Hugh Leonard (1926 – 2009) was an Irish dramatist, television writer and essayist. He was born John Joseph Byrne in Dublin, but was adopted as a baby and his name changed to John Keyes Byrne. Leonard began his working life in the civil service during which time he wrote plays and acted in community theatre performances. During the 1960s and 1970s, he became the first major Irish writer to establish himself in television. In a career that spanned 50 years, Leonard wrote nearly 30 full-length plays, 10 one-act plays, three volumes of essays, two autobiographies, three novels, numerous screenplays and teleplays, and a regular newspaper column.