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Gay Byrne
Gay Byrne speaking into a microphone in 2007
Byrne in 2007
Gabriel Mary Byrne

(1934-08-05)5 August 1934
Rialto, Dublin, Ireland
Died 4 November 2019(2019-11-04) (aged 85)
Sandymount, Dublin, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Other names Uncle Gay,
Uncle Gaybo
Education Rialto National School,
Synge Street CBS,
Honorary doctorate in literature from Trinity College, Dublin (1988)
Occupation Broadcaster
Years active 1958–present
Employer Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ)
Notable work
The Late Late Show,
The Late Late Toy Show,
The Gay Byrne Show,
Rose of Tralee,
People in Need Telethon,
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?,
The Meaning of Life,
For One Night Only
Board member of Chairman of the Road Safety Authority (2006–2014)
Spouse(s) Kathleen Watkins (1964–2019; his death)
Children Suzy, Crona

Gabriel Mary "Gay" Byrne (5 August 1934 – 4 November 2019), affectionately known as Uncle Gay, Gaybo or Uncle Gaybo, was a veteran Irish presenter of radio and television for several decades. His most known role was first host of The Late Late Show over a 37-year period spanning 1962 until 1999.

Early life

Byrne was born in Rialto, Dublin. He studied at Trinity College, Dublin. He was the first person to broadcast The Beatles on television.


From 1973 until 1998, Byrne presented The Gay Byrne Hour—later The Gay Byrne Show when it expanded to two hours—on RTÉ Radio 1 each weekday morning. Since retiring from his long-running radio and television shows, Byrne has presented several other programmes, including Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, The Meaning of Life and For One Night Only on RTÉ One and Sunday Serenade/Sunday with Gay Byrne on RTÉ lyric fm.

In 2006 he was elected Chairman of Ireland's Road Safety Authority. Since retiring he has become the "Elder Lemon of Irish broadcasting".

Personal life

Byrne is married to Kathleen Watkins. Together they have two adopted daughters. He lives in Sandymount, Dublin with his wife.

On 21 November 2016 he revealed, live on a radio broadcast, that he was to begin treatment for prostate cancer and that the cancer may have also spread to his lower back. He died from the disease in Dublin on 4 November 2019 at the age of 85.

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