Game Of Thrones Actor Dies Days Into Filming
Actor JJ Murphy has died just days after he started his new role on the TV fantasy drama series Game Of Thrones.
The 86-year-old was cast to portray Ser Denys Mallister, the oldest member of the Night's Watch military order.
He began filming scenes for the hit show in Northern Ireland last week.
Much of Game Of Thrones is shot there and local actors feature prominently in the cast.
Murphy, from Belfast, died of a suspected heart attack at his home on Friday.
His agent Philip Young told Sky News he had "never encountered a man with more spirit and love for his craft".
Mr Young added: "He was a passionate actor and was working up until the end.
"He was always energetic, kind and caring. He was a lovely man and a talented actor."
He was also "known for his voice and had the most beautiful tone, very deep," Mr Young said.
The TV series' creators DB Weiss and David Benioff told The Independent: "We will not be recasting JJ Murphy.
"He was a lovely man, and the best Denys Mallister we could have hoped for. And now his watch is ended."
Murphy's film credits include Cal (1984), Angela's Ashes (1999) and Mickybo and Me (2004).
He also has a role in the forthcoming movie Dracula Untold.
He is perhaps more familiar to Northern Ireland audiences through his wide range of stage work.
It included Sam Cree's Don't Tell the Wife (1967) at the Belfast Arts Theatre, Martin Lynch's Lyric Theatre production of Dockers (1981), and Tinderbox Theatre Company's production of Convictions (2000).
Murphy trained with the Ulster Group Theatre and worked for many years at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast, where he helped mentor a younger generation of local actors including Ciaran Hinds and Liam Neeson.
The Arts Council added: "His concern for his fellow actors was well-known.
"A longstanding member of [trade union] Equity, he was a spirited and redoubtable advocate for improving the pay, conditions and career opportunities of actors in Northern Ireland."
Murphy is survived by his wife Mary and their children.