John Ducan MacRae
20 August 1905
|Died||23 March 1967 (aged 61)|
John Duncan MacRae (20 August 1905 – 23 March 1967) was one of the leading Scottish actors of his generation. He worked mainly as a stage actor, with only a limited number of screen appearances. He was also a comedian, with a 'glaikit' (Scots word for naïve or clueless) mannerism.
Life and career
He was born at 118 Kirkland Street, Maryhill, Glasgow, the fourth of the six children of James MacRae, a sergeant in the Glasgow police force, and his wife, Catherine Graham. He attended Allan Glen's School and matriculated in the engineering faculty at Glasgow University in 1923–24, but did not graduate.
He first made his name as a comic actor of distinction with Curtain Theatre in 1937, in the title role of Robert McLellan's Jamie the Saxt, a performance which became his "signature" role in the early years. He was then a member, along with Stanley Baxter, of the early Citizens' Theatre company in Glasgow, founded during the war in 1943.
He had a role in the 1949 Ealing comedy Whisky Galore!, based on the book by Sir Compton Mackenzie, and, in the first TV series adapted from stories about Para Handy - Master Mariner, Neil Munro's masterpiece of west coast "high jinks", MacRae played the eponymous Captain. He had a home in Millport on the island of Cumbrae. In 1953 he starred alongside Jean Anderson in the role of James MacKenzie, an embittered settler in the drama The Kidnappers. One of the film's most memorable moments comes with the horror on Duncan MacRae’s face at what his grandchild must have thought of him when the little boy implores "Don't eat the babbie".
MacRae died in March 1967, in Glasgow, before the release of several screen appearances: in the films Casino Royale, and 30 Is a Dangerous Age, Cynthia, and in the television series The Wednesday Play and The Prisoner.
- The Brothers (1947) - John MacRae
- Whisky Galore! (1949) - Angus MacCormac
- The Woman in Question (1950) - Supt. Lodge
- You're Only Young Twice (1952) - Prof. Hayman
- The Kidnappers (1953) - Jim MacKenzie, Granddaddy
- Geordie (1955) - Schoolmaster
- Rockets Galore! (1957) - Duncan Ban
- The Bridal Path (1959) - H.Q. Police Sgt.
- Our Man in Havana (1959) - MacDougal
- Kidnapped (1960) - The Highlander
- Tunes of Glory (1960) - Pipe Major Maclean
- Greyfriars Bobby (1961) - Sgt. Davie Maclean
- The Best of Enemies (1961) - Sgt. Trevethan
- Girl in the Headlines (1963) - Barney
- A Jolly Bad Fellow (1964) - Dr. Brass
- Casino Royale (1967) - Inspector Mathis
- 30 Is a Dangerous Age, Cynthia (1968) - Jock McCue (final film role)
- Para Handy - Master Mariner (1959) - Para Handy
- Kidnapped (1963) - Ebeneezer Balfour
- The Avengers (1964) - Episode: "Esprit de Corps" - Brigadier General Sir Ian Stuart-Bollinger
- Dr Finlay's Casebook (1964) - Cogger
- The Prisoner (1967) - Episode: "Dance of the Dead" - Doctor/Napoleon Bonaparte