January 21, 2002

AYRSHIRE BEAUTY Double Oscar winner Kevin Spacey holidays in Saltcoats

HOLLYWOOD superstar Kevin Spacey will swap Los Angeles for Ayrshire when he jets in to see his secret Scots family.

The double Oscar winner will return to the seaside town he loves this summer to visit relatives.

The American Beauty star’s brother-in-law Ian Keir comes from Saltcoats and played football for junior team Kilwinning Rangers.

In publicity tours for his new movie, Shipping News – which opens in Britain next month – Spacey, 42, hinted he knew Saltcoats well as his brother-in-law came from the area. He revealed his older sister Julie Ann had married a “beaten-up” Scottish footballer.

He said: “My sister was on a ferry from Germany and on the same ferry there was a soccer team that had just lost a game. She met this beaten-up guy and they made it to the altar together.”

Spacey, who commands pounds 15million a movie and won Oscars for American Beauty and Usual Suspects, loves his low-key holidays on the Ayrshire coast.

Ian’s mum, Margaret, said her famous son-in-law had been a closely-guarded secret. She added: “It’s not something anyone would believe around here – until you bring out the photograph albums.

“But my grandchildren love being able to say Kevin Spacey is their uncle.” Grandmother-of-four Margaret, 79, lives in an Ardrossan council house.

Pride of place goes to a snap of Ian and Julie Ann’s 25th wedding anniversary party in a local hotel – with Kevin as the guest of honour.

Margaret said: “Kevin is a lovely man and Ian is always saying how much he loves Ayrshire.

“He used to come over a lot when he was younger but he hasn’t been for a few years because he’s so busy.

“But we’re expecting him this summer, so I’m sure that will be a good party.”

Ian, 56, and Julie Ann, 50, emigrated to America a few years ago but return to see Margaret and her other son, George, and his wife, Irene.

Ian’s two children and Kevin’s niece Ingrid, 23, and nephew Colin, 19, live with them in California.

They are in constant touch with her other son and his children Lewis, 17, and Jennifer, 14, from Ardrossan.

Margaret said: “Lewis loves taking family pictures to school to show his friends Kevin really is his uncle.

“The youngsters in the family love it. But most of my friends don’t even know who Kevin Spacey is.”

Ian, an airport worker, and Julie Ann, a paralegal, paid for Margaret to go out to San Francisco after her husband died.

Margaret found a close friend in Kevin’s elderly mum, Kathleen. She said: “She’s a lovely woman. Always talking about Kevin but she’s also proud of Julie Ann, who’s a very clever girl.

“Kathleen comes over to Britain quite a lot and when she or Julie Ann are here they are always shopping for anything Scottish to take back for Ian or Kevin.”

Her son married Julie Ann in Saltcoats Register Office on December 1, 1972, and celebrated with Margaret and other family in a local pub.

Margaret said: “Through the years we knew Kevin was an actor but it wasn’t until a few years ago we all realised he was a big star.”

©2000 Daily Record & Sunday Mail