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Secret Scottish roots of Best Actor nominee David; OSCAR EXCLUSIVES.

Byline: By JULIA HUNT

HE was born in sunny San Francisco... but Oscar hopeful David Strathairn's roots are firmly in Scotland.

We can claim the Best Actor nominee as one of our own thanks to his grandad Thomas, who was born and raised in Crieff, Perthshire.

And the Sunday Mail can reveal that the star of Good Night, And Good Luck got his first taste for the stage in a village hall on Speyside.

While visiting Scots relatives for the summer, 15-year-old David took part in a cabaret show in Boat of Garten.

It started a journey which led to an Academy award nomination for his role as US broadcaster Edward R Murrow in George Clooney's acclaimed black and white movie masterpiece.

The film details Murrow's fight against Senator Joseph McCarthy's Communist witch-hunts.

David's cousin, Caroline Bashford, said his star quality was obvious even in his Boat of Garten debut in 1964.

Caroline, who will watch next month's Oscars from her home in Edinburgh, said: "I must have only been nine when David and the American cousins came for the summer.

"Every year young people in the area would put on a show at the village hall called the Boat Busters Ball.

"David was really fantastic. He did a very dramatic cabaret number and stood out a mile. It's easy to see why he went on to become an actor.

"My husband Ian and I are in contact with David and meet up whenever he is in Britain. He loves Scotland, particularly the west coast.

"I hope that if he comes over for the UK premiere of Good Night, And Good Luck he will get the chance to visit."

David, 57, can trace his Scots roots back to his grandfather Thomas Scott Strathairn, who grew up in Crieff.

The star is so proud of his heritage he named his son Tay and still has a holiday home on Skye.

David's brother Tom, a school teacher in San Marcos, California, said' "The family comes from Crieff and it's where the name's from. It was spelled Strathearn on my greatgrandfather's birth certificate.

"My grandad Thomas Scott Strathairn was a musician, travelled east and wen Australia before ending up ii Honolulu, where he married my grandmother Lei.

"David gave his old the Scottish name honour the Scots

"He rents a house loves the solitude and friendly peopl

Tom's last visit to 1964 with his parents Scott, David and his sister Anne

This followed a trip to the US by Scots cousin Hubert Scott Strathairn and his Betty in 1962. Hubert, 88' a retired officer in the Malayan Police, said: "We're very pleased about David's Oscar nomination."

Oscars by numbers: Facts about the awards - Page 26

CAPTION(S):

Kilty secret: Family snap shows David, far left, and his family - mum Frankie, dad Scott, sister Anne and brother Tom - on their visit to Scotland in 1964. Scott even donned a kilt in hour of his Scots roots.' Masterpiece: With Clooney in Good Night, And Good Luck' Scottish pride: David gave his son a Scots name and holidays on Skye
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 26, 2006
Words:514
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