Best-known for his roles in crime series Budgie and the films Gorillas in the Mist and The Railway Children, Cuthbertson suffered a crippling stroke in 1982 from which he never fully recovered. He passed away last Friday.

Born in Glasgow in 1930, Mr Cuthbertson developed into one of the finest and most acclaimed theatre actors of his generation, eventually rising to the directorship of the Citizens Theatre in the early 1960s.

His successes in the cutting edge young theatre company earned him widespread praise, and he was credited with helping to bring drama to audiences who had never before experienced it.

The bright lights of London’s West End soon beckoned, and he moved south to take up the directorship of the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1965. During the next decade, he worked largely in television, earning lead credits in The Borderers, Sutherland’s Law and Budgie, in which he starred alongside Adam Faith.

Fans yesterday posted messages of tribute to the late actor on film discussion sites.

One said: “Cuthbertson was such a fine actor. After his stroke, one of his smaller roles was that of the father Charles Stafford in Painted Lady. He only appeared in the early part of the film, but his scene with Helen Mirren -- a few sentences but mostly looks, a raised eyebrow, a smile -- made it memorable. He will be sorely missed.”

Another preferred to remember the line he coined as Glasgow crime boss Charlie Endell in Budgie: “There are only two things I hate in the world, and you’re both of them.”

It was, in part, his cult appeal that won Cuthbertson the post of rector at Aberdeen University, his alma mater, from 1975-8, and a university spokeswoman said yesterday that former colleagues would remember him fondly. “From the very beginning, he maintained an astonishingly high level of involvement with all aspects of university life,” she said.

“He was an outstanding rector with a deep affection for people.”