Ian Bannen Biography

Ian Bannen photo

Born: June 29, 1928


Date of Birth: June 29, 1928

A respected character actor and occasional leading man of the stage, screen, and television, Ian Bannen appeared in over 80 productions during his long career.

Born in Airdrie, Scotland, Bannen's father was a lawyer in a small town in Lanarkshire. Bannen served in the army and attended Ratcliffe College, Leicestershire.

His first acting role came in a 1947 Dublin production of Armlet of Jade. He became a successful figure on the London stage, making a name for himself in the plays of both Shakespeare and Eugene O'Neill. He was an original member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and appeared on Broadway as well.

A year after making his 1955 London theatrical debut, Bannen entered films with The Long Arm and A Private's Progress (both 1956). A prolific stage actor, Bannen nonetheless found time for quite a few impressive film characterizations.

His performance as Crow in The Flight of the Phoenix (1965) won him an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor.

Thirty years later, Bannen was given the Lifetime Achievement Award of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts.

His later screen assignments ranged from a cameo as a policeman in Richard Attenborough's Gandhi (1982) to the irascible Grandfather George in John Boorman's Hope and Glory (1987) to a turn as Robert the Bruce's leprous father in Braveheart (1995). It was with the 1998 comedy Waking Ned Devine that Bannen earned some of his best notices playing a loveably crafty Irishman.

Bannen, who in his younger days was known for his hard drinking lifestyle, eventually gave up drinking after suffering from hepatitis. Sadly, Bannen's life was cut short as he died in an auto accident on November 3, 1999, near Loch Ness, Scotland.

He was survived by his wife, Marilyn Salisbury, of 23 years. He will be missed.


Strictly Sinatra (2001)
To Walk with Lions (1999)
Best (1999)
The Testimony of Taliesin Jones (1999)
Waking Ned Devine (1998)
Something to Believe In (1998)
Braveheart (1995)
A Pin for the Butterfly (1994)
Fatale (1992)
La Partita (1991)
Un Piede in paradiso (1991)
The Big Man (1990)
Circles in a Forest (1990)
Ghost Dad (1990)
George's Island (1989)
Streghe (1989)
The Courier (1988)
Hope and Glory (1987)
Lamb (1986)
Defence of the Realm (1985)
Gorky Park (1983)
The Prodigal (1983)
Gandhi (1982)
Eye of the Needle (1981)
Night Crossing (1981)
The Watcher in the Woods (1980)
Un Ombra nell'ombra (1979)
Quel maledetto treno blindato (1977)
Sweeney! (1977)
Bite the Bullet (1975)
Viaggio, Il (1974)
The Driver's Seat (1974)
The Mackintosh Man (1973)
The Offence (1973)
From Beyond the Grave (1973)
Doomwatch (1972)
La Spina dorsale del diavolo (1971)
Fright (1971)
Too Late the Hero (1970)
Lock Up Your Daughters! (1969)
The Sailor from Gibraltar (1967)
Penelope (1966)
The Flight of the Phoenix (1965)
The Hill (1965)
Mister Moses (1965)
Rotten to the Core (1965)
Psyche '59 (1964)
Station Six-Sahara (1963)
An einem Freitag um halb zwölf (1961)
Macbeth (1961/I)
A French Mistress (1960)
Suspect (1960)
Carlton-Browne of the F.O. (1959)
A Tale of Two Cities (1958/I)
Behind the Mask (1958)
She Didn't Say No! (1958)
Yangtse Incident (1957)
The Birthday Present (1957)
Miracle in Soho (1957)
Private's Progress (1956)
The Long Arm (1956)

Change Location