Born in Strathaven, McLean studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) in Glasgow. She began her acting career in 1955 in St Andrews at the town’s Byre Theatre before returning to Glasgow in 1959 to work with the Citizens Theatre. From 1965 she had her own TV show called ‘Over to Una’ and then, in 1967, she starred in Scotland’s first one-woman TV show – ‘Did You See Una?’. She has gone on to feature in many TV shows and films, including Peter Capaldi’s 2001 production, ‘Strictly Sinatra’. More recently she has played Molly O’Hara in BBC Scotland’s ‘River City’. McLean also regularly appears in pantomime.