Helena Carroll, Irish actor of stage, screen

NEW YORK — Helena Carroll, an Irish actress known for her stage, film, and television appearances in the United States, died March 31 in Marina de Rey, Calif. She was 84.

The cause was heart failure.

Ms. Carroll, who moved to the United States in the 1950s, appeared regularly onstage in New York, Dublin, and London.


On Broadway, she was seen in Terence Rattigan’s ‘‘Separate Tables’’ (1956); the original production of the musical ‘‘Oliver!’’ (1963), in which she played Mrs. Sowerberry, the undertaker’s wife; ‘‘Borstal Boy’’ (1970), adapted from Brendan Behan’s autobiographical book; and the 1983 revival of Noel ­Coward’s ‘‘Private Lives,’’ starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor; she played the maid.

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With Dermot McNamara, Ms. Carroll founded the Irish Players, a New York repertory company dedicated to presenting the work of Irish playwrights. The company, which flourished from the mid-1950s to the mid-’60s, staged plays by John Millington Synge, and Donagh MacDonagh.

On film, Ms. Carroll appeared in ‘‘The Friends of Eddie Coyle’’ (1973), the Boston-based mob movie starring Robert Mitchum; ‘‘The Jerk’’ (1979), starring Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters; ‘‘The Dead,’’ John Huston’s 1987 adaptation of the James Joyce short story in which she played the elderly songstress Aunt Kate; and ‘‘The Mambo Kings’’ (1992), starring Armand Assante and Antonio Banderas.

On TV, she had guest roles on shows including ‘‘Ironside,’’ “Kojak,’’ “Murder, She Wrote,’’ and ‘‘Touched by an Angel.’’

Helena Winifred Carroll was born in Glasgow and was reared there and in Ireland.


She studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London before coming to the United States.

Ms. Carroll lived in Los ­Angeles.