Kenneth MacDonald (English actor)
20 November 1950|
|Died||6 August 2001
Hawaii, United States
|Cause of death||Heart attack|
|Spouse(s)||Sheila MacDonald (?–2001) (his death)|
He attended St Anthony's preparatory school in Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire, and went on to St Bernardine's Franciscan College in Buckingham, where he took part in school productions, notably The Business of Good Government, in which he played Herod, and Arsenic and Old Lace. Ken left school at eighteen to help support his mother Emily. He took a job at a Kellogg's cornflakes factory. During night shifts he would perform Hamlet and other Shakespeare plays that he had learned at school, earning the nickname "Hamlet". MacDonald met his wife Sheila while he was appearing in panto in Crewe in 1976. She was the costume designer at the time. They had two children: William (b. 1986) and Charlotte (b. 1989).
Kenneth MacDonald died shortly after midnight on 6 August 2001 at the age of 50, after suffering a massive heart attack, while on holiday with his family in Hawaii. Seven days after his death, MacDonald's guest appearance on BBC TV drama Merseybeat was aired, with the episode dedicated to his memory. He was buried ten days later on 16 August 2001 at Teddington Cemetery in Teddington in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames.
Macdonald featured regularly in the BBC sitcom It Ain't Half Hot Mum, running from 3 January 1974 to 3 September 1981. It was set in the jungles of Burma and India during World War II and MacDonald played the character Gunner "Nobby" Clark, a member of a Royal Artillery Concert Party.
When he landed the part of pub landlord Mike in the Only Fools and Horses episode "Who's a Pretty Boy?" in 1983, it was initially assumed to be a one-episode role. However, the character made regular appearances until Christmas 1996, when the show seemingly ended.
MacDonald had also appeared in the Granada Television Rentals television adverts of the late 1970s and made a cameo appearance in one episode of Goodnight Sweetheart, starring his Only Fools and Horses co-star Nicholas Lyndhurst, with MacDonald playing Mr Jones. He also appeared in an episode of The Thin Blue Line as a club owner. In 1996 he played DI McCluskey in Crocodile Shoes II alongside Jimmy Nail. In 1992, MacDonald had a brief appearance on the Channel 4 soap Brookside as the racist owner of the petrol station, George Webb.
His last role was as Stephen Pearce in The Last Detective, which was aired just after his death, later in 2001.
His character Mike was not killed off in Only Fools and Horses, which was revived for three episodes in 2001, in which he is said to be serving five years in prison for embezzling the brewery (to which Mike pleaded guilty to all charges).
- "Kenneth MacDonald". Telegraph. 2001-08-09.
- "Burial Registers Search: London Borough of Richmond on Thames". Retrieved 1 August 2010.
- "Only Fools And Horses to return". BBC News. 2001-08-08.