Hughie Ogilvie

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Hughie Ogilvie (b. Glasgow, Lanarkshire, 05/02/1880 – d. Ayr, Ayrshire, 25/10/1931) was a comedian, actor and singer.


Hughie (Hugh) Ogilvie was the first (and illegitimate) son of Hugh Ogilvie and Sarah Robertson, who went on to have 10 more children. A Scottish comedian who, at one stage, was lauded as “the only possible rival to Harry Lauder”, it’s not certain when he took to the stage, but in 1902 he had married Christina Brodie and from 1912 he performed all over Scotland, Ireland and Northern England. He also had a good voice and, in fact, he wrote the lyrics for Arthur Stroud’s patriotic “Hail, Caledonia!”. In August 1916 he came out to South Africa on contract with the African Theatres Trust. He became extremely popular and when, early in 1918, he left the country, Stage & Cinema commented that “Hughie Ogilvie has been more often on the Empire bill, since his first appearance on November 6, 1916, than any other performer who has visited South Africa”. He also appeared on the stage of the Orpheum Theatre and was in the popular revue Have a Guess (1917). It was reported that while in South Africa, Ogilvie had tried to enlist for service in German East Africa, but that the military authorities had turned him down. He did, however, make an appearance as Private Geordie McGluskie, one of the Prince Imperial’s bodyguards, in The Symbol of Sacrifice (Dick Cruikshanks/1918).

He left South Africa for Australia and New Zealand, touring with Walter George’s Sunshine Players on the Fuller circuit and becoming as popular there as he had been in South Africa. He was presented as “the celebrated Scotch master of drollery and versatility, the rollicking hilarious Highlander”. He appeared in shows like The Million Dollar Girl, In Sunny Japan, The Grand Hotel and The Boatwaiters (so-called because a group of theatrical performers were stuck in Wellington due to a stoppage of steamer services) and returned to Scotland in 1919. He continued to tour until at least 1928. Early in 1931 a hotel proprietor named Hugh Ogilvie and his wife, Christina, visited the United States. They listed Ayr in Scotland as their hometown and, in fact, the year before a valuation roll had listed a Mrs. Brodie (Ogilvie) as running a so-called temperance hotel in Carrick Street in Ayr. When he died in 1931, his profession was still given as music hall artiste. (FO)


The New York Clipper, 7 March 1917

Stage & Cinema, 5 January 1918

The Press, Canterbury, 19 August, 1918

New Zealand Free Lance, 23 January 1919

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