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Colum MacKenzie

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Colum MacKenzie
Outlander Cast Colum 420x560
Full Name Colum (Callum) mac Campbell MacKenzie
Born 1693
Occupation Chieftain of the MacKenzie Clan

Laird of Castle Leoch

Clan MacKenzie
Family Information
Family Members Jacob MacKenzie (father)

Anne MacKenzie (mother)
Ellen Fraser (sister)
Dougal MacKenzie (brother)
Janet MacKenzie (sister)
Flora MacKenzie (sister)
Jocasta Innes (sister)

Letitia Chisholm (wife)
Hamish MacKenzie (son)

Colum MacKenzie is Jamie's maternal uncle. He is a man who reigns over a powerful clan, but must rely on his brother Dougal to be the true muscle. Colum suffers from a condition now known as Toulouse-Lautrec Syndrome, a degenerative disease that renders his legs immobile at times, and fills his days with great physical pain. Colum, using wine to dull the pain, is able to rise to the occasion when needed, parading around at clan dinners and gatherings, solidifying his position as clan leader.

Personal HistoryEdit

The eldest son of Jacob and Anne MacKenzie, Colum grew up preparing to be the future laird of the clan, marrying Letitia Chisholm as part of an alliance between the clans. Around age eighteen, however, Colum took two bad falls; the broken bones of his legs never healed properly, and it became clear that it was permanent damage. It was around then that his father died, and suddenly the question of who would lead the clan was in question—could Colum lead, when he would clearly never be able to lead his men in battle? Or ought Dougal, his brother, to become chieftain? The clan held a great Gathering to decide the matter, and eventually Colum was chosen over Dougal. The younger MacKenzie, it was decided, lacked the judgment and levelheadedness needed in a leader. Moreover, Dougal stood by his brother's side and vowed to be his brother's legs and sword-arm, to follow Colum's orders and lead the clan as war chieftain in time of battle.

Events of the NovelsEdit

Warning: The information in the following tabs reveals major plot points in the Outlander novels. Proceed at your own risk.

-- Event summary for Colum in Outlander --

Colum dies in 1745, months before the Jacobite Rising.


Physical AppearanceEdit

Colum shares several of the strong MacKenzie traits with his brother, Dougal, though Colum's eyes are dove-gray like his older sister Ellen's. From the waist up, Colum has the long torso and imposing presence of the MacKenzies, but his legs are crippled by the degenerative disease he suffers, which Claire privately diagnoses as Toulouse-Lautrec Syndrome. His skin is pasty and prematurely wrinkled, an effect caused by the poor circulation associated with the disease. Still, Colum's strength of character and "steely core" are undiminished by his affliction, and Claire views Colum as the stronger of the two brothers.



Colum is the Irish form of Columba, which in turn is a Late Latin name meaning "dove".[1][2] The form Callum, which is used in the UK edition of Outlander (titled Cross Stitch), is the Scottish variant of Columba. The use of the Irish Colum is in keeping with several hints at the Leoch MacKenzies' ties to Ireland.

MacKenzie is the anglicized form of MacCoinnich, a Gaelic patronymic name meaning "son of Coinneach". The personal name Coinneach means "handsome" or "comely".[3][4]


  • Colum suffers from Toulouse-Lautrec Syndrome, though the disease was not named so until over a hundred years later by its famous sufferer, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
  • Showrunner Ron Moore explains that actor Gary Lewis wore special socks that could later be manipulated in the visual effects department to appear bowed. Lewis also wore shoes with wedges in them and practiced the peculiar gait with which Colum walks, to better simulate his deformity.[5]

TV SeriesEdit

Main article: Outlander Television Series

Scottish actor Gary Lewis portrays Colum in the STARZ Outlander television series.


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