Actor Bannen dies in crash

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The Independent Online
THE SCOTTISH actor Ian Bannen was killed yesterday when the car in which he was travelling with his wife, Marilyn, overturned on the banks of Loch Ness. Bannen, 71, was probably best known for his Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy roles and as Dr Cameron in the Dr Finlay television series.

The accident happened in an area known as Knockies Straight on the B862, which runs along the south side of Loch Ness from Inverness to Fort Augustus. A spokesman for the Northern Constabulary said: "The female driver was removed from the vehicle and flown by air ambulance to Raigmore Hospital, where she is currently detained, her injuries unknown."

Bannen's most recent screen appearance was in Waking Ned, about an Irishman's plan to claim a big lottery win for his village after the winner is killed by the shock of his good fortune. He launched his career at the Dublin Gate Theatre and went to the Royal Shakespeare Company, where he graduated to playing leading roles.

He met his wife, a former Ministry of Agriculture assistant, at Stratford- on-Avon after she parked her van in his reserved space and could not start it. He was once a drinking companion of Peter O'Toole and Richard Burton but had to give up after a spell of hepatitis. In 1996 he received a Bafta lifetime achievement award.

He played a leper in Braveheart and took the role of Sir Donald Frazier in the Channel 4 drama The Politician's Wife.

Michael Russell, the Scottish National Party's culture spokesman, said: "I last spoke to Ian Bannen in March at a festival on Skye and his ... commitment to Scotland and to his art was a constant inspiration. Scottish theatre and film has lost one of its brightest stars."