Renowned Hollywood movie actor Johnny Depp has described Gerry Conlon as his long lost brother.
In a touching tribute to the man from Belfast, the Tinseltown star opens up on how the two of them became bosom friends after Conlon was released from prison.
The new details about this unending relationship are contained in a new book about the life of Mr. Conlon, who passed on aged 60 in June 2014.
The details are contained in the foreword of the book penned by Johnny Depp.
The Hollywood movie maestro reveals that he still carries a wallet which Mr. Conlon gave him emblazoned with the word “Saoirse”- which translates loosely to “freedom” in Irish.
In the book which is titled “In the Name of the Son: The Gerry Conlon Story, hitherto unknown details of Conlon’s wrongful arrest and conviction for Guildford Pub bombing of 1974 are revealed, as are the struggles he encountered upon being freed from the prison.
The book is authored by Richard O’Rawe, a former Republican convict who grew up in west Belfast with Mr. Conlon. He remained friends with the deceased throughout their adult lives.
Mr. Depp, who has featured in several Hollywood Blockbusters such as the Black Mass and Pirates of the Caribbean, has written a lengthy eight-page foreword for the book that went on sale on October 5, 2017.
It is not every day that a movie star of Mr. Depp’s standing throws their weight behind a project like this.
In the expose’, Depp reveals that he first saw Mr. Conlon in 1989 as he swaggered out of a London prison with his fists raised after completing 15 years in the penitentiary.
The pair was to meet the following year in the corridors of a Los Angeles talent agency. From there on, their friendship grew into a rock-solid bond.
In the whole foreword, Mr. Depp has only kind words for his old friend.
“He was an incredible gentleman who had great mastery in the understanding of the law of streets in the Irish capital of Belfast,” Depp writes.
He describes Mr. Conlon as a loyal, chivalrous and extremely sensitive to injustices, irrespective of how big or small.
He also opens up on the time he visited Mr. Colon in Belfast and spent time with his family.
After being released from prison, Mr. Conlon vigorously campaigned for others who faced similar injustices as him. Many people regarded him as an articulate and eloquent spokesman.
About the Guildford bombings
The Guildford bombings took place in 1974 where one civilian and four British soldiers lost their lives.
In the wake of the attack, three men, Conlon, Paddy Armstrong and Paul Hill, together with Carol Richardson, were wrongfully arrested and convicted as being the masterminds of the attacks.
Several other people closely related to Mr. Conlon, including his own father ‘Giuseppe’ who died in prison in 1980 while serving his prison term, were later wrongly arrested and convicted.
The people arrested after the Guildford bombings later formed a group called the ‘Maguire Seven.’
The hit movie of 1993 called In the Name of the Father was derived from the prison experience of the father and the son. Gerry Conlon played the part of Daniel Day-Lewis in that movie.