'Renowned'"It is the mark of the man and his achievement as a writer that his work is conjured by use of his surname only." Irish Arts Minister Heather Humphreys said he was one of the country's "truly great playwrights" and a household name "on the international stage as well". "He was renowned on Broadway, where many of his plays ran to great acclaim. Through his writing he brought Ireland, and particularly Donegal, to the world," she said." Carál Ní Chuilín, Northern Ireland's culture minister, said Friel "had a rare ability to delight audiences with plays that are both entertaining and thought-provoking". "Friel belongs to the canon of great Irish writers. His affection for everyday subject matter was matched by his understanding of the human condition," she said.
BreakthroughFriel was born on either 9 or 10 January 1929, with the precise date never being confirmed. He began writing while working as a teacher in Derry. In 1954, A Sort of Freedom - his first play - was broadcast by the BBC. In the same year, he married Anne Morrison and the couple had five children: Mary, Paddy, Judy, Sally and David. His major breakthrough came ten years later when Philadelphia, Here I Come was performed on Broadway. In 1980, he co-founded the Field Day Theatre Company with actor Stephen Rea - their work became known as an artistic response to the violence and politics that divided Northern Ireland at that time. Previously, Rea had described the writer as being "completely in tune with Irish audiences". "There is something innate in the plays where he speaks very directly to an Irish audience and we found the audience for him."
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Brian Friel: Famed Irish playwright dies aged 86