Scottish actor and comedian Johnny Beattie dies aged 93

Entertainment world pays tribute to a ‘national treasure’

Tributes have poured in for much-loved Scottish actor and comedian Johnny Beattie, who has died at the age of 93.

The Glasgow-born entertainer passed away peacefully after a short spell at St Margaret’s Hospice near Glasgow.

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Beattie’s showbusiness career spanned variety, stand-up comedy, TV, theatre and film roles and quiz shows – as well as his much-loved panto dames.

Over six decades, the former River City star established himself as one of the giants of Scotland's comedy scene alongside Rikki Fulton, Jack Milroy and Stanley Baxter.

Sharing the sad news on social media, Glasgow’s Pavilion Theatre tweeted: “We have just received the very sad news that Johnny Beattie has passed away.

“Johnny was a great friend to the theatre and must have been one of the few last remaining performers from magical days of variety theatre.”

Nicola Sturgeon also paid tribute to Beattie on social media.

Johnny Beattie has died aged 93.

The First Minister tweeted: “So sad to hear that Johnny Beattie has died. He was a hugely talented performer and a truly lovely man.

“The photo here was taken at the Govan Fair a few years ago – he had us in stitches. Today, we’ve lost a national treasure, and my thoughts are with his loved ones.”

Fellow comedian Andy Cameron said Beattie was "an absolute gentleman and a great comic, one of the sharpest guys I ever met.”

The pair appeared in pantomime together, and Cameron recalled every year they would send each other a Christmas card, with Cameron signing it ‘from yer boy’ and Beattie ‘from yer mammy’.

Scottish TV presenter Lorraine Kelly tweeted: “The kindest man. A proper legend.

“Not sure what shenanigans we were up to here but I remember it was fun. #RIPJohnnyBeattie.”

Donaldo MacKinnon, director of BBC Scotland, said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of comedy and acting legend Johnny Beattie.

“He featured in many much loved programmes on the BBC and most recently delighted audiences for 13 years as the kind hearted and loveable family man Malcolm Hamilton in River City.

“Our thoughts are now with Johnny’s own family at this difficult time.

"Johnny Beattie dedicated his life to the entertainment of others and we thank him for the joy and laughter he brought to audiences across his long and varied career.”

Edinburgh Evening News entertainment editor Liam Rudden tweeted: “Sad to hear that the legendary #JohnnyBeattie has left us at the age of 93.

“An absolute gent of the first order with a razor sharp wit that was always kind. My thoughts and condolences go to his family."

A former Govan shipyard worker, Beattie first got into showbiz after joining an amateur dramatic show in 1951.

The 1960s saw the broadcast of Johnny Beattie’s Saturday Night Show, which ran until 1970, and his screen roles included the movie The Big Man with Billy Connolly and Liam Neeson, Taggart, Rab C Nesbitt and Scotch & Wry.

Beattie played the role of family man Malcolm Hamilton in River City since the show’s launch in 2002, featuring in many of its biggest moments. He left the Scottish soap in 2015 after a bout of ill health.

In 2007, the veteran entertainer was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list.

He was married for 33 years to wife Kitty, who died from cancer in 1993 following their separation in 1985.

Beattie had four children; Maureen, who starred in Casualty, Louise, Paul and Mark.

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