Talbot O’Farrell (1878–1952)


Image source: Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49504935
Trade newspaper ad from 1926.

Despite his stage name, “Irish” tenor and actor Talbot O’Farrell was born William Parrot in the north of England. He started out as a Scottish act, but switched to his Irish persona around 1912, and was billed, grandiosely, as “The greatest Irish entertainer of all time.” He continued on in Music Hall, Variety, and the occasional film until the 1940s, appearing in a Royal Variety Performance as late as 1948. His life was full of financial ups and downs — making plenty in the 1920s, losing it in the 1930s. He died in London in September 1952, just a few months before Fred Godfrey’s death in February 1953. He and Fred apparently were great pals — when asked whom Fred hung around with, his daughter Peggie (1912–2001, the author’s mother) immediately replied, “Oh, Talbot O’Farrell for one.”

The Godfrey songs O’Farrell is known to have sung span a twenty-year period: Come Back To Ireland And Me (1917), I Will Love You More Than Ever (1926), Old Sailor (1937), and Little Green Heaven (1937). .


From the archives of British Pathé,
see newsreel footage from
27 October 1930
of Talbot O’Farrell singing Fred Godfrey’s
Come Back To Ireland And Me and
from 1938, Little Green Heaven: