Scottish actor Maurice Roeves dies at 83


Maurice Roeves played villain Robert in Scottish television drama River City alongside Johnny Beattie and Jayd Johnson

Scottish actor Maurice Roeves – known for playing bad guys and tough men – died at the age of 83.

In a career spanning six decades, he has appeared in hundreds of television shows and movies, including The Sweeney, Star Trek, The Eagle Has Landed and Tutti Frutti.

Born in Sunderland, the actor grew up in Glasgow and launched his career at the city’s Citizen’s Theater.

He has also played roles in Irvine Welsh’s Eastenders, River City, Dr Who and The Acid House.

Roeves’ most recent role was a small role in the BBC 2020 television drama The Nest.

His wife Vanessa Roeves told the BBC that he had been in poor health for some time.

A real life softie

Despite playing difficult characters on the screen, Vanessa said that Roeves was a “softie” in real life and that no part was too small for her husband.

She said he wanted to be involved in his latest project, despite his small appearance.

And when Tutti Frutti was played at the launch of BBC Scotland, she said that Roeves was delighted to have finished the loop.

Vanessa also said that the family often jokes, “Is your character coming to the end of this one?” Because his characters would always be killed.

However, Roeves was successful at a time when many working class actors managed to break into the mainstream, such as Albert Finney and Richard Harris.


One of the characters of the tough man he played was the sinister McGurn (left) in the comic series ‘Rab C Nesbitt’

From sweeping floors to roles in cinema

The Roeves’ family moved to Glasgow when he was seven because his father had a cotton mill in Partick.

He went to school in the city and when he left teaching full time, he took up an office job to earn money.

But he returned to his studies and got a place at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama which is now the Royal Conservatory of Scotland. There, he won a gold medal for his acting.


Maurice Roeves in the role of Stotz in the adventure Dr Who The caves of Androzani

After graduating, he got a job at Citizen’s Theater as assistant stage manager, but found himself playing small roles between the scenes.

His first major role was that of Lorenzo in Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice when apparently screaming fans gathered at the door of the stage after the show to get a glimpse of Mauritius.

Following this performance, Disney sent a scout to Glasgow to see Roeves playing in the Venice merchant.

It was then screen tested and offered its first role in cinema, marking his debut in a career that spanned more than 60 years of television and film.

Roeves’ first film was made in 1966 The Donegal Fighter Prince, where he played the Irishman.

Despite the launch of his film career, he continued in theater roles.

His next major role was in Macbeth at the Royal Court in London where he played Macduff alongside Sir Alec Guinness’ Macbeth.

An off-screen friendship

A memorable role on the Holywood screen for Roeves was in Last of the Mohicans acting alongside Daniel-Day Lewis and Wes Studi.

Studi played Magua, a Native American villain who tore the heart of Col Edmund Munro, played by Roeves.

Their friendship with Wes Studi lasted more than 25 years and they often met near Wes’ home in Santa Fe. Studi even said on social media that they shared haggis together.


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