Donal Donelley was an Irish actor born in England but raised in Dublin, who began an acting career working in school plays and was a furvent player of Gaelic football.
He moved to New York, where he began acting on Broadway, being nominated for a Tony Award for Philadelphia Here I Come. At this time, he was already known for appearing in small TV and acting roles, rising to larger parts as his career progressed. He appeared in notable British films like Young Cassidy and The Knack...and How to Get It, along with Sergei Bondarchuk's Waterloo. However, his largest film role was as the crooked Archbishop Gilday in The Godfather Part III.