North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

Crocodile Rock and Little Cumbrae

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

The Garrison, Isle of Cumbrae

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

North Ayrshire Heritage Trails

Millport, Cathedral of the Isles

Cumbrae - Explore Cumbrae

Duncan Macrae, 1905-1967; leading Scottish actor

Duncan Macrae (20 August 1905 - 23 March 1967) was one of Scotland's best known actors. He worked on stage, on television, radio and in cinema. To relax he had a second home, away from Glasgow, in Millport at Dundonald Villa on Kames Bay.

He was born in Glasgow in Maryhill and his father, James, was sergeant in the police force. He attended Glasgow University to study engineering but never graduated preferring acting. He joined Glasgow's Citizen Theatre for his early acting years before featuring in acclaimed films such as Whisky Galore! and Tunes of Glory. In television he was Para Handy in the first adaptation of Neil Munro's tales. Later in the 1960s he was cast in The Prisoner and The Avengers both cult television shows.

He liked to relax in Millport and was known to his many friends as John, his true first name. When on the ferry he would often chat to the captain and crew. When on the island he loved to talk to the local children and visiting children. He also always had a special word for the island's elderly. He was also known for his support of his wife Peggy who was a Town Councillor and special needs schoolteacher. Indeed it was Peggy who helped establish the annual Cumbrae Queen celebrations.

Duncan Macrae died at Killearn Hospital on 23rd March 1967. His funeral service at Linn Crematorium was attended by many of his Millport friends including the Provost, George Barr.

Useful websites

Portrait of Duncan in character costume. This photograph was taken by local photographer Walter Kerr. Duncan used many of Walter's portraits in his publicity posters at theatres he was acting.
Drinking tea at a sponsored event organised by his wife Peggy.
Duncan and a film crew at Ballikellet, Cumbrae.
Acting with local children who were used as extras.
Peggy Macrae, Duncan's wife and Millport Burgh Councillor.
Christine Caldwell, grand-daughter of Duncan Macrae, unveiling a plaque to him at Dundonald Villa, his second home in Millport in 1996.

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