Thom McGinty AKA The Diceman, was a Scottish actor, model and street artist specialising in mime, who spent most of his career in Ireland where he became a landmark living statue and honorary Dubliner.
Short of cash on his arrival to Dublin, Thom took himself up to the then Dandelion Market off St. Stephen’s Green. He dressed himself up, painted his face and sat still with a bowl for people to drop coins into. When they did so he would reward them with a wink. As he became more confident he performed the same character standing up and quickly became known as ‘The Dandelion Clown’.
In the years that followed he became involved in the Grapevine Theatre Company and went on to form The Dandelion Theatre Company in Spiddal, Co. Galway. Thom began to travel back up to Dublin at the weekends to promote a games shop called ‘The Diceman’ off Grafton Street. At first he would do as he had done years before and stand totally still, using just a sign to promote the shop. However, as he became more popular, huge crowds would gather to watch him and this would sometimes block up the street. After being moved on by Gardai a few times he developed a very slow walk as part of his act. This enabled him to move up and down the street, albeit at a very slow pace. As he moved so slowly it allowed him to maintain an element of stillness crucial to his performance. It also meant that he was constantly walking through one crowd and on to the next which helped to avoid blocking the street.
After a time the name ‘The Diceman’ stuck. Thom had left the Dandelion Theatre Company and was now performing full time mainly on Grafton Street. As he became more popular offers of work began to flood in. From the mid eighties up to the mid nineties he became a landmark in Grafton Street and also performed all over Ireland. Apart from his commercial work Thom would also perform on street to lend his support to various causes. He appeared twice on the Late Late show, once as he was coming to public attention in the mid 1980's and once more in late 1994 to announce that he was suffering from HIV.
On Halloween of that year a tribute event was held in his honour at the Olympia Theatre, Dublin attended by his family, friends and a large number of his admirers. He died in his sleep on 20th February, 1995. By the time of his death there was few people in the country who hadn't heard of him. Most people who had stood at one time or another and watched one of his street performances felt as if they knew him. His friend Charlie O'Neill designed a plaque to commemorate his life. It can be seen at the Diceman's Corner, Meeting House Square in Temple Bar, Dublin.