Dan and I were friendly competitors in the early days of video acquisitions. He was at Vestron, the first home video company whose deal with Time Life brought the industry into the mainstream. When he bought "Dirty Dancing", the video technology came into its own. I was at Lorimar Home Video and my earliest acquisition, "My Beautiful Laundrette" premiered at the Seattle Film Festival, the festival he had founded with Darryl McDonald (but was not running then as he had moved on to Vestron). We have stayed friends over these many years and I will always be beholden to Dan Ireland. A good man and all of his many friends already miss him!
"In total shock. But almost no time to process. I am at Louisiana FF. Dan was supposed to fly down with me but was feeling sick on Monday and thinking of cancelling. I called Tuesday and never heard back, so flew down solo, and was surprised to learn at the Opening Night on Thursday that no one at the fest had heard from him. Got the news in the middle of the night on Thursday…It would appear he had a stroke late Monday or early Tuesday. Will try to write some kind of tribute but am being pulled in 100 directions. Sorry I couldn’t tell him that attendance has doubled this year, screenings are selling out, there is real energy. He is greatly missed in Louisiana today."
Ireland worked as an acquisitions executive, co-founded the renowned Seattle Film Festival, and directed films such as "The Whole Wide World," The Velocity of Gray," and "Jolene."
Here are some of the reactions from people who knew and worked with Dan Ireland over the years:
From Tim Ireland:
To all Dan’s friends,
With great shock and sadness, Mike Ireland, Judy, and I must tell you that we have lost our "Hollywood" star. Dan passed away suddenly from natural causes on April 14. We found out just a few short hours ago, so details are sparse at the moment. We know the great multitude of Dan’s friends will want to know this sorrowful news as soon as possible; and to all those in Los Angeles especially, we will appreciate your help and input in the coming days.
Ira Deutchman: If you haven’t heard, Dan Ireland has died. He was one of us.
Darryl Macdonald: Dan and I were emotional and intellectual SiameseTwins for most of our lives. We used to sneak out of classes in grade 7 to watch movies together, then came back together as best friends when he moved back to Vancouver in the early 70s and we ran into each other in a bar. We moved to Seattle together to refurbish and open the Moore Egyptian in 1975 and started SIFF in 1976. The truth is that Dan’s boundless ambition, dedication to talent, refusal to take ‘no’ for an answer and ability to bring anyone ‘outside the fold’ on-side is what made our success possible. Though our professional paths diverged somewhat a decade later when he moved to L.A. to pursue his real passion – making great movies – we were never less than cosmic lovers, and remained as close as close can be for the next 30 years. His legacy – best exemplified by his body of work and the enduring love of his huge circle of friends, is a testament to the unique sensibility and incredibly positive energy Dan brought to everything in his life. But that’s not what I will miss forever – as rare a trait as that constant positive energy is. It’s that positivity, and Dan’s unique, twisted sense of humor I will forever miss. Nobody on earth will ever take his place where either of those elements are concerned. I’ll miss him madly, and pray he has access to making the movies he cares about in Heaven.
Jeff Dowd: Kindly Please Share Widely. RIP Dan Ireland. Dan was and will eternally be one of the leads in so many people’s personal “It’s a Wonderful Life”–he touched and helped so many people in so many ways. I just wrote a lot about Dan recently in one of Our Classic Tales Episodes. If you email me at jeffdowd6[AT] gmail.com with DAN in the subject line I will send you a rough draft with some Dan Classic Tales some time soon. If you want to talk about Dan please feel free to call me. Lotsa of love to everyone–and never forget that one of Dan’s great attributes was his sense of humor and his laugh which you are all hearing now. Have a laugh for Daaaaaan!
Diane Slattery: Heartbroken… longtime friend from Vestron days. Please keep us posted on what we can do and greatest sympathies to his sister and all close to him.
Karen Roberts: Beautiful soul, handsome man, good friend to many – this is such a terrible loss for all who had the good fortune to know him – way too soon, very sad news. Please let me know how I can help – please let me know of any arrangements to remember him with others. Tears…
Temi Lopez: Dan is one of my closest friends ever… I’m devastated…will miss his warmth, his smile, his lovely voice… I love you Dan and always will.