You know what it’s like. You think you know all the famous people connected with Aberdeen, Denis Law et al, then you go and mention Lord Byron in a blog and realise you don’t. Consequently, after bringing Byron’s Don Juan into our last blog, I was inspired to go and seek out some other famous men and women connected to this great and ancient city.
It must be admitted that Byron wasn’t actually born in the city, but came here as a baby with his mother in 1789/90 and was educated at Aberdeen Grammar School until he was about 10, before heading elsewhere for fame and fortune. However, we still lay claim to a bit of him (doubtless a sound Scottish education did him some good), and there are many others who actually were born here and have gone on to greatness.
For example, even if you’ve never played it, you’ll have heard of Grand Theft Auto, the computer game. Leslie Benzies, born in Aberdeen in 1971, is the self-taught programmer who joined DMA, now Rockstar in 1995 and became the Team Lead on a number of video games and was the producer of Grand Theft Auto III through all it subsequent incarnations to Grand Theft Auto V.
For those of an older generation, another famous Aberdonian was Andrew Cruickshank, born on Christmas Day 1907. Cruickshank was an actor who became best known for his portrayal of Dr. Cameron in the celebrated and long-running television series, Dr. Findlay’s Casebook. His older doctor dispensed medicine and genial brusqueness in equal proportions and provided experienced advice to his younger colleague, all the while under the watchful ministrations of their fierce housekeeper, Janet.
For anyone in the commercial world, Forbes Magazine is synonymous with the highest quality of business journalism. Yet I didn’t know that its founder, Bertie Charles Forbes, was from New Deer in Aberdeenshire. Forbes began his journalistic career in Dundee but emigrated to the States in 1904, where after a number of jobs he became a business journalist and syndicated columnist in 1911 with the famous Hearst newspaper group. He left two years later and founded Forbes Magazine in 1917 and was its editor in chief until 1954. His son, grandson and great-grandson have continued to run the business up to the present day.
Finally (for now – but I’ll return to this subject again as I’ve discovered there are just so many famous Aberdonians!), our last subject in this blog is a man who was one of the three comedians who were phenomenally popular as ‘The Goodies’ during the 1970s. Essential viewing for children and adults, The Goodies was co-written by and starred (alongside Bill Oddie and Tim Brooke-Taylor) one Graeme Garden, born in Aberdeen in 1943. Although a qualified doctor, Garden never practised but has instead made a very successful career as a write and comedian. Famous as The Goodies are for anyone over 40, his most notable achievement in most people’s opinion is as a panellist on the very long-standing BBC 4 comedy programme “I’m Sorry I haven’t a Clue”. Described as “the antidote to panel games”, “Clue” is one of the most quintessentially British programmes ever produced and the origin of perhaps the most baffling “game” every devised for any panel show, the beguiling “Mornington Crescent”.
Julie Skinner, Resourcing & Benefit Specialist