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Modern Times: 1950s to The Present Day


Jack Milroy

By Jack Webster

Alhambra Theatre Born James Cruden, Jack Milroy (1915-2001) was perhaps the last of that generation of good old gallus Glasgow comics. Born and brought up in Coplaw Street, Govanhill, he had an early taste for the stage without any thought of becoming a comic. He was more of an aspiring song-and-dance man in the mould of that other great Scot, Jack Buchanan (1891-1957), who made it to the top in Hollywood.

Francie and Josie It was only during the Second World War, in Calcutta, that Milroy joined the Army concert party and discovered that he could make people laugh. Back home, the unknown Jack met up with Mary Lee who had gained fame as a singer in 1936. Still a schoolgirl, Mary was discovered by popular dance-band leader Roy Fox (1901-1982) who was looking for a personality and whisked her off to London where she also sang with the bands of Harry Roy, Ambrose, and Jack Jackson.

Pavilion Theatre Jack was now making a name for himself as a comedian with three seasons at the Tivoli Theatre, Aberdeen, where he was joined by Mary. They were married in the "Granite City" before Jack proceeded to a regular season at the Ayr Gaiety. Then came the famous partnership with Rikki Fulton (1924-2004) where he played Francie to Rikki's Josie, a pair of lovable layabouts who became a Scottish institution.

Jack was also well suited to pantomime and the Glasgow Pavilion, a happy-go-lucky character to whom everything was "Marvellous! Marvellous!". His age was a well-kept secret but he was still performing well into his eighties.

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