Ian Bannen

Active - 1956 - 2000  |   Born - Jun 29, 1928 in Airdrie, Lanarkshire, Scotland, United Kingdom  |   Died - Nov 3, 1999   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Thriller

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Biography by Hal Erickson

A respected character actor and occasional leading man of the stage, screen, and television, Scottish-born Ian Bannen acted in over 80 productions during his long career. Shortly after enrolling at Ratcliffe College, Bannen, who was born in Airdrie, Scotland, on June 29, 1918, made his first stage appearance at Dublin's Gate Theatre. A year after making his 1955 London theatrical debut, he entered films with A Private's Progress and Battle Hell. A prolific stage actor (with a special fondness for the works of Eugene O'Neill), Bannen nonetheless found time for quite a few impressive film characterizations. One of these, the cynical Crow in Flight of the Phoenix (1965), earned him an Academy Award nomination. His later screen assignments ranged from a cameo as a policeman in Richard Attenborough's Gandhi (1982) to the irascible Grandfather George in John Boorman's Hope and Glory (1987) to a turn as Robert the Bruce's leprous father in Braveheart (1995). It was with the 1998 comedy Waking Ned Devine that Bannen earned some of his best notices, playing a loveably crafty Irishman. Sadly, Bannen's life was cut short the following year, as he died in an auto accident on November 3, 1999, near Loch Ness, Scotland. He was survived by his wife of 23 years, as well as a rich theatrical legacy that stretched over almost half a century.

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