Frank McCourt

Francis McCourt (August 19, 1930 – July 19, 2009) was an Irish-American teacher and writer. He won a Pulitzer Prize for his book Angela's Ashes, a tragicomic memoir of the misery and squalor of his childhood.[1]

Frank McCourt
Frank McCourt by David Shankbone cropped
McCourt at a New York City Housing Works bookstore in 2007
Francis McCourt

August 19, 1930
Brooklyn, New York, United States
DiedJuly 19, 2009 (aged 78)
Manhattan, New York, United States
Alma mater
OccupationMemoirist, writer, teacher
  • Alberta Small
    (m. 1961; div. 1979)
  • Cheryl Floyd
    (m. 1984; div. 1989)
  • Ellen Frey (m. 1994)

Early life and education

Frank McCourt was born in New York City's Brooklyn borough, on 19 August 1930 to Malachy McCourt (1901–1985), who falsely claimed to have been in the IRA during the Irish War of Independence, and Irish Catholic mother Angela Sheehan (1908–1981) from Limerick.[2][3][4] Frank McCourt lived in New York with his parents and four younger siblings: Malachy, born in 1931; twins Oliver and Eugene, born in 1932; and a younger sister, Margaret, who died just seven weeks after birth, in 1934.[3] In the midst of the Great Depression, the family moved back to Ireland. Unable to find steady work in Belfast or Dublin and beset by Malachy Senior's alcoholism, the McCourt family returned to their mother's native Limerick, where they sank even deeper into poverty.[3] They lived in a rain-soaked slum, the parents and children sharing one bed together, McCourt's father drinking away what little money they had. His father, being from the north and bearing a northern accent, found this trait to be an added stressor to finding a job. The twins Oliver and Eugene died in early childhood due to the squalor of their circumstances, and two more boys were born: Michael, who later lived in San Francisco (where he was called the "Dean of Bartenders") until his death in September 2015; and Alphonsus, who published a memoir of his own and died in 2016. Frank McCourt himself nearly died of typhoid fever when he was 11.

McCourt related that when he was 11, his father left Limerick to find work in the factories of wartime Coventry, England, rarely sending back money to support his family. Eventually McCourt recounts that Malachy Senior abandoned Frank's mother altogether, leaving her to raise her four surviving children, on the edge of starvation, without any source of income.[3] Frank's school education ended at age 13,[3] when the Irish Christian Brothers rejected him. Frank then held odd jobs and stole bread and milk in an effort to provide for his mother and three surviving brothers.


Early career

In October 1949, at the age of 19, McCourt left Ireland. He had saved money from various jobs including as a telegram delivery boy[3] and stolen from one of his employers, a moneylender, after her death.[5] He took a boat from Cork to New York City. A priest he had met on the ship got him a room to stay in and his job at New York City's Biltmore Hotel. He earned about $26 a week and sent $10 of it to his mother in Limerick. Brothers Malachy and Michael followed him to New York and so, later, did their mother Angela.[3] In 1951, McCourt was drafted during the Korean War and sent to Bavaria for two years initially training dogs, then as a clerk. Upon his discharge from the US Army, he returned to New York City, where he held a series of jobs on docks, in warehouses, and in banks.[3]


Using his GI Bill education benefits, McCourt talked his way into New York University by claiming he was intelligent and read a great deal; they admitted him on one year's probation provided he maintained a B average. He graduated in 1957 from New York University with a bachelor's degree in English. He taught at six New York schools, including McKee Vocational and Technical High School, Ralph R. McKee CTE High School in Staten Island, New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn, Stuyvesant High School, Seward Park High School, Washington Irving High School, and the High School of Fashion Industries, all in Manhattan. In 1967, he earned a master's degree at Brooklyn College, and in the late 1960s he spent 18 months at Trinity College in Dublin, failing to earn his PhD before returning to New York City.

In a 1997 New York Times essay, McCourt wrote about his experiences teaching immigrant mothers at New York City College of Technology in Brooklyn.[6]


McCourt won the annual Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography (1997)[7] and one of the annual National Book Critics Circle Awards (1996)[8] for his bestselling 1996 memoir, Angela's Ashes, which details his impoverished childhood from Brooklyn to Limerick. Three years later, a movie version of Angela's Ashes opened to mixed reviews.[9] Northern Irish actor Michael Legge played McCourt as a teenager.[10] McCourt also authored 'Tis (1999), which continues the narrative of his life, picking up from the end of Angela's Ashes and focusing on his life after he returned to New York. He subsequently wrote Teacher Man (2005) which detailed his teaching experiences and the challenges of being a teacher.

McCourt was accused of greatly exaggerating his family's impoverished upbringing by many Limerick natives, including Richard Harris.[3][11] McCourt's own mother had denied the accuracy of his stories shortly before her death in 1981, shouting from the audience during a stage performance of his recollections that it was "all a pack of lies."[3] However, at the very least, many of his Stuyvesant High School students remembered quite clearly the mordant childhood anecdotes that he continually told during sessions of his senior-level Creative Writing (E7W-E8W) elective.[12]

McCourt wrote the book for a 1997 musical entitled The Irish… and How They Got That Way, which featured an eclectic mix of Irish music; everything from the traditional "Danny Boy" to U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For."[13]

Personal life

Frank mccourt 20060912
McCourt in 2006

McCourt was married first, in August 1961 (divorced 1979), to Alberta Small, with whom he had a daughter, Margaret.[3] He married a second time in November 1984 (divorced 1989) to the psychotherapist Cheryl Floyd.[3] He married his third wife, Ellen Frey McCourt, in August 1994, and they lived in New York City and Roxbury, Connecticut.[3]

In his free time, McCourt took up the casual sport of rowing. He once sank his WinTech recreational single scull on the Mohawk River in Upstate New York, and had to be rescued by a local rowing team.

It was announced in May 2009 that McCourt had been treated for melanoma and that he was in remission, undergoing home chemotherapy.[14] On July 19, 2009, he died from the cancer, with meningeal complications,[1] at a hospice in Manhattan.[4]

His mother, Angela Sheehan McCourt, and father, Malachy Gerald McCourt, predeceased him in 1981 and 1985, respectively.


Frank McCourt 2 by David Shankbone
McCourt at New York's Housing Works bookstore paying tribute to Irish poet Benedict Keily, 2007

McCourt was a member of the National Arts Club and was a recipient of the Award of Excellence from The International Center in New York. In 1998, McCourt was honored as the Irish American of the Year by Irish America magazine. In 2002 he was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Western Ontario.

In October 2009, the New York City Department of Education, along with several partners from the community, founded the Frank McCourt High School of Writing, Journalism, and Literature, a screened-admissions public high school. The school is located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan on West 84th Street. The Frank McCourt School is one of four small schools designated to fill the campus of the former Louis D. Brandeis High School. The Frank McCourt High School began classes September 2010. The first principal of the school is Danielle Salzberg, who previously served as acting principal at Khalil Gibran International Academy and as an assistant principal at Millennium High School in New York. Among the many community partners of the Frank McCourt school are the Columbia Journalism School and Symphony Space.

The Frank McCourt Museum was officially opened by Malachy McCourt in July 2011 at Leamy House, Hartstonge Street, Limerick.[15] This Tudor-style building was formerly known as the Leamy School, the former school of Frank and his brother Malachy. The museum showcases the 1930s classroom of Leamy School and contains a collection of memorabilia, including items such as school books of the period and old photos, all donated by former pupils of the school. As well as having a large selection of Angela's Ashes memorabilia, the museum has recreated the McCourt home as described in the book using period pieces and props from the Angela's Ashes motion picture. The downstairs of the museum houses the Dr. Frank McCourt Creative Writing centre.[16]


  • Angela's Ashes. A memoir. Scribner. 1996
  • 'Tis. A memoir. Scribner. 1999
  • Yeats Is Dead! A Mystery by 15 Irish Writers. Contributed a chapter. 2001
  • Teacher Man. A memoir. Scribner. 2005.
  • Frank McCourt; Loren Long (Illustrator) (2007). Angela and the Baby Jesus (Adult Edition). Scribner. ISBN 1416574700.
  • Frank McCourt; Raul Colon (Illustrator) (2007). Angela and the Baby Jesus: (Children's Edition). Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0545127820.
  • Frank McCourt; Malachy McCourt (2011). Couple of Blaguards, A. Samuel French. ISBN 978-0573699634.


  1. ^ a b Grossman, Lev (19 July 2009). "Frank McCourt, 'Angela's Ashes' Author, Dies". TIME. Retrieved 4 April 2013. For most of his life, until he was well into his 60s, Frank McCourt wasn't a writer; he was a teacher. But it is as a writer, the author of the wildly successful memoir Angela's Ashes, that he will be remembered. He died on July 19 in New York of meningitis. He was 78 years old.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Telegraph "Frank McCourt " obituary. 20 July 2009
  4. ^ a b Grimes, William (2009-07-19). "Frank McCourt, Whose Irish Childhood Illuminated His Prose, Is Dead at 78". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-01-08.
  5. ^ "Frank McCourt on TVO (Mentioned at minute 9 of interview clip originally aired February 2006)". Retrieved 9 June 2013.
  6. ^ McCourt, Frank (May 11, 1997). "Mothers Who Get By". Retrieved 2009-07-23.
  7. ^ "The 1997 Pulitzer Prize Winners: Biography or Autobiography". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved 2013-11-12. With text from the book jacket and some other information.
  8. ^ "All Past National Book Critics Circle Award Winners and Finalists". Retrieved 2013-11-12.
  9. ^ "Angela's Ashes". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster, Inc. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  10. ^ "Angela's Ashes (1999) - IMDb"., Inc. Retrieved 4 April 2013.
  11. ^ John McEntee (December 25, 2011). "Bitter feud between fellow Limerick men over destiny of 'Angela's Ashes'". Irish Independent. Retrieved December 27, 2011.
  12. ^ Claire Roxanne Wilner Willett, personal interview, 1 November 1998.
  13. ^ Byrne, Terry (4 February 2013). "Frank McCourt's 'The Irish… and How They Got That Way' is a celebration - Theater & art - The Boston Globe". Frank McCourt's 'The Irish… and How They Got That Way' is a celebration - Theater & art - The Boston Globe. Retrieved 4 April 2013. The proceedings bear out a determination to set the record straight about the tragedy of the Great Famine, and evince a reverence for John F. Kennedy, a pride in iconic Irish-Americans George M. Cohan and James Cagney, and a humorous, slightly bitter attitude toward British oppression.
  14. ^ 'Angela's Ashes' author Frank McCourt has cancer, USA Today, May 20, 2009, retrieved May 22, 2009
  15. ^ The Frank McCourt Museum
  16. ^ RTE

External links

Michael McCourt obituary


'Tis is a memoir written by Frank McCourt. Published in 1999, it begins where McCourt ended Angela's Ashes, his Pulitzer Prize winning memoir of his impoverished childhood in Ireland and his return to America.

2004 Los Angeles Dodgers season

The 2004 season brought change to the Dodgers as the sale of the franchise to developer Frank McCourt was finalized during spring training. McCourt promptly dismissed General Manager Dan Evans and hired Paul DePodesta to take over the team. That led to a flurry of trade activity as the new group attempted to rebuild the Dodgers in their image.

Despite it all, the Dodgers managed to finish the season in first place in the Western Division of the National League and won their first post season game since 1988. However they lost the NL Division Series 3-1 to the St. Louis Cardinals.

2011 Los Angeles Dodgers ownership dispute

The Los Angeles Dodgers major league baseball team underwent a period of turmoil in management in 2011-2012 that began when Major League Baseball seized control of the team from owner Frank McCourt on April 20, 2011 and ended when the team was sold to new owners on May 1, 2012.Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced that the takeover was due to concerns over the team's finances, and a loss of confidence in the ability of owner Frank McCourt to run the team. Selig announced his intention to appoint an overseer to supervise the day-to-day financial management of the Dodgers. In June, as the Dodgers struggled to meet payroll, Selig rejected a TV contract that would have pumped money into the organization. This led to the Dodgers filing for bankruptcy, and being forced to negotiate a loan with the MLB to keep the club operating.

After a year of negotiations and court proceedings, the dispute ended with the sale of the team to Guggenheim Baseball Management LLC.

Alphie McCourt

Alphonsus Joseph "Alphie" McCourt (29 July 1940 – 2 July 2016) was an Irish-American writer. He was the youngest brother of Frank McCourt.

Angela's Ashes

Angela's Ashes: A Memoir is a 1996 memoir by the Irish-American author Frank McCourt, with various anecdotes and stories of his childhood. It details his very early childhood in Brooklyn, New York, but focuses primarily on his life in Limerick, Ireland. It also includes his struggles with poverty and his father's alcoholism.

The book was published in 1996 and won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography. A sequel, 'Tis, was published in 1999, followed by Teacher Man in 2005.

Angela's Ashes (film)

Angela's Ashes is a 1999 drama film based on the memoir of the same name by Frank McCourt. An international co-production between the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ireland, it was co-written and directed by Alan Parker, and stars Emily Watson, Robert Carlyle, Joe Breen, Ciaran Owens, and Michael Legge, the latter three playing the Young, Middle and Older Frank McCourt respectively.

Bob Graziano

Bob Graziano is a former President and Chief Operating Officer of the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball. He currently serves as the Southern California Market Manager for J.P. Morgan Chase in their private bank. Prior to assuming this role in May 2013, he was Managing Partner, Family Advisory Services of Northern Trust, a wealth management company.

Graziano graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California in 1980 with a Business Administration degree with an emphasis in accounting. His first job was as a certified public accountant at Ernst & Young. He worked there for four years until he took a leave of absence to work for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics Organizing Committee in ticket operations.

Graziano joined the Dodgers organization in 1986 as Director of Financial Projects and became Chief Financial Officer of the team in 1987. He was promoted to Executive Vice-President in 1997 and was named President of the team in 1998 when News Corporation bought the Dodgers from Peter O'Malley. He worked with CEO Robert A. Daly in managing the day-to-day operations of the Dodgers.

Graziano left the organization in 2004 when the team was sold to Frank McCourt. He briefly worked with O'Malley Seidler Partners LLP before joining Northern Trust as a Managing Director. He worked at Northern Trust until joining J.P. Morgan Private Bank in May 2013.

Graziano has served on numerous nonprofit boards including: LA84 Foundation, Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission, Los Angeles Premier Water Polo Club, LA's BEST, USC Leventhal School of Accounting, USC Sports Business Institute, USC Associates, Jackie Robinson Foundation, Jim Murray Memorial Foundation, Japan America Society of Southern California, and the Dodger Foundation.

Graziano is married to Wendy Wachtell, President of the Joseph Drown Foundation. They have five sons: Matthew Graziano, Jameson Wachtell, Brian Graziano, Bradley Wachtell and Davis Wachtell.

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie is a book aimed at children and young teenagers, and was the 2004 debut novel from author Jordan Sonnenblick, originally published by DayBlue Insights and later by Scholastic. Publishers Weekly described it as "insightful".Sonnenblick, an English teacher and former student of author Frank McCourt, was inspired to write the novel by the real-life story of one of his own students.

Fish Anthology

The Fish Anthology ia a yearly short story anthology based in Ireland published by Fish Publishing that collects the best short fiction published annually in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada and other English-speaking nations. The volume was first published in 1994 by Clem Cairns and Jula Walton. It is widely regarded as the leading short story annual in Ireland.The anthology's longtime sponsors are Roddy Doyle, Dermot Healy and Frank McCourt.

Frank McCourt (executive)

Frank H. McCourt Jr. (born August 14, 1953) is an American businessman, chairman of McCourt LP, chairman and CEO of McCourt Global, and current owner of the Los Angeles Marathon and football club Olympique de Marseille. He was owner and chairman of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine from 2004 to 2012.

In 2004, he purchased a controlling interest of the Dodgers from Fox Entertainment Group, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Prior to purchasing the Dodgers and moving to Los Angeles, McCourt was a Boston real estate developer, whose family resided in Brookline, Massachusetts.

In 2013, he donated $100 million to establish the McCourt School of Public Policy, the ninth school of Georgetown University.

On August 29, 2016, Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, the then owner of the French Ligue 1 club, Olympique de Marseille and the Marseille mayor, Jean-Claude Gaudin, stated during a press conference with McCourt that McCourt had agreed to purchase Olympique de Marseille. The deal was completed in Paris on October 17, 2016.

Frank McCourt (footballer)

Francis Joseph McCourt (9 December 1925 – 1 June 2006) was a Northern Irish footballer who played as a wing half for Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers, Bristol Rovers, Manchester City, Colchester United and Poole Town. He was born in Portadown.McCourt was capped six times by Northern Ireland. He later moved to Washington, U.S.A. and died there in June 2006 at the age of 80.

Irish Repertory Theatre

The Irish Repertory Theatre is an Off Broadway theatre founded in 1988.

Jamie McCourt

Jamie D. McCourt (born December 5, 1953) is the United States Ambassador to the French Republic and Principality of Monaco. She was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in on November 2, 2017. Ambassador McCourt is also the United States Permanent Observer to the Council of Europe. McCourt is the founder and CEO of Jamie Enterprises and the former Co-Owner and executive of the Los Angeles Dodgers. She became the highest-ranking woman in Major League Baseball, appointed first as Vice Chairman of the Dodgers in 2004, then President in 2005, and finally CEO in 2009.

List of Los Angeles Dodgers owners and executives

This is a list of Los Angeles Dodgers owners and executives.

Malachy McCourt

Malachy Gerard McCourt (born 20 September 1931) is an Irish-American actor, writer, and politician. He was the 2006 Green Party candidate for governor in New York State, losing to the Democratic candidate Eliot Spitzer. He is the younger brother of author Frank McCourt.

Margarita Louis-Dreyfus

Margarita Louis-Dreyfus (née Bogdanova; born 1 July 1962) is a Russian-born Swiss billionaire businesswoman, chairperson of Louis Dreyfus.

Michael Legge (actor)

Michael Legge (born 11 December 1978) is a Northern Irish actor.

He has appeared in a number of stage, film, television and radio roles. He may be best known for playing the teenaged Frank McCourt in Alan Parker's 1999 film, Angela's Ashes. He also played another Limerick character in the film Cowboys & Angels.Legge attended St Colman's College, Newry.

Olympique de Marseille

Olympique de Marseille (French pronunciation: ​[ɔlɛ̃pik də maʁsɛj], locally [ɔlɛ̃pikə də mɑχsɛjə]), also known as OM (IPA: [o.ɛm], locally [o.ɛmə]) or simply Marseille, is a French football club in Marseille.

Founded in 1899, the club play in Ligue 1 and have spent most of their history in the top tier of French football. The club has won ten official league titles (nine times in Ligue 1), ten Coupes de France and three Coupes de la Ligue. In 1993, coach Raymond Goethals led the team to become the first and only French club to win the UEFA Champions League, defeating AC Milan 1–0 in the final. In 2010, Marseille won its first Ligue 1 title in 18 years under the managing of former club captain Didier Deschamps.Marseille's home ground is the 67,000-capacity Stade Vélodrome in the southern part of the city, where they have played since 1937. The club has a large fan-base, having regularly averaged the highest attendance in French football. Marseille's average home gate for the 2008–09 season was 52,276, the highest in Ligue 1. The stadium underwent renovation in 2011, going from its previous capacity of 60,031 to 42,000. Following completion in August 2014, the final capacity increased to 67,000 ahead of France's hosting of UEFA Euro 2016. In 2015, the club was ranked 23rd globally in terms of annual revenue, generating €130.5 million.In 1997, Marseille was purchased by Franco-Swiss businessman Robert Louis-Dreyfus. Following his death in 2009, his widow Margarita became the club's majority shareholder in 2010. In 2016, American businessman Frank McCourt bought the club from her, and appointed businessman Jacques-Henri Eyraud as the club president, with Rudi Garcia appointed as the manager of the club's first team.

Teacher Man

Teacher Man is a 2005 memoir written by Frank McCourt which describes and reflects on his teaching experiences in New York high schools and colleges. It is in continuation to his earlier two memoirs, Angela's Ashes and 'Tis.

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