosity Shop, Bloody Sunday, The Trials of Oscar Wilde, The Ambassador, an extra on Fair City, a solider leading the march in Cleopatra with Liz Taylor, he walked Julie Andrews down the train station arm in arm, Darling Lili, Dracula, and he played a judge in a film on TG4. He’s met a lot of people.”

Des married Myra’s mother, Margaret, when he was nearly 60 and they were married for 40 years. Myra’s mother sadly passed away in September.

Myra said Des is doing well and is excited about celebrating his milestone.

“He’s in great form. I only got him hearing aids the other day. He’s going bananas [having to wear them] – I hope he’s using them! Desmond is really looking forward to his birthday and party.

“They’ll have something for him in [New Lodge Nursing Home in
Rathfarnham] and then we’ll have a party for him on the 9th with the family.”

The one thing Des is looking forward to on his birthday is “the cheque,” said Myra.