ACCLAIMED actor John Sessions has been hailed as an 'extraordinary talent' by his Largs childhood friend after his sudden death last week.

The accomplished entertainer passed away at his home in south London from a heart condition at the age of 67.

Highly regarded in his field, John starred alongside many top actors including Anthony Hopkins, Mel Gibson and Liam Neeson in The Bounty in 1984.

As well as providing the voices for Spitting Image, John was a talented panellist on TV comedy Whose Line Is It Anyway? in the 1980s and 90s, QI and Have I Got News for You.

John was born in Largs in 11 January 1953 under the name John Gibb Marshall before his family left the town for Bedford in England.

His father Jack Marshall was a gas engineer, and his mother Esme (nee Richardson) worked in a bookshop and had a passion for literature which she passed on to John.

Born in Largs, he regularly returned in his childhood years to visit his grandparents and struck up a friendship with Alan Robert Clark.

Alan, an author, spoke about he had recently become re-acquainted with John for the first time in decades after they grew up in the same street in Largs.

He said: "John is part of my extended family, a sort of honorary cousin. We became good friends in London again in recent years.

"He has consistently supported my writing and some time ago he interviewed me about my work during the Richmond Literary Festival.

"It was quite extraordinary, and rather moving, that we should find ourselves doing that event together when, nearly 60 years earlier, we’d played together as children in Nelson Street.

"Although we are not blood relatives, we used to joke that we were cousins as my father's brother is married to John's aunt.

"The Largs family connection was always maintained throughout John's early life. His Granny Marshall owned the villa called Armada Place near the top of Nelson Street.

"Granny Marshall lived in one, John's father's sister Isa Clark lived in another villa with her husband Bill, my father's brother, and Bill's mother Lizzie Clark, my grandmother, lived in yet another. It was a bit like the Ewings in Dallas - a sprawling family all squashed together. On John's trips to Scotland he and I would play in the back garden of Armada Place.

"He was devoted to his Uncle Bill Clark, who later lived in Glenacre Drive, and maintained a close attachment to him until Bill died.

"John always had a strong love of Largs and his Scottish ancestry. Despite the countless voices he could do, he never lost his own Scottish accent."

As the years past, the pair lost touch but were re-acquainted when John took a part in a London West End play written by a friend of Alan's.

He added: "He put me in touch with John and it was lovely to meet him again.

"It is quite astonishing that we became chums again some 60 year after we met as young boys."

He is survived by a twin sister, Maggie, who became a lawyer in Canada, and an older brother Bill.