Gerry Conlon, Subject of Oscar-Nominated 'In the Name of the Father,' Dies at 60
LONDON – Gerry Conlon, the Irishman wrongly convicted of an IRA bomb attack in the U.K. in 1974 whose story was made famous by Jim Sheridan’s Oscar-nominated 1993 drama In the Name of the Father, has died at the age of 60.
He is believed to have been ill for some time and passed away at his Belfast home in Northern Ireland.
Conlon, played by Daniel Day-Lewis in the film, was one of the "Guildford Four" who were handed life sentences for pub bombings that killed five people and injured 65.
By the time the convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal in 1989, he had spent 15 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. His father Guiseppe Conlon – portrayed by Pete Postlethwaite – died while serving his sentence.
In the Name of the Father, which was adapted from Conlon’s autobiography Proved Innocent: The Story of Gerry Conlon of the Guildford Four, was very well received upon release, winning the Golden Bear at the 44th Berlin International Film Festival.
It went on to receive seven Academy Award nominations, including for best director, best actor for Day-Lewis, best supporting actor for Postlethwaite and best supporting actress for Emma Thompson, who played a British human rights lawyer who successfully had Conlon’s conviction overturned.
The case of the Guildford Four was hugely embarrassing for the British legal system, with the lawyerr proving that the police had lied and heavily manipulated notes to ensure a guilty verdict.
In 2005, then-Prime Minister Tony Blair apologized to those who had been wrongfully imprisoned for the bombings, saying that he was “very sorry that they were subject to such an ordeal and injustice."