New Section - 'Memories Of Mark' Scroll down
Mark McManus was born the son of a miner in the town of Hamilton, just outside Glasgow. Living in an area reliant on the pits for income money was scarce. As a boy he took up boxing and picking vegetables to boost his pocket money. However when he left school with few qualifications the reality of unemployment really began to tell. Faced with only two options the dole or the pit, Mark followed in his father's footsteps and chose the pit. But by the age of 22 he wanted more from life. As a result he set off for Australia eventually settling in Sydney. Mark got a job in Sydney docks as a labourer working in temperatures of up to 110 degrees. He continued to earn extra money boxing. The docker's union had it's own theatre group and Mark joined up, eventually earning his Equity card, he accepted the offer to join a small theatre group which toured the Australian outback. Television parts came next, including a role beside Skippy the Bush Kangaroo!!!
Mark then landed the role as the song-and-dance man in the musical 'Half a Sixpence' which led him to America. However it was back in Australia that his big break came, when he was offered a part alongside Mick Jagger in the 1970 film 'Ned Kelly'. Due to his success in this role Mark was advised to return to Britain to forward his acting career. He settled in London with his first wife and 2 children.
Mark finally started to make his name in 1970's series such as 'The Brothers', 'Colditz', 'The Foundation', 'Strangers' and the title role in 'Sam', a drama based on the story of a miner un happy with his lot. The drama could've been written for Mark himself.
And so to Taggart. Mark had the following to say about the character Jim Taggart;
" He is a man of the people and so am I. He's rude and horrible but he has a cocky charm. Like him, I'm really a street guy at heart. It's where I'm happiest. I've worked in some dreadful places in my life so I know I'm really lucky to have this job. I never pass a factory without thinking about those days and how lucky I've been"
Mark was adamant that he didn't want Taggart to compromise on accents or dialect. He refused to say the word "police" it had to be "polis".
Although Mark considered himself lucky when it came to his career, off screen he had to endure more than his fair share of heartache. Within the space of two years he lost his mother, both sisters and then in October 1993, his second wife after a brave fight against cancer.
Fortunately Mark by his own admission had 'always been a fighter' and happily he had no shortage of friends. Not least James Macpherson who played Jardine and it was one of the proudest moments of Mark's life when he was asked by James to be godfather to his daughter Katie.
Any time off Mark had was taken up breeding butterflies, a passion he had had since childhood.
Sadly Mark died on the 6th June 1994. He was 59. Nearly 2,000 Glaswegians took to the street to pay their respects. Many had never even met the man, but all spoke of losing a friend.
He posthumously received the Lord Provost of Glasgow's Award for performing arts.
Although Taggart is a different show these days, Mark would undoubtedly be delighted with the shows continuing success. His memory lives on which is great.
Mark Facts - His half brother was none other than Brian Connolly lead singer of the group 'The Sweet'
The Taggart 2005 Convention was dedicated to Mark's memory
MEMORIES OF MARK
From time to time we get emails from people who were lucky enough to know Mark or have a story to tell about him. This was sent in by Barbara and makes a lovely addition to Mark's page. If anyone has anything else like this please email me
The story behind it is my husband was working in the building trade at the time and (as they do) went for a liquid meal, instead of coming home. The work and pub was in the West (don't quote me here it could have been the East) End of Glasgow, at the time one of the Taggart (early one and not a repeat) series had just finished on the T.V. My husband noticed Mark McManus at the bar sitting quietly on his own and while 'getting a round' spoke to him. After a short conversation he asked if he could have his autograph for me probably imaging that this would placate me for his non attendance or sobriety at home!. It didn't work I may add but I loved the autograph. Mark obliged but the only thing either of them could come up with was the betting slip and what is worse a pen that came with it, you know? the tiny ones they give out in the betting shops. My husband states that the betting slip and pen was Mark's and they had a laugh over how (my husband) would get out of that one! Drink was bad enough etc., etc.