Simon Fitzmaurice

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Simon Fitzmaurice
Bornc. 1973
DiedOctober 26, 2017(2017-10-26) (aged 43–44)
Notable work
It's Not Yet Dark
My Name Is Emily
Spouse(s)Ruth O'Neill
Parent(s)Damien and Florence Fitzmaurice

Simon Fitzmaurice (c. 1973 – 26 October 2017) – was an Irish filmmaker. A resident of Greystones, County Wicklow, Fitzmaurice published a memoir titled It's Not Yet Dark in 2014 about his experience with motor neurone disease. He directed My Name Is Emily while living with the condition in 2015.


Fitzmaurice's second short film, The Sound of People, premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. Soon after, he was diagnosed with a motor neurone disease, which gradually left him completely paralyzed.[1]

With the disease, he wrote and directed the feature film My Name Is Emily, which was released in 2015.[2][3] Starring Evanna Lynch, Michael Smiley, and George Webster, it tells the story of a teenager who leaves her foster home to free her father from a mental hospital.[4] My Name Is Emily was nominated for eight Irish Film & Television Academy Awards; Fitzmaurice received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 London Screenwriters' Festival for the work.[1]

It's Not Yet Dark, a memoir, chronicles his experience living in a motorized wheelchair and communicating using an eye-tracking computer.[5] The memoir was followed by the documentary It's Not Yet Dark, directed by Frankie Fenton. The documentary was narrated by Irish actor Colin Farrell.[6]

Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) conferred Simon Fitzmaurice with an Honorary Doctorate at a graduation ceremony at St Patrick's Cathedral in November 2016.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Fitzmaurice was married to Ruth Fitzmaurice, with whom he had five children. Irish filmmaker with his wife, children, and parents.[5]

His funeral was held two days later at St Kilian's Roman Catholic Church in Greystones, attended by, among others, Lieut Cmdr Patricia Butler (aide-de-camp to President Michael D. Higgins), Fianna Fáil politician Stephen Donnelly, broadcaster Maia Dunphy, and James Vincent McMorrow, who performed one of Fitzmaurice’s favourite songs "We Don't Eat".[2]


  1. ^ a b "'His dreams were bigger than his illness' - filmmaker Simon Fitzmaurice". Irish Independent. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  2. ^ a b D'Arcy, Ciarán (28 October 2017). "Director Simon Fitzmaurice's funeral told of 'love of life, family'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  3. ^ Gillette, Sam (2 August 2017). "Irish Filmmaker Battling A.LS. Calls Poignant New Memoir 'A Letter to Each of My Children'". People. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  4. ^ Shattuck, Kathryn (22 February 2017). "In the Face of A.L.S., Simon Fitzmaurice Finds His Fire Inside". The New York Times. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  5. ^ a b O'Brien, Tim (27 October 2017). "Greystones-based film-maker Simon Fitzmaurice". The Irish Times. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  6. ^ Kelly, Aoife (8 October 2017). "'Simon made his legacy - I just got to colour it up a little' - director of It's Not Yet Dark documentary about Irish filmmaker Simon Fitzmaurice who has MND". Irish Independent. Retrieved 31 October 2017.
  7. ^ "Farewell to inspirational Simon Fitzmaurice". Dublin Institute of Technology. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 2 May 2018.