Ian Bannen

1928 - 1999

Actor. Born in Airdrie, the son of a lawyer, Bannen was raised in Coatbridge and educated at St Aloysius' College in Glasgow before moving to England. He became a successful stage actor in London and was an original member of the Royal Shakespeare Company. He was a supporting player and occasional lead of more than eighty British and American films. His film debut came in Carlton Browne of the F.O. (1958).

His character role as 'Crow' in Flight of the Phoenix (1965) was memorable and received an Academy Award nomination. Other roles include 'Ramble' in the comedy Lock up your Daughters! (1969), the eccentric 'Grandfather George' in Hope and Glory (1987) and he also starred in Gandhi (1982) and Braveheart (1995). Bannen appeared in two award-winning television dramas; as Jim Prideaux in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1979) and Dr. Alexander Cameron in Dr Finlay (1993). He received a BAFTA Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996.

Bannen was killed in a road accident by Loch Ness. He is remembered by Bannen Court in Clarkston in Airdrie (opened by his widow in 2012), and the Ian Bannen Theatre at Coatbridge College, which also presents the Ian Bannen Memorial Award annually.

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