Robert Robertson (actor)

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Robert Robertson
Born (1930-07-03)3 July 1930
St. Andrews, Fife, United Kingdom
Died 17 January 2001(2001-01-17) (aged 70)
Perth, Scotland, United Kingdom
Cause of death Heart Attack
Occupation actor, artistic director

Robert Robertson (3 July 1930 – 17 January 2001) was a Scottish actor and director.[1] He was best known for playing Doctor Stephen Andrews in the television show Taggart.[1]

Robertson was born in St. Andrews, Fife.[2] His acting career started with the Manchester Repertory Theatre shortly after World War II.[3] [4] He moved to London appearing in a variety of roles most notably as Dr Grimwig in Oliver!, Lionel Bart's acclaimed Dicken's musical, at the New Theatre.[2] Robertson also wrote and performed his own one-man show, Your Humble Sevant, at the Open Space Theatre, London.[2]

In 1973 Robertson returned to Scotland to perform in Dundee and stayed.[4] He acted and directed with the Dundee Repertory Theatre, serving as the company's artistic director from 1976 to 1992.[5][2] On stage he played Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman and Frank in Educating Rita.[2] He directed The Importance of Being Earnest, The Tempest and The Cherry Orchard.[2] Robertson also oversaw the move to a new purpose-built theatre in the centre of Dundee.[2]

In 1983 he was cast in the three-part pilot of Taggart as Dr Stephen Andrews.[4] The show became an international success and Robertson became famous for his role as the pathologist.[4] He appeared in 51 episodes of the show.[4]

Other notable television appearances include The Ambassadors of Death, a Doctor Who serial in 1970 and the role of Palanguez in the BBC's The Day of the Triffids (1981 TV series).[2] On the big screen Robertson appeared in the 1996 film Breaking the Waves, directed by Lars von Trier.[2]

Robertson died on 17 January 2001, at the age of 70, after suffering a heart attack while reading a Robert Burns poem, Holy Willie's Prayer, on stage in Perth.[4] He was rushed to hospital, where he succumbed shortly afterwards to heart failure (cardiovascular disease).[2] Robertson was the last surviving member of the original Taggart cast from 1983.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Taggart star dies". BBC. 17 January 2001. Retrieved 27 June 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Obituaries, Robert Robertson". The Independent. 7 February 2001. Retrieved 14 June 2009. After decades spent on the stage in repertory theatre and the West End, the Scottish actor Robert Robertson found national fame on television as the pipe-smoking pathologist Dr Stephen Andrews in the gritty police series Taggart. The actor took this supporting role in every story of the long-running crime drama, which depicted horrific crimes on the streets of Glasgow. Taggart began as a pilot entitled Killer (1983), written by Glenn Chandler, and the body count soon mounted when the series was launched in 1985. Mark McManus played the tough, grim-faced Detective Chief Inspector Jim Taggart until his sudden death in 1994. However, the series continued with Taggart's sidekick, Detective Inspector Mike Jardine (James MacPherson), and Detective Constable Jackie Reid (Blythe Duff) taking charge of investigations. Robertson was the only surviving member of the original 1983 cast. Born in St Andrews in 1930, he enjoyed a long stage career, beginning at Manchester Rep, before acting on television. His West End roles included Dr Grimwig in Oliver!, Lionel Bart's acclaimed Dickens musical, at the New Theatre. Robertson also wrote his own one- man show, Your Humble Servant, which he performed at the Open Space Theatre, London. In Scotland, he acted and directed with Dundee Repertory Company (1976-92) and was its artistic director. Robertson's stage roles included Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Jaques in As You Like It, Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Frank in Educating Rita and James Tyrone in Long Day's Journey into Night. He directed plays such as The Importance of Being Earnest, The Tempest, The Cherry Orchard, The Caretaker and A Voyage Round My Father. He also took a leading role in the campaign to move the company to a new, purpose-built theatre in Dundee city centre. On television, Robertson played Palanguez in the BBC's 1981 The Day of the Triffids, starring John Duttine, and a fiscal in a BBC Scotland adaptation of Jack House's book Open Season (in the Murder Not Proven? series, 1984). He also acted the sheriff in the Scottish Television play Extras (1987), about female sauna workers starting a co-operative. On the big screen, Robertson appeared in the Danish experimental director Lars von Trier's film Breaking the Waves (1996) as one of the church elders who denied Bess McNeill (Emily Watson) a proper funeral because of her immoral behaviour. But it was as Dr Andrews in Taggart that Robertson was best known and he was seen on screen for the last time last month in the feature- length story "Falling in Love". He often joked that playing a pathologist was far from typecasting - he hated the sight of blood.  line feed character in |quote= at position 373 (help)
  3. ^ "Robert Robertson" (PDF). The Strathallian 1999-2000. Vol. 19 no. 4. p. 92. Retrieved 28 June 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g "Robert Robertson". The Guardian. 19 January 2001. Retrieved 27 June 2015. 
  5. ^ "Taggart actor dies after collapsing at Burns night". The Herald (Glasgow). 18 January 2001. Retrieved 27 June 2015. 

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