Funeral tributes to actor and comedian Johnny Beattie

By Pauline McLean

The funeral has taken place of actor and comedian Johnny Beattie, who died two weeks ago aged 93.

Well-known entertainers, including Andy Cameron and Eileen McCallum, joined members of the Beattie family for a church service in Glasgow.

Beattie’s career spanned seven decades, with TV and film roles, theatre, stand-up, and pantomime performances.

He was considered a giant of Scotland’s comedy scene, appearing in Scotch and Wry and Rab C Nesbitt.

His most recent role was as Malcolm Hamilton on BBC soap River City, which is filmed in Dumbarton.

Actor Johnny Beattie with co-stars of River City on his last day of filming.
Johnny Beattie’s show business career spanned nearly 70 years and included his role as Malcolm Hamilton in River City

Comedian Andy Cameron, who spoke during the church service, described himself as “a friend of Johnny Beattie and a hero-worshipper of Johnny Beattie”.

He said: “Johnny Beattie was a wonderful comedian, but more than that he was a wonderful human being.

“He was perfect as Malcolm Hamilton in River City, he was in Taggart and things like that and he did games shows. So, he was ubiquitous.

“Johnny Beattie took something to the world and it’s the greatest sound on this planet – laughter. Johnny gave that to us.”

Beattie honed his entertainment skills in the 1950s while holding down a job in Govan’s Fairfield shipyard.

The 1960s saw the broadcast of Johnny Beattie’s Saturday Night Show, which ran until 1970.

His screen roles have included the movie The Big Man with Billy Connolly and Liam Neeson, as well as Taggart, Rab C Nesbitt and Scotch and Wry.

His other TV roles saw him feature on quiz shows, such as Now You See It, and family entertainment like Welcome to The Ceilidh.

He appeared in River City as Shieldinch’s “wise old owl”, Malcolm Hamilton, from when the soap first aired in 2002 until he retired in 2015.

In 2007, Beattie was appointed an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

The father-of-four was given the accolade for his lifelong services to entertainment and charity.

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