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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, so he may not be particularly well known outside of Scotland or some years after his death.

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 1923–4, but did not graduate. Macrae was a Scottish actor and comedian with a glaikit (Scots word for naïve or clueless) mannerism.

He was a member of the early Citizens Theatre company in Glasgow and was best known in his early years for his performance as King James VI in Jamie the Saxt by Robert McLellan.

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 of created by Neil Munro's masterpiece of west coast "high jinks", Para Handy - Master Mariner, he played the eponymous Captain. He had a home in Millport on the island of Cumbrae.[1] In 1953 he starred alongside Jean Anderson in the role of James MacKenzie, an embittered settler in the drama The Kidnappers.

During the 1960s he appeared in episodes of the cult TV series The Avengers and The Prisoner, and as Inspector Mathis in the Bond spoof Casino Royale.

Macrae became a mainstay of television Hogmanay celebrations in the 1950s and 1960s with a rendition of his song (in Scots), The Wee Cock Sparra.


  1. ^ Scottish Daily Record. "Millport.(Town of the Week)". Retrieved 2005-12-10.  

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