Kavanagh (Caomhánach), Séamus (1910–64), teacher, actor, and broadcaster, was born 28 October 1910 in Sarsfield Quay, Dublin, son of Jack Kavanagh, shoemaker, and Julia Kavanagh (née Holohan). Educated at the Carmelite school in Whitefriar St., he was a monitor there for four years before training as a national school teacher at St Patrick's College, Drumcondra. Returning to Whitefriar St. as a teacher in 1930, he spent twelve years there, followed by five years in Ringsend, before leaving the profession during the teachers' strike of 1947 to become an actor. An Irish-language enthusiast, he also taught Irish classes in the Thomas Davis branch of the Gaelic League in Rathmines. Interested in theatre from childhood, he often got free passes to the Queen's Theatre from relatives who owned a shop beside the theatre. A founder member of the Irish-language drama group An Comhair Drámaíochta, he performed in a number of their productions at the Olympia during the 1940s and 1950s, best known for his comic roles based on scripts by Liam Ó Ceallaigh. He appeared in a number of other stage productions in Dublin, including ‘Winterset’, ‘Finian's rainbow’, and the 1954 production of ‘The bishop's bonfire’ by Sean O'Casey (qv), which was considered one of his best roles. In 1957 he played the title role in the Irish film ‘Professor Tim’, and had minor parts in ‘The Courtneys of Curzon Street’ (1947), ‘The big birthday’ (1959), ‘The gentle gunman’ (1952), and ‘The other Eden’ (1959). In a BBC radio production of ‘Ulysses’ he took the role of Leopold Bloom, and in 1955 played Captain Boyle in the Columbia Recording Company's version of ‘Juno and the Paycock’.
Appointed as a continuity announcer with Radio Éireann in 1947, he was later promoted to assistant productions officer. Specialising in variety, he produced such popular programmes as ‘Question time’, of which he was also the first presenter, and ‘Take the floor’. In 1954 he replaced Kathleen Roddy as head of women's and children's programmes. He also broadcast for the BBC's Light and Third programmes. In 1955 he instigated legal proceedings against Esquire magazine, alleging he had been libelled by an article in April 1955, ‘Dublin: not against the grain’, which stated that he and Brendan Behan (qv) were typical Dubliners ‘who would not waste time or money on food when whiskey and pints could limber their pens and tongues the better’ (Ir. Independent, 21 May 1955). Kavanagh pleaded that the article implied that alcohol was his only source of inspiration as a writer and an actor, and that he was a person of drunken and dissolute habits. It is unclear how the action ended. He lived at 58 Herberton Road, Dublin, and died 20 April 1964, leaving an estate valued at £1,911; he never married.