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Flatley ends bitter feud with Riverdance bosses.

DANCE king Michael Flatley's long-running feud with the Riverdance creators is finally over.

Flatley was jubilant this weekend after making his peace with Moya Doherty and her husband John McColgan.

The 39-year-old multi-millionaire was visibly moved when his two former bosses rang Gay Byrne's Late Late Show to pay a glowing tribute to their ex-star.

Nearly a million viewers saw the dancer burst into a huge grin and say "Fair play to them" when the accolade was read out on live TV.

Chat show host Gay, whose entire Friday night programme was devoted to the world-beating star, said Doherty and McColgan had rung him specifically to pass on their regards.

"They called from Auckland two nights ago and wanted me to wish you well on this show and they wish you a long life of happiness.

"They are with you 100 per cent. They were at pains for me to say this to you."

Afterwards Flatley said: "It was a night I will never forget." A friend added: "He is delighted to be back on good terms with the Riverdance people. Life is too short for arguing."

Flatley was sacked by producer Doherty and director McColgan after helping to develop the 10-minute Riverdance slot on the 1994 Eurovision into a two-hour stage spectacular.

He was earning pounds 50,000-a-show but wanted more of the profits. He was fired in 1995 on the eve of the second run in London's West End.

He said at the time: "I refused to sign the contract because I thought it was so unfair. I thought they would cave in."

Flatley went on to create his own phenomenally successful show, Lord of the Dance, which has made him one of the richest men in showbusiness.

His former Riverdance colleagues also showed they bore no ill-will by sending their own glowing tribute to the Late Late Show. They wrote: "To Michael Flatley, a million thanks. Since that opening night on stage three years ago Irish dancing has taken the world by storm.

"This would not have happened without your ambition, dedication and inspiration. We will always be in your debt.

"Though we have not been together for a long time we still count you as a dear friend and we are forever trying to achieve the standards you set for us.

"Tonight we will crack open a few bottles to celebrate the amazing things that have happened in those three years and hope you will have a small one with us."

Former Riverdance partner Jean Butler performed a dance for Flatley then gave him a hug afterwards.

Other stars on the show included former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, boxer Steve Collins and Irish football manager Mick McCarthy.

Chicago Mayor Richard Daly announced that April 4 would be Michael Flatley Day in the dancer's American home city.
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Author:Gallagher, Jim
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Mar 29, 1998
Words:469
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