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'He will be sorely missed': Veteran broadcaster and Mailbag host Arthur Murphy has died

Colleagues have expressed their condolences online.

Image: RTÉ

Updated Feb 8th 2019, 5:12 PM

ARTHUR MURPHY, VETERAN broadcaster and host of the RTÉ television show Mailbag, has died at the age of 90. 

Long-time friend and fellow-broadcaster Ray D’Arcy announced Murphy’s passing on Twitter earlier today. 

“We have very sad news to announce today, Arthur Murphy had died at the age of 90. Arthur was a dear friend of the show and loved by so many for all his entertainment over the years on @RTEOne including #Mailbag.”

RTÉ director general Dee Forbes said Murphy “occupies a special place in Irish broadcasting history, having brought his own unique brand of warmth, respect and wit to his appearances on air”. 

“He had such a distinguished career in broadcasting in Ireland and the UK, something he clearly loved. That he continued to broadcast with the same unique delivery and wit to the very end is a testament to his professionalism and to his popularity,” Forbes said.

“He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his family and his many friends, both in RTÉ and across the world of broadcasting.” 

Producer Will Hanafin said it was “a privilege to write the e-mailbag script for him for ten years” while working on Ray D’Arcy’s shows on TodayFM and then RTÉ Radio One. 

He began presenting Mailbag on RTÉ in 1982. The Saturday evening show, during which Murphy would read out viewers’ letters about the broadcaster’s programming, ended in 1996. 

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Murphy was also a pop singer on the side, and appeared on the same TV shows as Jimi Hendrix and Engelbert Humperdinck. He presented many TV and radio shows in the UK, before returning to Ireland in the late sixties, according to RTÉ’s obituary.

The native Dubliner moved to London in the late fifties to pursue his dreams of being a pop star. He supported himself there with a job as a school master. 

The following years included stints on British TV, a recording contract with producer George Martin – then producer of The Goons, and later The Beatles – and in 1957, marriage and a tour of the US, where he appeared on numerous TV shows. 

When he returned to Ireland, he presented RTÉ’s first ever chat show, Visitor’s Book, and also became a producer and director, directing news and producing a weekly music show, Just For You.

With reporting by Hayley Halpin

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