Born in Wexford, Ireland, his connection with his home country remained strong throughout his life, whether acting on the Dublin stage, originating roles in plays by Irish playwright Sean O'Casey, or playing Irish Americans in films. Indeed, he began his film career in Carol Reed's 1947 feature "Odd Man Out," which was shot in Dublin. And, his final screen credit was the 1998 television film "The Rat Pack," where he played Joseph Kennedy.
He won an Oscar nomination for essaying the title role in the 1954 movie "The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe." Other noteworthy screen roles included Macduff opposite Orson Welles' Macbeth in 1948's "Macbeth," the playwright lover of Lana Turner in "Imitation of Life" in 1959, a general in 1964's political thriller "Fail-Safe," a talkative dinner guest in John Huston's "The Dead," and a corporate villain in "Robocop" and "Robocop 2."
Throughout the years, he made numerous guest appearances on many television series.
His sole Broadway credit was The Ivy Green, in which he and co-star Barnard Hughes spent seven nights in 1949. However, he appeared in more than 70 plays in Dublin, including the premiere of O'Casey's Red Roses for Me.
Dan O'Herlihy went to the National University of Ireland hoping to become an architect. He turned to the theatre as a way to earn money, first as a set designer, then as an actor with the Abbey Players and on Irish radio. Architecture remained a part of his life, however. Lorcan O'Herlihy, his son with wife Else Bennett, who survives him, became an architect. He is also survived by son Gavin, also an actor, and Lorcan's wife, Cornelia, an actresss.