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James Robertson Justice

1905 - 1975

James Robertson Justice
©2015 Gazetteer for Scotland

James Robertson Justice

Portly actor. Robertson Justice was born in Lee (London) and raised in Kent, despite his claims to have originated in Wigtown. His parents were Scottish and he was proud of this heritage. Robertson Justice initially became a journalist, working in Canada. A committed socialist, he joined the International Brigade to fight in the Spanish Civil War and then served in the Royal Navy during World War II.

His most famous roles were perhaps in the "Doctor" series of British comedy films in which he portrayed the patriarchal surgeon Sir Lancelot Spratt. Robertson Justice starred in 80 films between 1944 and 1970, including seven Doctor films. Other roles included Dr Maclaren in Compton Mackenzie's Whisky Galore! (1949) filmed in Barra, the Duke of Argyll in the dramatisation of Sir Walter Scott's book as Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue (1953), Captain Boomer in Moby Dick (1956) with Gregory Peck, who also starred with Robertson Justice and David Niven in The Guns of Navarone (1961) and Lord Scrumptious in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968),

James Robertson Justice stood unsuccessfully for the Labour Party in the 1950 General Election, but succeeded in becoming Rector of the University of Edinburgh in 1957. He died in Winchester (England).

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