Entertainers pay tribute to 'legend' Billie Barry
Tributes have been flowing in for legendary stage school queen, Billie Barry, who died at a Dublin nursing home yesterday.
Broadcaster Gay Byrne described Billie Barry as "a sweet lady" with her heart and soul in music and the kids and the dancing. "She was very modern and very foreseeing. She was right up there with modern day dance and all the New York stuff," Gay said.
He said his own two daughters, Suzy and Crona, had both gone to the Billie Barrie school. "I met her dropping them to the school and on the Late Late Show," he said.
"She was part and parcel of the Late Late Toy Show. They were always a very good group, very disciplined who knew what they were there for and knew how to do it which means a lot to people putting together a very busy programme. She will be a great loss to a lot of people."
Abbey Theatre director Fiach Mac Conghail described her as a "legend of Irish stage, a mighty woman".
Former Boyzone member Mikey Graham tweeted: "very sad news to hear of the passing of the legendary Billie Barry.
"The queen of Irish stage training school will be sadly missed RIP x".
Ms Barry set up her school in 1964 and some of her more famous alumni include pop singers Samantha Mumba, Westlife's Brian McFadden, Mikey Graham and actress Angeline Ball, Brenda Donoghue, Lisa Lambe and actor Devon Murray.
A spectacular variety show to celebrate 50 years of the school is planned for the Gaiety Theatre from October 28 to November 1 with a Golden Jubilee Reunion Ball for Billie Barry past pupils at the Mansion House on November 8.
Ms Barry, who kept her age a closely-guarded secret, is survived by her companion Jim, her four children, David, Pat, Joan and Lorraine, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.