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 Christy Brown  (1932 - 1981)

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Lived/Active: England/Ireland      Known for: painting and writing

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from Auction House Records.
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Christy Brown (5 June 1932 - 7 September 1981) was an Irish author, painter and poet who had severe cerebral palsy.  He is most famous for his autobiography My Left Foot, which was later made into an Academy Award-winning film of the same name.

He married his nurse, Mary Carr, on 5 October 1972 in Sutton Co Dublin. He settled in Ballyheigue, County Kerry.  He later moved to Parbrook, Somerset, England.

At the age of 49, Brown died on 7 September 1981, due to suffocation while eating a pork chop.  There have been accusations by the family that the death was precipitated by neglect.  He is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.

His autobiography, My Left Foot, was later expanded into the novel Down All the Days and became an international bestseller, with translations into 14 languages.  The Irish Times reviewer Bernard Shaw said the book was "...the most important Irish novel since Ulysses". Like Joyce, Brown employed the stream-of-consciousness technique and captured the Dublin culture in his use of humour, language and unique character description.

Down All the Days is a novel of Ireland and its society, focusing more on that than Brown's illness. Down All the Days was followed by a series of other novels, including A Shadow on Summer (1972), Wild Grow the Lilies (1976) and A Promising Career (published posthumously in 1982).  He also published three poetry collections, including Come Softly to My Wake, Background Music and Of Snails and Skylarks (now available in a compendium as The Collected Poems of Christy Brown).

My Left Foot, a film version of his autobiography, was directed by Jim Sheridan in 1989 with a screenplay by Shane Connaughton.  Daniel Day-Lewis starred as Christy while Brenda Fricker played Brown's mother; both won Oscars for their roles in the film.  The film was nominated for five Oscars in total, including Best Picture.

The Irish rock band The Pogues paid tribute to Christy Brown with a song titled Down All the Days.  It is the seventh track on their 1989 recording, Peace and Love.


Biography from Whyte's:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

A primitive-style painter, paralysed with cerebral palsy, he drew with his left foot.  He came under contract with the Disabled Artists Association in Liechtenstein and sent off eight paintings a year to them. Most were reproduced on charity cards.

He was a founder member of the Disabled Artists Association, Cork.  Some of his works were exhibited at the Agnew Somerville gallery in Dublin in 1970.

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