Scottish actor Maurice Roëves, who appeared alongside Daniel Day Lewis in Last of the Mohicans and Ted Danson in Cheers, has died at the age of 83.
His uncompromising demeanour and Glasgow background lead to him often appearing as a hardman, but his wife, Vanessa, told the BBC that in truth he was a “softie”.
She revealed that Roëves had been in poor health for some time before his death.
Roëves had the type of career that most actors can only dream about. He moved between the stage and screen and worked extensively in his home country, Scotland, as well as in London and in the US.
Despite not being a sci-fi fan (“I’m not really into that kind of thing,” he said) he was so wide-ranging and highly regarded that he appeared in Doctor Who in the UK and Star Trek: The Next Generation and the Judge Dredd film in the US.
Roëves played a gunrunner Stotz in the four-part Doctor Who serial The Caves of Androzani in 1984, a storyline that culminated in the regeneration of the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison).
In 1993 he appeared as a Roman captain in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the same year he guest-starred in an episode of Cheers and a year after he acted in Baywatch and Last of the Mohicans.
Born in Sunderland, his family moved to Glasgow via Newcastle when Roëves was seven. He started his career as an assistant stage manager/actor at Glasgow Citizens’ Theatre, but with steely determination soon won a role in Macbeth at London’s Royal Court Theatre, starring opposite Sir Alec Guinness and French icon Simone Signoret.
His first screen role was in Disney’s 1966 film The Fighting Prince of Donegal, an Irish role of which he said: “I’m awful in until the last shot when I finally begin to realise what the job’s about.”
Roëves continued that versatility from screen to stage and back, from Scottish accent to Irish and Yorkshire, throughout his career, and explained in an interview with Mohicanpress.com his unique approach to acting.
“I apply my film technique to stage, as well, which a lot of people find interesting, and watch, and wonder how I do it,” he said. “I can bring an audience into a close-up, if I want to. It’s quite exciting, you have to raise it to a certain level, because, obviously, a camera is much more intimate and you’re reaching out a bit further on stage, but I apply the two of them together.”
TV shows he had recurring roles in included Scottish soap River City, Days of Our Lives and Holby City and he played Geoff, the alcoholic father of Kate Morton (Jill Halfpenny), in two episodes of EastEnders.
His last role was in BBC One’s Scottish surrogacy drama The Nest earlier this year.
His agent, Lovett Logan, tweeted their sympathy and said that Roëves was “a real gentleman and a delight to have as a client”.