By Des Cryan
Retired Sunday Independent chief subeditor Gus Smith, who has died aged 74, was also the paper’s drama and music critic.
His father, a police officer who was awarded a Scott medal for
bravery, had many changes of location in the course of his work and
when the family ended up in Limerick, Gus joined the Limerick Leader as
a junior reporter and later worked for the Roscommon Champion.
He subsequently joined the Sunday Independent as a sub-editor.
pursuing a writing career, Gus wrote two books on aspects of the
Wexford Opera Festival. He also wrote Irish Voices at Glyndebourne –
and the Wexford Festival Connection, which provided details of 27 Irish
singers such as the renowned tenors James Johnston and Dermot Troy, who
made their debuts at Glyndebourne in 1952 and 1954 respectively. John
McCormack – AVoice to Remember was written to coincide with the 50th
anniversary of the renowned tenor’s death.
Gus also produced a
series of biographies, one of Richard Harris and Laurence Harvey,
comedians Dave Allen and Ken Dodd and broadcasters Terry Wogan and
In collaboration with another Sunday Independent
journalist and broadcaster Des Hickey, Gus wrote biographies of Brendan
Behan and John B. Keane.
Their Star of Shame (1989) recounted the
tragedy of the sinking of the Arandora Star in the Atlantic in July
1940 as the overloaded ship carried Austrian, German and Italian
internees from Britain to Canada.
Gus had two journalist
brothers, Noel and Raymond, the latter a particularly successful sports
journalist. Married to Pauline, they had six children, of whom Henry
and Yvonne are journalists.
Another daughter, Deirdre, is a gifted harpist.