Tributes have been paid to Scottish actor Ken Hutchison, “Leslie’s most famous son”, who has died.
The actor, who featured in Straw Dogs with Dustin Hoffman and Wrath of God alongside Robert Mitchum, died at home in Southwood, London, on Monday.
His family say he died peacefully of natural causes, aged 72.
The actor will also be remembered for roles in the hit UK police series The Sweeney.
He featured in the second full-length film spin-off of the series, Sweeney 2.
He will be fondly remembered by younger viewers for his portrayal of Mac Murphy, manager of fictional football club Dunmore United in the ITV children’s drama Murphy’s Mob.
Born and raised in Leslie – and returning to live in the town at various times in his life – Ken got his break in acting by chance as a 16-year-old.
“Ken was a cleaner at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal and next door was the Playhouse,” Ken’s brother Jerry remembers.
“He went in to ask for a job and the director and actor John Neville made him assistant stage manager and he never looked back.
“After a few years he gravitated towards the West End where he met Peter O’Toole and a friendship was formed.”
Soon after, Ken secured a role as Norman Scutt in the controversial 1971 Sam Peckinpah film Straw Dogs.
A year later he appeared alongside Hollywood star Robert Mitchum in Wrath of God, striking up a friendship that lasted until Mitchum’s death in 1997.
TV roles, notably in The Sweeney and later Minder, both starring Dennis Waterman, followed.
As a friend of Waterman and his partner, Rula Lenska, Ken lent the couple his house in Leslie to allow them to escape the media glare and pursuit by tabloid reporters.
Described as a keen footballer, Ken also regularly appeared in goal for Waterman’s celebrity football team which played charity matches across the country.
‘Leslie’s most famous son’
Paying tribute, fellow Leslie resident, actor and playwright Micheal Kelly described Ken as “Leslie’s most famous son”.
He added: “He was a fine actor who featured alongside some of the best both on film as well as television.
“He was also widely respected in Leslie, never losing touch with his roots and his home town.”
Ashes to be returned to Leslie
Ken is survived by his two daughters and two sons.
Details of the actor’s funeral have not yet been finalised however the family say they plan to scatter his ashes back in Leslie in due course.