Paudge Behan

Paudge Rodger Behan[2] (/ˈpɔː ˈbən/ PAWJ BEE-ən; born 18 January 1965) is an Irish actor and writer. The son of IRA Chief of Staff Cathal Goulding and Beatrice ffrench-Salkeld, the widow of playwright Brendan Behan, Paudge Behan worked briefly as a journalist for a Dublin newspaper before turning to acting. After a series of minor film and television roles in the 1990s, he was handpicked by English novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford to appear as the male lead in a 1999 dramatisation of her book A Secret Affair (1996).

Paudge Behan
Paudge Rodger Behan

(1965-01-18) 18 January 1965
OccupationActor and writer[1]
Years active1991–present

Behan has also appeared in the feature films A Man of No Importance (1994), Conspiracy of Silence (2003) and Veronica Guerin (2003), and has taken leading roles in two short films, A Lonely Sky (2006) and Wake Up (2007). He has also auditioned unsuccessfully for Neighbours and popular UK black comedy, Doctors.

Family and early life

Born in January[3] 1965,[4] Paudge Behan is the son of Cathal Goulding (1923–1998), Chief of Staff of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the Official IRA, and Beatrice Behan (née ffrench-Salkeld) (1925–1993).[4][5] As a teenager, Goulding was involved with the IRA youth wing Fianna Éireann. After Brendan Behan's early death at the age of 41 on 20 March 1964, Goulding had Paudge Behan with Brendan's widow Beatrice.[6][7][8] Paudge and his half-sister Blanaid[9] grew up at 5 Anglesea Road, a red-brick, semi-detached late Victorian house in Ballsbridge, Dublin, which Brendan Behan bought for his wife Beatrice in 1959 for IR£1,400. The house came into Paudge Behan's ownership, and he sold it reluctantly for €1.65 million in February 2006.[10]

Education and career

Before turning to acting, Behan had a brief career in journalism in Ireland: "I interviewed everyone from priests to prostitutes before my Dublin paper folded."[11] Behan was also involved in theatre work he was a costume assistant during the original production of Tom Murphy's adaptation of Liam O'Flaherty's 1925 novel The Informer on 13 October 1981 at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin.[12] He participated in various other plays in Dublin, but finding them "all very over the top, very amateurish, full of people turning up drunk or not turning up at all", he decided to leave Ireland and pursue art studies in Berlin.[13]

However, Behan found he could not concentrate on his art in Germany as he was working too hard in the evenings in nightclubs and bars to earn money. Also, as he was doing "too much drinking as well, so unless I wanted to start a new art style where it would've been very 'shakey' [sic] to look at, basically I decided I had to do something else". He resolved to go to London to study acting. After applying to three drama schools he was accepted by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).[13] For about three years from 1990 or 1991, he lived with his friends from RADA, David Harewood and Danny Cerqueira, at 39 Ravenshaw Street in West Hampstead. Harewood recalls that his housemates were "fantastic characters" – "It was a wonderful, experimental time. We'd spend long nights discussing art, life and politics; smoking weed, drinking lots of whisky, listening to music and throwing furniture on the fire."[14]

On 15 May 1991 at Dublin's Abbey Theatre, Behan played the lead character Connolly in the original production of Tom Murphy's play The Patriot Game, which charted the events of the Easter Rising of 1916.[15] He also acted as a thug in the comedy film London Kills Me (1991); and made an appearance in the TV film Anglo-Saxon Attitudes (1992), based on the 1956 satirical novel by Angus Wilson. Other TV roles included characters in episodes of Highlander: The Series (1995) and The New Adventures of Robin Hood (1997). He was subsequently handpicked[16] by English novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford to be the male protagonist of the made-for-television film A Secret Affair (1999), based on her 1996 book. In the film, which gained him a large and enthusiastic female following, he starred as Bill Fitzgerald, a war correspondent who falls in love with and pursues Vanessa Stewart (Janine Turner) in Venice although she is engaged, and who is subsequently kidnapped in a war zone.[17]

Other films in which Behan appeared include A Man of No Importance (1994), Conspiracy of Silence (2003) and Veronica Guerin (2003). In the latter film, he played Brian Meehan, who was convicted of murdering Irish crime journalist Veronica Guerin in 1996.[18][19] In 2006, he appeared in Nick Ryan's short film A Lonely Sky as Jack Reilly, a test pilot who risks his life to break the sound barrier in 1947, but who is forced to question his reasons and abilities by a strange yet familiar man. The ten-minute film won Best Film (Production and Post-Production) at the Digital Media Awards in Dublin in February 2007.[20] Behan appeared in the short film Wake Up (2007), in which he played the lead character Nathan. The film is the first 20 minutes of a proposed feature film.[21] Most recently, Behan has appeared in the fifth season of the Irish crime drama series Love/Hate (2010). He played the role of Terence May, an Irish drugs supplier based in Spain.[22]

Concerning acting, Behan has been quoted as saying "this is a good business when it's working, but when it's not, it's awful".[13]

2008 police investigation

On 12 July 2008, Behan was questioned by the Carabinieri (Italian military police) in connection with the murder of a 72-year-old woman, Silvana Abate Francescatti, at her home on Monte Amiata, Arcidosso, in Grosseto, Tuscany, Italy. The woman was found on 11 July with 13 stab wounds, including a fatal throat wound, but was believed to have died the previous day.[2][23] Behan, who had been resident in Arcidosso for part of the year since 2006, was arrested after seeking treatment twice at a hospital near Arcidosso for a cut on his thigh. In an interview with The Irish Times, he claimed he had first gone to the hospital on 10 July after cutting himself in the thigh while unpacking furniture and other objects delivered from the USA. However, hospital staff had mistakenly decided he had been acting suspiciously due to his poor spoken Italian, and the fact that he had expressed annoyance at how the hospital was managed and its bad signage.[24]

Upon returning to the hospital on 12 July for a tetanus injection, Behan was arrested by five policemen and taken to their Arcidosso barracks for questioning. He did not know what was happening at first as the police had no interpreter in the barracks. He was only provided with a lawyer and interpreter 15 hours later when a magistrate from Grosseto came.[24] Behan exercised his right not to answer questions. He was released, but was formally informed that he was under suspicion. As of 15 July 2008 he was the only suspect in the case.[25] The police subsequently seized his car and a knife from his home, and secured a room in the house in which traces of blood were allegedly found.[2] In addition, shoe prints found were said to have matched his footwear.[26] Custody of his car and home (except for the cellar) were returned to him on 14 July by the judge overseeing the investigation.[23][25]

Speaking on Italian television, Behan denied knowing the victim and maintained his innocence, saying "I've got nothing to hide."[2][25][27] He accused the police of subjecting him to "psychological torture" during his detention and threatened to sue them.[19][28]

In November 2008, Behan was cleared of the crime and allowed full use of his home after a chef named Aldo Staiani was identified as the murderer from DNA retrieved from under Mrs. Abate's fingernails. Behan said, "I don't hold any animosity. It's done now, there is no point in bearing any grudges. I am just glad somebody has finally been caught for this brutal killing."[29]

Selected work


of appearance
Film Role Awards and nominations
1991 London Kills Me White thug at party
1994 Uncovered Domenec
1994 A Man of No Importance Kitty
1996 Snakes and Ladders Dan
2001 Bye Bye Inkhead (short film)[30] [Unnamed cast member]
2003 Conspiracy of Silence Niall
2003 Veronica Guerin Brian Meehan
2006 A Lonely Sky (short film) Jack Reilly
2007 Wake Up (short film) Nathan

Some information in this table was obtained from Paudge Behan: Filmography, Internet Movie Database (IMDb), retrieved 11 November 2007.


of appearance
Film or series Role Awards and nominations
1992 Anglo-Saxon Attitudes Larrie Rourke
(1 episode)
Highlander: The Series (19921998)
"Reasonable Doubt"
Lucas Kagan
(1 episode)
The New Adventures of Robin Hood (19971998)
"Your Land is My Land"
1998 Close Relations Todd
1999 A Secret Affair[31] Bill Fitzgerald
2014 Love/Hate Terrence May
2016 Stan Lee's Lucky Man Nelson

Some information in this table was obtained from Paudge Behan: Filmography, Internet Movie Database (IMDb), retrieved 11 November 2007.


of appearance
Production Role Awards and nominations
1991 The Patriot Game (1991)
by Tom Murphy

Abbey Theatre, Dublin, Ireland


Personal life

In addition to his half-sister Blanaid, Paudge Behan has one older half-brother, Cathal Óg (the son of Cathal Goulding and Patty Germaine who married in 1950), and a younger half-brother Aodhgan and half-sister Banbán.[32]


  1. Frank McDonald (26 May 2005), "Home of All the Behans", The Irish Times.
  2. "Amiata, donna uccisa nella sua villa: l'attore è indagato per omicidio [Amiata: Woman killed in villa: Actor questioned about homicide]", la Repubblica, 13 July 2008 (in Italian).
  3. Sergio Lo Gatto (14 July 2008), Delitto dell'Amiata. Accertamenti sull'attore irlandese [The Amiata crime: Assessment of the Irish actor], Fondazione Italiani, archived from the original on 16 July 2011 (in Italian).
  4. Table 4 ("ffrench-Salkeld families") of Michael O'Sullivan (1997), Brendan Behan: A Life, Dublin: Blackwater Press, p. xviii, ISBN 0-86121-698-9.
  5. Beatrice Behan; Des Hickey; Gus Smith (1973), My Life with Brendan, London: Leslie Frewin Publishers, p. 41, ISBN 0-85632-042-0. See also Biography for Brendan Behan, Internet Movie Database (IMDb), retrieved 18 November 2007.
  6. Ed Moloney (2003). A Secret History of the IRA. Penguin. p. 51.
  7. For this reason, it is inaccurate to describe Paudge Behan as Brendan Behan's "adoptive son", as IMDb does: see Biography for Paudge Behan, Internet Movie Database (IMDb), retrieved 18 November 2007
  8. "Goulding's career included many years as IRA chief of staff, many more seeking to break into politics, and an exotic love-life which included having a son by Behan's widow": David McKittrick (29 December 1998), "Obituary: Cathal Goulding", The Independent (reproduced on FindArticles) . In her memoirs, Beatrice Behan omitted to mention that Paudge was her biological son. She wrote, "Life in my house hasn't changed much, except that Blanaid, now a frail, brown-haired girl with a gift for drawing, has a brother, Paudge, a fair-haired boy I adopted, who makes a good companion for her": My Life with Brendan, p. 250. A photograph of Blanaid and Paudge as children with their pet rabbit Sneachta in their garden in Dublin appears as illustration 47 on p. 224 of the book.
    In December 2003, Paudge Behan expressed unhappiness that the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, had officiated at the unveiling of a statue to Brendan Behan at the Royal Canal in Dublin. When asked to say a few words after the Taoiseach's address, Behan addressed Ahern directly, saying: "There is nobody further removed from Behan's spirit than yourself." He later explained that his family had not been consulted about who would attend the event in an official capacity and he had not been pleased at the Taoiseach's attendance. "What has Bertie Ahern in common with Brendan Behan, other than they are both Irish? When you see what is happening with the fat cats in this country, with Bertie Ahern and his Government, I can't think of anyone further from the spirit of Brendan Behan. Shannon being used as an American air base for waging war on another country, was that in the spirit of Brendan Behan?": Olivia Kelly (9 December 2003), "Ahern incurs wrath of Paudge Behan", The Irish Times (reproduced on Indymedia Ireland).
  9. Blanaid Behan, the daughter of Brendan and Beatrice Behan, was born on 24 November 1963: My Life with Brendan, p. 235. She was named after Beatrice Behan's grandmother Blanaid Salkeld, a poet, dramatist and actress: Brendan Behan: A Life, p. 296.
  10. "Moving on", The Times, 12 February 2006.
  11. Behind the scenes of "Barbara Taylor Bradford's A Secret Affair" 1999,, c. 1999, archived from the original on 25 October 2007, retrieved 11 November 2007.
  12. The Informer, Irish Playography, archived from the original on 18 November 2007, retrieved 13 November 2007.
  13. Michael Hilliard (23 July 2003), Interview: Paudge Behan, 19 July 2003, Film Scene [blog], retrieved 1 April 2008.
  14. Caroline Rees (20 January 2008), "Time and place: David Harewood", The Sunday Times.
  15. The Patriot Game was originally commissioned as a TV play by the BBC in 1965 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising which occurred in 1916, but it was never aired: The Patriot Game, Irish Playography, archived from the original on 10 September 2007, retrieved 13 November 2007.
  16. Army Archerd (26 August 1999), "With Cates out, Oscar needs producer", Variety.
  17. A Secret Affair on IMDb, retrieved on 11 November 2007.
  18. Paudge Behan: Filmography, Internet Movie Database (IMDb), retrieved 8 August 2008.
  19. Emer Connolly (20 July 2008), "Hostage to misfortune in a real-life melodrama", Irish Independent.
  20. Official website of A Lonely Sky. Retrieved on 11 November 2007.
  21. Wake Up on IMDb, retrieved on 11 November 2007.
  23. John Hooper (15 July 2008), "Irish actor named as suspect in murder of Italian woman, 72", The Guardian.
  24. Paddy Agnew (15 July 2008), "Irish actor arrested after woman's death says police made a mistake", The Irish Times.
  25. Paul Bompard (15 July 2008), "Actor Paudge Behan questioned over murder", The Times.
  26. "IRA chief's son in quiz on murder", Daily Mirror, 14 July 2008; "Grosseto, indagato attore irlandese: è ferito [Grosseto: Questioned Irish actor: He is hurt]", il Giornale, 14 July 2008 (in Italian).
  27. See also Sarah Neville (14 July 2008), "Killing suspect is son of late IRA chief", Evening Herald; "Police: Irish actor investigated in stabbing death of elderly woman in Tuscany", International Herald Tribune, 14 July 2008.
  28. Kerry Waldron; Jason O'Brien (15 July 2008), "Actor endured 'mental torture' during police murder probe", Irish Independent; Colin Bartley (16 July 2008), "Arrest actor to sue Italian police", Irish Independent.
  29. Nick Pisa (11 November 2008), "Police clear actor in murder investigation", Irish Independent; Paddy Agnew (10 November 2008), "Man (27) arrested in connection with murder of Tuscan woman", The Irish Times.
  30. Bye Bye Inkhead, AFI Fest Festival Database, archived from the original on 16 July 2011, retrieved 13 November 2007.
  31. Ray Richmond (27 October 1999), "Barbara Taylor Bradford's A Secret Affair [review]", Variety, retrieved 13 November 2007.
  32. "Music and tributes resound at funeral of Cathal Goulding", The Irish Times, 1 January 1999. Some sources incorrectly state that Banbán Goulding Woods is a man: see, for instance, Daire Boyle (28 December 1998), "Ex-IRA chief of staff and socialist politician dies", Irish Independent.


  • Behan, Beatrice; Des Hickey; Gus Smith (1973), My Life with Brendan, London: Leslie Frewin Publishers, ISBN 0-85632-042-0.
  • Hilliard, Michael (23 July 2003), Interview: Paudge Behan, 19 July 2003, Film Scene [blog], retrieved 1 April 2008.
  • Paudge Behan on IMDb, retrieved on 18 November 2007.

Further reading

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