Hall of Fame – 2018 – Irish America https://irishamerica.com Irish America Magazine Thu, 18 Jul 2019 14:56:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.10 82361074 Kelli O’Hara https://irishamerica.com/2018/03/kelli-ohara/ https://irishamerica.com/2018/03/kelli-ohara/#respond Fri, 02 Mar 2018 07:03:00 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=34635 Read more..]]> One of Broadway’s great leading ladies, Tony award-winner Kelli O’Hara has had a dazzling career on the stage and screen, appearing in some of America’s most revered musicals and plays. She made her Broadway debut in 2000 in a revival of Jekyll & Hyde. Her first of six Tony nominations was for her appearance in The Light in the Piazza, which premiered on Broadway in 2005. She also received wide praise  –  and the subsequent Tony nods  –  for her performances in South Pacific, The Pajama Game, The Bridges of Madison County, and Nice Work if You Can Get It. In 2015, O’Hara won her first Tony – Best Leading Actress in a Musical – for her portrayal of Anna Leonowens in the critically acclaimed revival of The King and I.

Born and raised in western Oklahoma, O’Hara moved to New York City in the 1990s to enroll in the prestigious Lee Strasberg Institute after receiving a degree in opera from Oklahoma City University and winning the State Metropolitan Opera Competition.

O’Hara’s maternal great-grandfather arrived in Oklahoma from Ireland at the time of the Land Rush in 1889, during which 50,000 eager settlers vied for a portion of 2 million acres of territory. Her father’s ancestors immigrated to the United States from County Clare in the mid-19th century, making homes in Iowa, Colorado, and Missouri. Though O’Hara’s great-great-grandfather prospered as a farmer, he returned to Ireland soon after. However, his stay was only temporary: for an unknown reason, he was forced out of Ireland and returned to America with his family in tow. His descendants made their way to Oklahoma in 1909 and in 1921, O’Hara’s grandfather purchased a farm in Elk City, where to date six generations of her family have lived and thrived.

In addition to the broadway stage, O’Hara has also appeared in a number of movies and TV shows, including Sex and the City 2 and NBC’s Blue Bloods, as well as performing with numerous orchestras across the country. She released two solo albums and sold out her solo shows at both Carnegie Hall and Town Hall. She lives in New York City with her husband, actor and singer-songwriter Greg Naughton, and their two children, Owen and Charlotte.

Click here to read O’Hara’s April / May 2018 Hall of Fame profile.

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Dennis P. Long https://irishamerica.com/2018/03/dennis-p-long/ https://irishamerica.com/2018/03/dennis-p-long/#respond Fri, 02 Mar 2018 07:02:20 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=34632 Read more..]]> Dennis P. Long’s professional career began humbly as an office boy at Anheuser-Busch in 1953. But it was the start of a lifelong commitment to the company that would eventually see him rise to president and chief operating officer at the age of 41. In 1986, under his leadership, Anheuser-Busch became a sponsor of the Irish Derby, an annual event that takes place at the ancient Curragh racetrack in County Kildare and one of Europe’s top horse races.

Born in Chicago and raised in an Irish neighborhood in St. Louis, where his great-grandparents, originally from County Kerry, had initially settled, Long attended the local St. Columbkille parish school where he was further taught about his Irish cultural heritage, solidifying a life-long appreciation for his roots. The tight-knit working class community also gave Long the tools to succeed in business. As president of Anheuser-Busch from 1977 to 1987, Long nearly doubled the company’s beer sale volume, adding 35 million barrels and giving them a 33.6 million barrel lead over their nearest competitor. He did that by doubling the marketing staff and greatly expanding the advertising campaign, reaching out to specific groups, and by taking the brand overseas, much to Ireland’s benefit.

Long also used his position at the world’s largest brewery to support his other passion – soccer. As president, he chaired the committee that developed the St. Louis Soccer Park (originally the Anheuser-Busch Center), made Anheuser-Busch a major supporter of the United States Soccer Federation bid for the 1994 World Cup tournament, and later a global sponsor of the FIFA World Cup. In 2011, as part of the 35th annual CBC High School Soccer Tournament celebrations, the St. Louis Soccer Park honored Long for his commitment and vision over the years, officially naming the complex’s main soccer pitch the Dennis P. Long Field.

Outside of his professional life, Long also served as president of the United Service Organizations from 1984 to 1987, which helps over 10 million military service members and their families. And for his work, he received the Secretary of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the highest honor that can be awarded to a civilian by the Department of Defense, in 1987.

Long and his wife of 53 years, Barbara, who died in 2010, have three children, Tammie, Kelly, and Patrick, which whom he co-owns the successful fine dining restaurant Sam’s Steakhouse in St. Louis, as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Click here to read Long’s April / May 2018 Hall of Fame profile.

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Jerry Brown https://irishamerica.com/2018/03/jerry-brown-2/ https://irishamerica.com/2018/03/jerry-brown-2/#respond Fri, 02 Mar 2018 07:01:51 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=34629 Read more..]]> California Governor Jerry Brown is an icon among U.S. politicians. Known for his progressive ideals and dedication to the people and well-being of his state, he is the longest-serving governor in California history. First elected in 1974 and again in 1978 and 2010, in the 1970s, Brown enacted the first Agricultural Labor Relations Act in state history and organized the California Conservation Corp. He would go on to transform a nine-figure state deficit into a six-figure income, make provisions of aid for families in need of support, reform California’s prison system, pioneer energy efficiency regulations in the nation, and more throughout his lifetime of service in state government.

Brown was born in 1938 in San Francisco, California, where his Irish ancestors put down roots. His great-grandfather, Joseph Browne, immigrated from County Tipperary in 1849 at the peak of Ireland’s catastrophic Great Hunger. Joseph met fellow Irish immigrant and future wife Bridget Burke in Massachusetts, from where the two would relocate to California in search of fortune and territory in the years to come. That choice would have a lasting impact on California politics, as their descendants  –  Brown and his father in particular –  invested themselves heavily in serving the people of the state that welcomed their family all those years ago.

After graduating from the University of California at Berkeley and Yale Law School, the future governor went on to work as an attorney. Brown, whose father served as San Francisco district attorney, California attorney general, and governor of the state from 1959 to 1967, had always had political aspirations. He won his first state victory in 1970 when he was elected Secretary of State for California. Four years later, he followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming the youngest California governor since 1858.

Brown thrice ran as a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 1976, 1980, and 1992 U.S. presidential elections. Following his first two terms as governor, he served as chairman of the California Democratic Party from 1989 to 1991, mayor of Oakland from 1999 to 2007, and attorney general for the state of California from 2007 to 2011.

He and his wife of 13 years, the Gap executive Anne Gust, have an adopted Pembroke Welsh corgi/border collie mix named Colusa Brown, who goes by Lucy.

Click here to read Brown’s April / May 2018 Hall of Fame profile.

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John O. Brennan https://irishamerica.com/2018/03/john-o-brennan/ https://irishamerica.com/2018/03/john-o-brennan/#respond Fri, 02 Mar 2018 07:00:32 +0000 http://irishamerica.com/?p=34624 Read more..]]>

John Owen Brennan served as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama from March 2013 through January 2017, a position that capped off a 29-year career with the CIA that began in 1980 in the agency’s main analytic arm, the Directorate of Analysis. Brennan’s tenure with the CIA also included stints as intelligence briefer for President Bill Clinton from 1994 to 1995, chief of staff to CIA director George Tenet from 1999 to 2001, director of the newly established National Counterterrorism Center during President George W. Bush’s first term, and chief counterterrorism advisor to President Obama from 2009 to 2013. From 2005 to 2009 he worked in the private sector as chairman of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance and CEO of The Analysis Corporation.

Brennan, a Middle East specialist fluent in Arabic, graduated from Fordham University with a bachelor’s degree in political science, studying abroad in Cairo for a portion of his junior year. He went on to earn a master’s degree in government with a concentration in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Texas, where he also refined his Arabic.

The shift within the CIA from a Cold War focus to the Arab world helped make Brennan a valued commentator within and beyond the agency. He was named a distinguished fellow for global security at the Fordham University School of Law’s Center on National Security in 2017, and in February 2018 began his post-public service career as senior national security and intelligence analyst at NBC and MSNBC.

Born in 1955 in Jersey City, New Jersey, Brennan was raised in West New York and North Bergen in an extremely Irish household. His father Owen was a native of County Roscommon who worked as a blacksmith for the Anglo-Irish McCalmont family in what is now the Mount Juliet Estate prior to emigrating to the U.S., and his mother Dorothy was first-generation Irish American with roots in Mayo and Galway.

In 2013, Brennan and his brother Tom took their father on a return trip to Roscommon where they toured his father’s homeland, visiting his childhood home and planting a memorial tree on the grounds of the former church where he was baptized, now the Kilteevan Community Centre.

Brennan and his wife Kathy Pokluda, who is of Czech ancestry, have been married 40 years and have one son and two daughters – Kyle, Kelly, and Jaclyn.

Click here to read Brennan’s April / May 2018 Hall of Fame profile.

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