In Memoriam: Irene Halligan
It is with a heavy heart that the Drama League announces the passing of its Board Member, Irene Halligan. Ms. Halligan died in New York on Monday afternoon, March 11th, surrounded by her daughters and grandchildren.
Irene Halligan with Harry Neyens at the 2008 Benefit Gala
Irene joined the Drama League’s Board of Directors in 2005 and was a vital and active member. With fellow board member Harry Neyens, she co-chaired The Drama League Awards Luncheon from 2006 to 2012. Under their leadership, The Drama League Awards grew to become one of the largest events of the theatrical season. Actor John Lithgow called the Awards Luncheon “the best party on Broadway”. She will be greatly missed by everyone at the organization.
In addition to her contributions to The Drama League, Irene was actively involved in the community, supporting many social service and civic enterprises. Irene was the former president of Interfaith Neighbors, a charity devoted to at-risk adolescents. She was a member of the advisory board of Creative Alternatives of New York, a program hosting theater workshops for the disabled and disadvantaged; and a board member of the Soldiers, Sailors, Marines & Airmen’s Club, a facility serving U.S. armed forces members, reserves, and veterans. Irene also served on the boards of America’s Camp Foundation, a camp program for children who lost parents or siblings in the attacks on September 11th; Sutton Area Community Inc.; the West Point Society of New York; and The Gracie Mansion Conservancy.
In 1997, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani appointed Irene as Commissioner of the New York City Commission for the United Nations, Consular Corps and Protocol. In this role, she worked closely with the State Department, welcomed foreign and domestic dignitaries, and represented the mayor at designated events. She held this position until 2002 during which time, in the wake of the attacks on September 11th, Irene personally escorted world leaders and foreign dignitaries to Ground Zero.
“Irene had such style and elegance, a great sense of humor, and was always giving and caring. She was a bright star at the Drama League, and she will be sorely missed” said Board President, Jano Herbosch. Beloved and respected by all who knew her, Irene has left an indelible mark on this organization and this city. The staff and Board of the Drama League send our deepest condolences to Irene’s family.