Michael Morris, 3rd Baron Killanin

Michael Morris, 3rd Baron Killanin
Michael Morris, 3rd Baron Killanin
Michael Morris commemorative window in Spiddal
6th President of the International Olympic Committee
In office
1972 – 16 July 1980
Preceded by Avery Brundage
Succeeded by Juan Antonio Samaranch
Personal details
Born 30 July 1914(1914-07-30)
London, United Kingdom
Died 25 April 1999(1999-04-25) (aged 84)
Dublin, Ireland
Nationality Irish
Spouse(s) Sheila Dunlop
Lady Killanin
Children Redmond
Residence Dublin, Ireland
Alma mater Magdalene College, Cambridge
Occupation Journalist, film producer, author, business executive, honorary consul

Michael Morris, 3rd Baron Killanin, MBE, TD (30 July 1914 – 25 April 1999) was an Irish journalist, author,[1][2][3] sports official, the sixth president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). He succeeded his uncle as Baron Killanin in the Peerage of the United Kingdom in 1927, which allowed him to sit in the House of Lords as Lord Killanin upon turning 21.


Early life

Morris was born in London, son of Lieut-Col. the Hon. George Morris and Dora Wesley Hall. His father was killed in action near Villers-Cotterêts, France, on 1 September 1914 while commanding the Irish Guards. He was a member of one of the fourteen families making up the Tribes of Galway. He was educated at Eton College, the Sorbonne in Paris and then Magdalene College, Cambridge where he was President of the renowned Footlights dramatic club. In the mid 1930s, he began his career as a journalist, working for the Daily Express, the Daily Sketch and subsequently the Daily Mail. In 1937-38, he was war correspondent during the Second Sino-Japanese War.


Lord Killanin married (Mary) Sheila Cathcart Dunlop (1918–2007) of Oughterard, County Galway in 1945. She was the granddaughter of Henry Wallace Doveton Dunlop, who built Lansdowne Road sports stadium in Dublin in 1872. Her father was Canon Douglas Dunlop, rector of Oughterard. Lord and Lady Killanin had three sons, George Redmond ("Red"), Michael ("Mouse"), and John, and a daughter, Deborah.[4][5]

Military career

In November 1938, Morris was commissioned into the Queen's Westminsters a territorial unit of the British Army, where he was responsible for recruiting fellow journalists and friends who were musicians and actors. He reached the rank of Major and took part in the planning of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy in 1944, acting as Brigade Major for the 30th Armoured Brigade, part of the 79th Armoured Division, receiving by the course of operations the Order of the British Empire. After being demobilized, he went to Ireland. He resigned his TA commission in 1951.

President of the IOC

In 1950, Morris became the head of the Olympic Council of Ireland, and became his country's representative in the IOC in 1952. He climbed up to senior vice-president in 1968, and succeeded Avery Brundage to the presidency of the IOC, being elected at the 73rd IOC Session in Munich, held prior to the 1972 Summer Olympics - between 21 and 24 August 1972.[6]

During his presidency, the Olympic movement experienced a difficult period, dealing with the financial flop of the 1976 Montréal Olympics and the boycotts of the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Seen from IOC's point of interest, worse decisions were taken. The cities of Lake Placid and Los Angeles were 'chosen' for 1980 Winter and 1984 Summer Games without any competing cities, resulting in a demanding position of the IOC - instead of a claiming one.[clarification needed][citation needed] He resigned just before the Moscow Olympics in 1980, and his position was taken over by Juan Antonio Samaranch.

Other positions

Morris served as Honorary Consul-General of Monaco in Ireland from 1961 to 1984.


Morris was also a director of many companies and dabbled in the film industry, collaborating with his lifelong friend, John Ford, on The Quiet Man. He also produced films, including The Playboy of the Western World and The Rising of the Moon.


Morris died at his home in Dublin aged 84 and, following a bilingual funeral Mass at St Enda's Church in Spiddal, County Galway, he was buried in the family vault in the New Cemetery, Galway.

Selected works

  • Four days, an account of the 1938 Munich crisis, edited by Lord Killanin. London, W. Heinemann, Ltd. (1938).
  • Sir Godfrey Kneller & His Times, by Lord Killanin. B. T. Batsford Ltd., (England) (1948).
  • Olympic Games, by Lord Killanin. MacMillan Publishing Company (1 Feb 1976), ISBN 0029757304.
  • Shell Guide to Ireland, by Lord Killanin, M.V. Duignan, Peter Harbison (Editor). Macmillan; 3Rev Ed edition (May 1989). ISBN 0333469577.
  • The Fitzroy: The Autobiography of a London Tavern, by Lord Killanin, Sally Fiber, and Clive Powell-Williams. Temple House; 1st edition (21 Aug 1995). ISBN 1857760239.
  • My Olympic Years, by Lord Killanin. Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd; First Edition edition (9 May 1983). ISBN 0436233401.
  • My Ireland: A Personal Impression, by Lord Killanin. Gallery Books (Nov 1987). ISBN 0831762861.


  • Lord Killanin. Guardian obituary. Retrieved: 2010-10-23.
  • Lord Killanin, Olympic Leader, Dies at 84 by Richard Goldstein (two pages). New York Times obituary, April 26, 1999. Retrieved: 2010-10-23.
  • An Irishman and his family: Lord Morris and Killanin, by Maud Wynne. Publisher: J. Murray (1937).
  • Lord Killanin (1914-1999), Maire Boran, Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, Volume 53, 2001, 218-19.


  1. ^ Killanin, Lord (1983). My Olympic Years, autobiography. HarperCollins. ISBN 0-688-02209-X. 
  2. ^ Killanin, Lord (1988). Olympic Games 1988. Penguin Group. ISBN 0-7181-2391-3. 
  3. ^ Killanin, Lord; Duignan, Michael V (1989). Shell Guide to Ireland. Gill & Macmillan. ISBN 0-7171-1595-X. 
  4. ^ Double blow to Gold Cup trainer. Sunday Independent, 2007-03-04. Retrieved: 2010-10-23.
  5. ^ Haughey in tribute to Lord Killanin. Irish Independent, 1999-04-30. Retrieved: 2010-10-23.
  6. ^ "Olympic Review". LA84 Foundation N59: 355. October 1972. http://www.aafla.org/OlympicInformationCenter/OlympicReview/1972/ore59/ore59c.pdf. 
Civic offices
Preceded by
United States Avery Brundage
President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC)
Succeeded by
Spain Juan Antonio Samaranch
Peerage of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Martin Morris
Baron Killanin
Succeeded by
Red Morris

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