The death has been announced of Cork actor and television presenter and producer Frank Twomey, who was best known to people of a certain vintage as “the man from Bosco”.
Frank Twomey started his career on the RTÉ children’s show Bosco and then went on to work on Nighthawks, Fair City and Bull Island.
He also had a hugely popular recurring role on RTÉ’s Liveline as part of its “Funny Fridays” as ‘O’Rourke’ the ‘mammy figure’ of Fianna Fáil. He became known to a whole new generation five years ago when he made a cameo on the Young Offenders Christmas special.
Mr Twomey spent five years touring Ireland as part of the hugely successful Santa Ponsa trilogy of stage comedies and was a longtime panto dame in the Everyman Palace Theatre in Cork.
In 2019 Mr Twomey brought a one-man show to Cork Arts Theatres entitled “Alone at Last” which he said was “an ode to Bosco and his recovery from it”.
During the show Mr Twomey, who was billed as being “in the twilight of his life but at the peak of his audacity,” spoke of having arrived at a crossroads. He mused about being known as “your man from Bosco” wondering if there is a life afterwards where we can “close the magic door (of Bosco) for good”. He wondered if it was “too late to be outrageous” or if “being outrageous was passé”.
Mr Twomey appeared in a moving Dublin Bus Advert which ran during Pride Month in 2019 wearing rainbow face paint and waving pride flags. In an interview with RTÉ the following year, the then 65 year old said that the 1980s were marked with “naked prejudice but it didn’t stop me being gay”.
He said it was an era where he was “careful and discrete because I had a Government job”. He said that he never regretted leaving his Government job to take up acting.
“There was not one person except my father who said ‘you’re doing the right thing’. Everybody said ‘are you out of your mind?’ And I’m still going. I’m 65, and I’m still doing advice programmes on national television.”
In 2020, Mr Twomey appeared on Agony OAP’s, a six-part advice show from RTÉ’s The Lab. In an interview with RTÉ he said that his first response to being asked was “trepidation”.
“What I was worried about is that it would be anachronistic. Old people trying to get in on the back of an online thing when they would be better off at home saying their rosary.”
However, Mr Twomey said that he thoroughly enjoyed the natural and easy swapping of life lessons and stories involved in sharing a couch with the likes of former TD Mary O’Rourke and GAA legend Pat Spillane.
Mr Twomey, who died following an illness, has been remembered fondly in Cork and beyond. Long-time collaborator Packie O’Callaghan told the Neil Prendeville show on Cork’s Red FM that every time you would leave him (Frank) you would have a “bounce in your step”.
“He had that capacity to elevate peoples’ mood. He grew old but he never grew up.”
He said people often approached his pal and asked him if he was the man who presented Bosco, and they would say things like ‘you reared my young fella.’ He said that Frank took it in good spirit that he was best known for Bosco in spite of his long catalogue of subsequent achievements.
Host Neil Prendeville said that he was “very sad” to hear of the death of his former Panto stablemate.
“Frank was a super actor, very underrated, and had a wicked sense of humour. “