‘Gaelic Billy Connolly’ Norman MacLean dies at 80

Norman MacLean, the 'Uist comedian has died aged 80. Picture: Contributed
Norman MacLean, the 'Uist comedian has died aged 80. Picture: Contributed
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COMEDIAN, musician and writer Norman MacLean has died at the age of 80.

Famously described as the Gaelic Billy Connolly, Glasgow-born MacLean enjoyed a career that spanned decades.

Norman grew up on Uist and Lochaber and quickly developed a passion for languages. Later years would see the comic work both English and Gaelic into his routines.

At age 30, MacLean’s natural talent as a writer and performer was recognised at the National Mòd where he won two gold medals for poetry and singing.

But it was during a gig in 1975 that he would discover his true calling. Booked to sing at an Oban hotel, MacLean received a lukewarm reception from his mainly English audience and began telling jokes instead. They went down a storm.

READ MORE: Interview: Norman MacLean, comedian

From then on, MacLean focused on improving his repertoire as a comedian and he soon became renowned all over the Highlands and Islands.

Norman was also able to forge a career on television, going on to enjoy a starring role in groundbreaking Gaelic comedy show Tormod air Telly.

Many believe Norman would have gone on to taste international success had it not been for a series of a alcohol struggles throughout his adult life.

Norman MacLean spent his latter days living in Uist.