DUBLIN — Many tributes have been paid to the former International Olympic Committee President Lord Killanin, who died at his home in Dublin Sunday at age 84.
As well as his influential international role in modernizing the Olympic Games, which was recognized with an honorary life presidency in 1980 after his eight-year reign as president, he was also a journalist, businessman, author and film producer.
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said he had always represented Ireland at home and abroad with style distinction and integrity.
"He was a charismatic and dynamic individual who was passionate about every task he took on," Ahern said.
Born Michael Morris in London, his mother was Australian and his father was a lieutenant colonel in the Irish Guards. He was educated at Eton, the Sorbonne, Paris, and Magdalen College, Cambridge. After university he worked with the Daily Express, the Daily Mail and the Sunday Dispatch and covered the Chinese/Japanese War.
He served in the British army throughout World War II and took part in the Normandy landings in 1944. After the war he returned to Ireland. He served as a director of several major companies and was associated with film director John Ford in the making of "The Quiet Man" and was producer of a number of other films.
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He loved horse racing and helped build up the Galway race Festival as well as serving as a steward of the Irish Turf Club on two occasions and on the National Hunt Steeplechase Committee.
His association with the Olympics began in 1950 when he was made president of the Irish Council. His involvement with the games led to honors from countries such as Malta, France, Finland, Italy, Germany, Japan, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Spain, Tunis, Ivory Coast, Dominican Republic, Poland, China, Austria, Brazil Columbia and the USSR.
He was a founder member of An Taisce and was chairman of the National Monuments Advisory Council until his death.
Lord Killanin is survived by his wife Sheila and three children, Redmond, Michael and Deborah.