Was brought up by a widowed aunt after the death of his mother. Before acting, he initially trained as a quantity surveyor.
Scottish character actor and playwright, best known as Mr.Mackay, the incessantly dour and tough prison warden of the TV series Porridge (1974).
Volunteered to join the RAF in 1941, but was rejected because of a perforated ear drum. He subsequently enlisted in the Black Watch and served for five years.
There is a flower in Hyde Park named after him.
Trained at RADA and afterwards had a lengthy tenure on stage with the Glasgow Citizen's Theatre, from 1949 to 1958.