While performing at the Abbey Theatre she met actor Denis O'Dea, whom she married in 1956 and they had one child, a son: Donnacha O'Dea, who swam for Ireland at the 1968 Summer Olympics and later won a World Series of Poker bracelet in 1998.
In 1947 she debuted on the London stage and on Broadway in 1955 in The Chalk Garden for which she would receive a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role, Drama. In 1956, she appeared in the Cambridge Drama Festival production of Saint Joan at the Off-Broadway Phoenix Theatre. Theatre critic Elliot Norton called her performance the finest portrayal of Joan in memory. Siobhán McKenna's popularity earned her the cover of Life magazine. She received a second Tony Best Actress nomination for her role in the 1958 play, The Rope Dancers in which she starred with Art Carney and Joan Blondell.
Although primarily a stage actress, McKenna appeared in a number of made-for-television films and dramas plus acted in several motion pictures including 1961's King of Kings, starring in the role of the Virgin Mary. In 1964 she performed in Of Human Bondage and the following year in Doctor Zhivago.
McKenna was awarded the Gold Medal of the Éire Society of Boston, Massachusetts for having "significantly fulfilled the ideals of the Éire Society, in particular, spreading awareness of the cultural achievements of the Irish people."
Siobhán McKenna's final stage appearance came in the 1985 play Bailegangaire for the Druid Theatre Company. Suffering from lung cancer, despite surgery, she died the following year in Dublin, Ireland aged 63, and was interred in the Rahoon Cemetery in County Galway. The inscription on her tomb is written in Irish.
Siobhan McKenna Facts
|Siobhan Giollamhuire Mac Cionnaith
|May 24, 1923
|Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
|Date of death
|November 16, 1986 (age 63)
|King of Kings
|Philadelphia-Here I Come
|Of Human Bondage
|Bing Crosby: A Little Bit Of Irish
|King of Kings, O Rei Dos Reis, Rey De Reyes, Le Roi Des Rois, Samuel Bronston's Production King of Kings / Blu-ray / Dubbed / Region Free / Worldwide Special Edition
|Rey de Reyes