Who do you think is the greatest Glaswegian of all time? This summer we are showcasing the top 50 men and women who have helped to put Glasgow on the map. Once they have all been revealed, we will be holding a public vote to find the winner. Today we feature Jimmy Reid, one of Scotland’s best political figures, and Deborah Kerr, a Golden Globe-winning actor

Jimmy Reid

James ‘Jimmy’ Reid was a trade union activist, politician and journalist. Born in Govan in 1932, Jimmy started off his political career at a young age as he joined the Young Communist League. He rose to prominence leading the Upper Clyde Shipbuilders work-in: with the government decision to operate the shipyards without state subsidy, this would have resulted in a disastrous loss of 6000 jobs.

An engineer by trade, Jimmy organised a ‘work-in’ with other colleagues, deciding the best way to show the viability of keeping the yards open was to do that rather than strike. The occupation received global support through fundraising events and donations from celebrities such as John Lennon and Billy Connolly. The Clyde shipyards received £101million in public support over the next three years.

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Jimmy had an effervescent political career, first elected as a Communist councillor in Clydebank in the mid1970s. In 1971, he served as Rector of the University of Glasgow where he gave his critically acclaimed ‘rat-race’ speech, described by the New York Times as ‘the greatest speech since President Lincoln’s Gettysbury Address’. He told the audience “a rat race is for rats. We’re not rats. We’re human beings”.

In 1975, Jimmy left the Communist party to join the Labour Party. He became a journalist and broadcaster, writing for many titles and among them for our sister title, The Herald. His 1984 documentary series Reid About the USSR received two BAFTA awards. He then left Labour for the SNP in 2004.

Jimmy retired to Rothesay on the Isle of Bute and died in 2010. After a private service in Rothesay, Jimmy’s hearse was driven into Glasgow for a secular funeral service at Govan Old Parish Church, passing the BAE Systems Surface Ships Yard where hundreds of workers gathered outside in tribute. Among the mourners were Gordon Brown, Alex Salmond, Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Billy Connolly. The Jimmy Reid foundation, a left-wing think tank and advocacy group was established in his memory.

Deborah Kerr

Deborah Kerr is an award-wining actress with a lasting legacy. Recognised as one of the last great beauties of Hollywood’s golden age, her role in the surf with Burt Lancaster in From Here to Eternity remains one of Hollywood’s most enduring images.

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Although widely assumed that Deborah was born in Helensburgh, a birth certificate proves that Deborah Jane Trimmer was born at 7 St James Terrace in Glasgow in 1921 – we can indeed claim her as our own!

Originally training as a ballet dancer at Sadler’s Wells, Deborah made her West End debut as ‘Ellie Dunn’ in a revival of Heartbreak House at the Cambridge theatre at the age of 21. Beverly Baxter, a theatre critic, wrote:

‘She has the rare gift of thinking her lines, not merely remembering them’.

Despite her success in films, the theatre was Deborah’s first love: “I do it because it’s exactly like dressing up for the grownups” she said. “The older you get, the easier it should be, but it isn’t”.

Deborah made several British films before being signed by MGM in 1947.

In 1967 she was the first Bond Girl over the age of 30 with her appearance in Casino Royale.

Deborah was made a CBE in 1998 and was honoured in Hollywood with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She was the first performer to win the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress three times and was given an honorary award by the Cannes Film Festival, BAFTA, and an Academy Honour Award.

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Deborah died in 2007 in Suffolk from the effects of Parkinson’s disease. In September and October 2010, Josephine Botting of the British Film Institute curated the “Deborah Kerr Season”, which included around 20 of her feature films and an exhibition of posters, memorabilia and personal items loaned by her family.