Off Screen

The gift of a camera as a young boy was to launch Sheamus Smith on to a lifetime devoted to film. For almost sixty years he has been at the centre of film and television in Ireland. From his first job as an assistant in a Dublin photographic studio, he moved to the Evening Press as photographer with Terry O'Sullivan on his famous social column. After some years in Canada and the US, where he worked for the Disney studios, he returned to Ireland and was one of two lighting cameramen to be hired by the new national television service. For the following fifteen years he worked on every programme of note at RTE - in current affairs, features, entertainment and sport - and won numerous awards. He was then appointed Managing Director of Ardmore Studios and oversaw a major development of the film industry in Ireland.When appointed Film Censor he liberalised and transformed the system of censorship, not without some controversy that required deft management!While spending his life behind the camera, Sheamus Smith has worked with or encountered virtually everyone of significance in Ireland, and many abroad, over six decades - politicians, actors, entertainers, writers and stars of every medium. He developed lasting friendships with people such as Graham Greene, Peter Ustinov, Princess Grace of Monaco and John Huston. He was in Cyprus when it was invaded by Turkey and was interviewing Indira Ghandi in India when she was assassinated. And all the time he was observing acutely the changes in Irish life going on about him. These memoirs of an astonishingly full life, brimful of events and personalities, will engage and entertain.