|Interviewer: Robin Hughes
Recorded: November 14, 2002
This is a transcript of the complete original interview conducted for the Australian Biography project. Each transcript page covers one videotape (approximately 35 minutes). There is also QuickTime video of the full interview available. To play the video, click on the icon in the right hand column. In addition, each question in the transcript is linked to the video. Clicking on a question will play the video from that point. (Help with this feature.) Optionally, you can download the video file for offline viewing (approx. 10MB).
The interview has been left it in its original state so that you can get a sense of how the conversation developed. The repetition of some questions, or a question followed by another question, is often due to the end of a particular tape or some other interruption, and has been indicated at the appropriate place in the text. There has been minimal tidying up of the text so that the flavour of the encounter has been kept.
How important has friendship been in your life?
Oh, well, I suppose it's been very, very important. I don't think I've, I don't think I've made friends, deep, you know, deep friendships very, very easily and I've got a funny feeling I'm a little bit lazy about that. If, if, if the friends I do have maintain the friendship from their end I - but with, with people like Owen Weingott and I, we, you know, that was very special. And then, then we linked because, although Owen had a Jewish background, he married out of the faith and then, so we became godparents to each other's children. And Joe Scully and I met when I was doing those workshops in, at Scotty Ehrenberg's and I'm godfather to Carl and I was best man at their wedding and this - you know, strong, strong. The normal strong bonds I guess.
But I developed some good friendships when I working in England. With beaut people like Gordon Jackson and, and Christopher Morahan, the director and we'd, you know. They've, they've been very good. I, you know, I've worked with a little of people I would like to be, be, you know, friendly with over the years but it's a strange business. You suddenly, you know, you're great mates, suddenly, wham, he's off to America or England or somewhere and you exchange a few Christmas cards and things like that.
But people like Michael Pate and I, we were very good friends, having worked together. Michael was a very important actor, you know, and I always thought he was way up there somewhere when I was getting going after the war. And then, you know, he, we always had, you know, when he was back in Australia from when he was in America, we used to exchange a lot of letters and things and when he went back to Australia we still kept in touch. And I think it was because I'd forgotten to send him a Christmas card that, and I'd had a Christmas card from him in 1972, that I dropped an air letter about half way through the year and said , "I meant to send you a Christmas card. Thanks for yours". And it was that letter, I believe, that told Michael Pate's wife, Felippa, that we were coming home and she happened to mention it to Hector Crawford. And Hector Crawford wrote me a little letter just before we left England to fly home on that family trip, personal trip. "If - I hear you're on a personal trip, if you've got time, would you do some work for us?" So, it was - I'm glad I missed sending him a Christmas card.
In an acting career there are a lot of decisions that you have to make which affect your family. And in your marriage to Audrey, she often had to pull up stumps and move at short notice and change plans and so on. How did you find working through that balance between family life and career?
I - it sometimes was obviously, you know, very tricky. But she was remarkable. She seemed to say, "OK, fine, let's give it a go". I always regretted that I hadn't somehow been able to arrange for her to come to Hollywood with me. Because that, that went from being just a, a, you know, what a short sort of four or five week commitment to about two or three months by the time we had to wait for extra scenes and there were some added scenes to be done. And it would have been, I'm sure she would have got a tremendous kick out of it. But she was very good about it. Didn't ever whinge and didn't ever complain. When we did go to England via Hollywood, it was great that she was there with me when the, Rod Taylor teed up that telemovie. Having to delay our trip to England, it was great to have her, sort of by my side to help us organise all that. When the children arrived I was, when Christopher was born I was doing 'Emergency Ward 10' so I had a steady job and, I was just like anybody else going to work in the morning. And the studio wasn't all that far from where we were living in Golders Green at the time. And - so that was OK.
But we got a bit of a shock when we discovered that her health wasn't all that great when we had, when we bought the tickets to come home and we discovered sort of accidentally that her blood pressure was very, very high and the doctors thought it was nearly too high for safety. So we had to delay the trip and - while they got the blood pressure under control, which they did. The good thing about that was that we, it alerted us that there was a medical problem there, that we had to be very, very careful of. Of course as her health really deteriorated towards the end, I was quite happily turning work that took me away from home down so that I could stay with her. But I was lucky I was able to, you know, just do voiceovers and things, going back to the old radio training.
How important was Audrey to the really long success that you had in your career?
Oh, extraordinary. And she was never the sort of person that said, "Oh darling, can we go to that new restaurant that's opened up the road or in the West End or something?", when we were in England. We had our own little rituals for, for anniversaries and we'd go to what we thought might be a nice restaurant or a posh restaurant or something. Googie Withers introduced us to a lovely little restaurant in Soho, which served superb food, so that became our little private celebration place. And also we knew them well enough to be able to take Aussie friends there and grandly order venison and Chateau Neuf du Pape '51, you know. All stuff that Googie had introduced us to. And so little things like that. But, we - she was remarkable, Audrey. She, she, I mean she had once trained or done some dressmaking training before she became an air hostess with TAA and so occasionally she'd fall back on that. In fact I was wearing a shirt the other day that I'd - she'd put extra pockets on for me, copying a shirt I'd bought in Indonesia when I was on a location survey once many years ago. And, so, and she could make things for the kids if necessary. Not necessarily because she had to but because she wanted to. And she knitted beautifully and I got her to knit me a cricket set [sic], sweater once and I directed it and it was the biggest cricket sweater ever, anybody's ever seen. But she knitted it superbly. Yeah, it was great. And she was a reasonable cook and all that. Yeah.
Apart from hearing your lines, was she active in your career?
I trusted her opinion on things very, very strongly. She had a wonderful ability, she was, she was a good reader. Most of the books here, I'm sure are because she wanted to read them or - and she would read them too. She was much better read than I am. She could read a script and really predict how it was going to work out, assuming that the director was whatever, you know, a competent director. And astonishingly accurate about things and I, and I now rely on my son and my daughter, who I believe between them have got the combination of her ability to read a script and determine whether it's worth doing or not. Now, I'm not, I don't, as I think I've indicated, don't turn down very much but if I really feel strongly about something, I probably won't do it.
But her, her, her awareness and her, her - before I got the tape recorder, I mean when I think of all the hours and hours and hours she spent hearing me my lines. Not just on 'Emergency Ward 10' but plays in the theatre and the Phillip Street shows. The lovely thing about radio, we didn't have to do that. But any films I was doing, she was always there to help me. And I loved her, you know, coming on location if we could, you know. And I loved getting that agreement with Chips Rafferty's company where she came with us on 'King of the Coral Sea'. And, I think she enjoyed doing that too. I'm sure she did.
Even so, was it difficult for someone like you, who's always been so dedicated to your work, to make the decision to stay and look after her at the end when she was very - she had cancer didn't she?
Yeah, yeah. No, I found it terribly easy. I don't mean easy, because I was - it was a very sad, scary time. But as far as work was concerned that was very, very down the priority list. It didn't matter.
Was that always so for you?
Yeah, I had no compunction about turning down the Hollywood contract. It didn't worry me at all. It didn't worry me when Tim Wilson, the agent, after I, you know, left 'Girl in My Soup' and it folded, I wouldn't have known it folded, I suppose, except that we were delayed because of Audrey's health and we had to postpone our trip back home by three or four weeks, whatever it was. And when Tim said, "Please don't leave London now, you know, you've left the play and it's folded. You took over when it was about to fold and it's run for two years". And it, that never worried me. It didn't worry me when 'Homicide' ended except that there were a lot of very, very good people who were going to be looking for work as I was. Though Hector Crawford took me back on fairly - as soon as he could as a director. But there were a lot of very good technical people and, you know, some excellent actors who were suddenly out of work. That worried me, but it didn't worry me about - it's funny. Johnny Saul once said to me, "Look after the work and the career takes care of itself". And that I found astonishingly good advice and I think I've sort of lived by that in a funny kind of way. And therefore if the work isn't there, oh well, bad luck. The next job you get, that becomes very important.
So, family has always really come first for you? The family's always been before everything else?
Oh, I don't know. It - is it conditioning, tradition or something? And we were a sort of close family. Audrey had very little family. She was an only child. All her relatives were either in Aberdeen, where she was born, or in America where some of her mother's family had gone. Her mother's sister had gone there because her husband was an engineer and his work took him from Scotland to America. So they were a scattered family. We were quite close and I seemed to remember having lots and lots of cousins in Sydney and, and lots of aunties who weren't really aunties but we knew them well. They were great old friends of Mum's and they'd grown up together. Dad had very little contact with his family because his parents had died when he was very young. He'd been brought up by an aunt, a very intelligent woman, a great woman. His brothers had a lot of children but they were in Melbourne so - and during the Depression we weren't very mobile and didn't travel around very much. But his - so I didn't really ever get to meet his family. But we were a, we were a quite a big family and, and very close. So it, I suppose I was conditioned to, and I, you know, frankly I also loved the sort of, almost privacy that Audrey and I had because we didn't have children for quite a while.
Not that we didn't want to. Audrey couldn't, wasn't well enough to and did need some surgery eventually to make it possible. And when Christopher arrived, he arrived absolutely on the dot, on the scheduled time and Virginia was about five days late but, and a bit rowdy when she arrived. But that was, yeah. And then there were, there were really just the four of us with a few close friends in London. That was interesting and, but in touch with family, then Mum and Dad came over and stayed with us for quite some time.
Did you ever reconcile with your mother-in-law?
Sort of, yeah. She, she - we discovered that she wasn't in very good shape, you know, in Australia. She had been well provided for by her husband but unfortunately hadn't invested it wisely or something or hadn't got any good advice and we sort of had to rescue her by flying her over to stay with us. I wasn't in a position for us to come back at that time and - with various commitments and things. So we brought her over to stay with us and I rather secretly hoped once she saw Scotland again she'd say - loved being here, but she missed Sydney and she stayed with us for about fifteen months or so and we had to fly her back. And then sadly, you know, she wasn't, she became unwell herself and had to go into a nursing home. But I think by the time she flew, about halfway during the time she was with us in London, I think there was a bit of a reconciliation. And I think that children helped too.
It must have been strange for you, Bud, because you're typical of the sort of person who's always not just liked, but well liked, to have a mother-in-law who didn't like you.
Oh yeah. Oh well, I, I, I grew up, I assumed that I that I was a nuisance anyway to the family because I wanted to do this acting. And I remember when Dad won that prize in the lottery and sent me to Sydney Grammar School, we had a brilliant economics master and for some reason I decided to do economics and, with one year with E.W. Bonwick who was a very learned man and had written several books on it and had some very interesting economic ideas. And I remember Dad saying to me, "My God, I didn't send you to that school to learn to be a communist. What's this?" And I, I don't know. So I assumed the family then, from then on thought I was a rip-roaring radical and not to be trusted and things. But, I don't know, I never ever thought I was terribly well liked so I suppose that's the - which, which is, which is probably better than misreading everything.
Maybe it was misreading everything. I mean how did you take the fact that you couldn't get on with your mother-in-law? Or that your mother-in-law didn't take to you. I mean not coming to your wedding must have been quite a thing.
Well, I suppose it was. Selfishly perhaps I was more concerned about what it meant to Audrey and I thought, well, if that's how she's feels, I don't mind. I thought it was tough for Audrey but then Audrey was very strong about it. She said, "No, you know, if she won't come, bad luck". She kept in touch with her mother. Of course she didn't ever ignore her and we were there if she needed any help. But I don't think it really had to, ever should have come from me. I think Audrey would have quietly helped her. But I don't think she ever needed any financial help until all that time later when we found that she'd actually run out of money rather than investing it. I think what we discovered was she'd just put it in the bank and slowly used it. Whatever income she was - not income but perhaps a superannuation fund or something. Her husband would have been very well paid over the years as a chief engineer on a ship and I don't think they were ever short of money as a family. But I do think that, at the end we really found out that she, things weren't all that good. Well, and for quite a long time, yes, I'd been supporting her for quite a few years, I suppose, one way and another.
You've thought probably more than most because of the play, 'The Carer', the films that you've been in that have been around the subject of life after the loss of a wife and, more than most, about the experience that you went through in caring for and then losing Audrey. So you've probably got more to offer in terms of an expression of what that means in a person's life. What did it mean in your life?
Oh, I, I, I, I was staggered. I think if it hadn't been for that strange fluke of being asked to do 'The Castle', I reckon I'd have sat in a corner at home and just fallen apart. Apart from, you know, being able to, you know, chat to the, the, then then one granddaughter, Eleanor and my son's step-children. But no, I don't know, I was, I was, you know, quite happy to sort of sit there and do nothing and think a lot and probably get sick and, not be very well, I would think. But it was only the work that saved me. How people can do it if they've got to generate their own work or their own method of conquering that strange grief situation. I don't know how they can do it. I don't think I'd have had the strength to do it on my own. I think the, you know, the fact that I had that extraordinary burst of work was a life saver to me. I've met, you know, people who've done it themselves and I, you know, going around chatting to local community groups and things and you see the groups where people have, you know, elderly people after retirement or loss of a partner, have joined a working bee and they become social workers and helpers and things.
I - although yes I've done a bit of, you know, a bit of work over the years with say the Flying Doctor Service in a voluntary capacity or RPH, the print handicapped radio station, things like that. But that wasn't really enough to overcome the, for me, the, the, the sense of loss. But the discipline of the movie was and I think, still I'm a little bit fragile. If I have got something to do that I've got to do, I feel a bit fragile sometimes.
As if some essential part of you is missing?
Yeah, and I find it hard not to think, "Well what's the use?", you know. With the grandchildren, yeah, that's great but that's almost just a, I don't know, that's great fun seeing them, you know, developing. But - and they don't really need me. But they're great, they're great kids. Particularly, you know, the, Virginia's eight year old and four year old. That's a delightful age to watch the development and everything. Christopher's teenagers are, they're light years ahead of me anyway intellectually. Like most teenagers, they're - and they're beaut kids. The little one is too young yet to, you know, to see that wonderful development. Though that's pretty exciting at the moment too, the five month old one. Young Lucie. But, yeah, I don't reckon I'd have coped terribly well without the work.
How did you take to fatherhood when you first became a dad?
Oh, I, I loved that. It was great. I was at the birth of both of them.
That was a little unusual in those days.
Well, not really. No, I found London was way ahead in 1959 and 1962 when Virginia was born. And amongst our circle of friends, I've got a feeling it would have been unusual not to have been there. I know with the morning Christopher was born, he was born at twenty to eight in, on September the 15th - which I think is Battle of Britain Day - in 1959. And I remember I was doing a live to air episode of 'Emergency Ward 10' and we'd normally started to, it was a studio day and so it must have been a Tuesday or a Friday and I was at the hospital with Audrey when she, at about eleven o'clock that night said, "I think things", the night before, "things are happening". So, and she was drifting around totally in control as she packed the bag and I think we had a car in those days and I drove her in at the appropriate time. And then I was with her holding her hand and then Christopher arrived at twenty to eight and that was an amazing joyous experience and, probably the most disciplined I think I've ever been, I wasn't, I didn't want to see Christopher before she did and I can remember holding her hand and looking at her and the midwife, who was a lovely, big, very black woman from, I think, Jamaica, who said, "Well done, you've got a little boy".
And we got Audrey up so she could see him first and then there was Christopher. And I always went crook at her because her first words about him when she looked at him, she said, "He looks like Edward G Robinson". "What?" But, yeah, that was great. And the same thing happened with Virginia, except that she didn't look anything like Edward G Robinson. Yeah, that was terrific. Really great.
Do you think you've been a good father?
Oh. I'm not bad I suppose but - and they've been awfully tolerant of the worried actor dad and they must have seen me coming home worried after a thing and, sort of, having a few too many grogs to help get over whatever problem I might have had. But I, you know, I don't think I was too bad, yeah.
How do you deal with problems?
Oh, I should, I should read more. I've, I discovered the other night, I have to, I don't think I'm an alcoholic or anything but, like a lot of people, a few beers is good. I used to, when Audrey was still at home and not well, we couldn't do very much and missing a few shows and things which worried her. I used to love watching the news at, say, seven o'clock and then the show after it, and in that time consume about three or four cans of, three cans of beer I think was what I - was the limit until my son-in-law, I think, said, "You realise that puts you way over .05". So I thought, "Oh right, so I'd better stop doing that". And also, didn't help my waistline. But I do find that, you know, two or three beers is a rather calming sort of influence. But that's really about all. I suppose I sort of wander around worrying a lot but I don't have any clever methods of doing it. But a friend of mine in Perth, she's a doctor and she thinks, well you should be reading more and things. And I, I find that I've got a lot of very, you know, almost not quite fully read books around the place. Yeah. I don't - I'm not very good at those sort of things.
In your career, how important has money been as a factor?
Not all that important. As long as there was just enough, I suppose. I've been very, very lucky in that I've always had just enough work coming in to cover expenses. My income when I was happily keeping away from long running radio series, so I could be available for movies and things, that did mean that my annual income wouldn't be anything like the very busy actors like, perhaps, Johnny Meillon or Ray Barrett or people like that in those days. And I remember when Audrey and I got married in '51, I said, "Darling I promise, look as soon as we get married, now that we've found a flat", and she had to give up the job she loved flying with the airline, "I will stop mucking about doing films and be a proper actor and just concentrate on radio". And I was astonished by - when I told Nora Burnett, the agent, my agent that and then I suddenly was cast in serials and things, the income did shoot up to a very respectable, I think it was something like a forty pound a week average one year which to me was a very high income in those days. In 1951, 52. And then, of course, I mucked it all up by going to Hollywood with very short notice and I was a...
But yeah, as long as there was enough and I know when we did 'Emergency Ward 10', 20 pounds an episode if I was in two and 25 if I was in one. And that was only going to be for a short time anyway but then it went on and on and on and the money slowly went up a little bit. But, as long as, as long as you get by and strangely, I've had an astonishingly busy few years since Audrey died and the income, of course, has gone up and my daughter, Virginia who now looks after all my tax inquiries and all that sort of stuff, liaising with the, my professional accountant. And she said, "Do you know how much you've earned last year?" And she told me and I was kind of astonished. It was a lot more than I'd ever earned before. So, funnily enough had my biggest earning years in the last three or four years, I guess.
And does that mean much to you? What do you feel about money?
Well, I'm, if I want to buy anything - I drive an old motor car, I'm too mean to buy a new one. But if I, let's say I did want to buy a car, I'd ring Christopher and Virginia first and say, "Do you think it's alright?" Because, they'd say, "It's your money". I'd say, "Well not really, it's sort of yours". You know, soon, whenever. And that sounds very, very noble but I'm still, I'm always very cautious of the fact that any actor I think has got to be very careful that you don't suddenly think, if you're suddenly earning 100 pounds a week, you're going to be earning that all the year. You might be only earning that while you're on that movie or on that play. So you'd better be careful. And I've never had any, you know, amazing formula for determining how much you should save but there's just that thing, be very careful. And sadly I've seen a few actor mates who've suddenly got into the big money and then forget to put the money aside for tax or something and then get into terrible trouble in about eighteen months time. And I'm sure it used to happen in Hollywood a lot too, in the old days when the, whether they were under contract or not, the money would go up and up and up a bit and, over the years and they hadn't provided for the things, "Oh, I forgot about the tax", or whatever.
Are you a little bit like your dad who, even though he won the lottery, couldn't buy himself a new car?
I think that's, yeah, yes, I think there's a lot of conditioning there somehow.
How important do you think those early years, and the security of that solid family, how important do you think that's been to this capacity you seem to have to have a very long and sustainable career, to keep your sort of balance, to keep your head through everything? Do you think that comes from early life?
Oh, I suppose it does, really, yes. You know I could never remember Mum and Dad ever doing anything that was outrageously expensive or wasteful. And yeah, I - but I suppose it has been enormously helpful. I mean I, I don't live in amazing surroundings. It's comfortable, you know, and all that but occasionally I used to think when, when I became well known or the profile was high in UK [sic], I thought should we be living in a bigger or better house and, you know, on your visits - I remember Googie and John had a lovely house in, in just outside London and I was terribly impressed by their taste and their furnishings and things like that. But then, you know realistically that's not really us anyway. As long as the chairs are reasonably comfortable to sit down on and we bought our little round table there at the, the antique dealer across the road from the flats we lived in. And I think it cost 40 pounds and I don't think it was, you know, I don't know how good it is really. But, you know, we didn't ever go mad and sometimes I used to wonder if we should have done a bit. But, I don't know, Audrey never seemed to complain so, it was OK I guess.
Are you ambitious? Have you ever been ambitious?
No, I - well I had this silly ambition, I think I may have mentioned it before, of once I became a sort of a fairly established professional actor as a radio actor and, and did me movies in the late '40s and things, I thought, I think if I'm, you know, really to prove I'm getting anywhere I should be in Hollywood by the time I'm 30. And I suddenly, amazingly, flukily found I was in Hollywood just before my 30th birthday and I realised what a stupid, empty ambition that was. And what did it mean? Nothing. Especially when they said, "Here's a contract", and I said, "No thanks, I'm going back to work in with me mate Chips Rafferty". And anyhow, Paul Biden was a great close mate of mine at Sydney Grammar School and we were about the, I suppose the only long term friend I ever made there, and we shared a sort of feeling that we shouldn't really be there. He was at North Sydney High which was a marvellous high school but his father had been at Sydney Grammar School and his father was a civil servant and eventually found he had enough money to send Paul for the last two years to Sydney Grammar School.
So, Paul was reluctantly there instead of finishing his last two years at North Sydney. And I was reluctantly there when I would have liked to have been at Sydney High. And so we formed a sort of friendship. And I was shattered once when one of the masters at Grammar said something that referred to "you chaps whose parents could only afford to send you here for the last two years. You must really knuckle down". And I went, "Ooh". And it wasn't a big deal but that hurt a bit and I think Paul was a bit shattered by that as well. He was, he's such a good bloke he's probably forgotten that. But, I - after we left school my mother used to get worried about Paul because he's a hell of a good guy and, again, we're godparents to each other's kids too... She said, "He's got no ambition. Absolutely no ambition". But he's had a marvellous life and looking back, apart from some medical problems he had a long time ago from which he's recovered brilliantly, he's, he's been very, very happy and he's got a beaut family too. And I thought, he became my symbol of you can get by without having a lot of ambition. Because sometimes ambition can really drive you into really dangerous territory if you're not careful, I believe. Certainly in show business.
You don't seem to have ever had the kind of ego problem that a lot of actors have either. You seem to not be - have the need to always be in the front line, to be a star, to do all of those things that often drive other actors. Why do you think that you've been able to avoid the temptation to be a bit narcissistic?
Dunno. I think, again I think the good influences, people I respected enormously. I keep going back to Johnny Saul or Owen, Owen Weingott. Owen Weingott did all that work and I got the gig as I was saying. He could have been a, you know, probably our leading actor at one stage but he opted, he was also a very good athlete and a very good fencer and he suddenly then was devoting an awful lot of time actually training the Olympic fencing team and still did his acting but did it with, you know, distinguished amateur companies and things like that. Then he became a teacher and I think he went to Bathurst, to the tertiary establishment out there, running the drama section. He - and his son, Paul has done that too. Paul, a marvellous actor and my godson and tall, handsome, movie star stuff. But he's been, he's been, he devoted his life to teaching and a quieter life too, with lovely family. I, you know, I don't, I don't quite know what it is, but I suppose I've been, what, influenced by really, in my, as far as I can see very, very good people who have, who have just always been good people. I've known, you know, a few beaut actor mates who've suddenly become sort of stars and things like that.
Somebody to me who is a perfect example of a really successful actor these days, who's even got an Academy Award, but to me whenever I've worked with him - oh, I've only worked with him once, but whenever I've met him and talked to him, is a, a beaut, seems to be a humble guy - is Geoffrey Rush. And, tremendous respect for him. And I remember once at the Victorian College of the Arts, I went into the gents when I was running a class one day and I bumped into a chap who was changing his trousers and I thought it was a student. When he turned round it was Geoff, Geoffrey Rush. I hope he doesn't mind me saying this. And I said, "What are you doing?" And he said, oh, he was doing something at the college for somebody and as we came, and he was putting on a pair of tracksuit trousers. And as we walked outside, Lindy Davies came along and she said, "What are you doing here?", to Geoffrey. And he said, "Oh I'm just" - he was going to do some movement classes. Now whether he was going to do them as a student or whether he was teaching them, I don't know, but he'd already got the Academy, no, he was about to go to Hollywood to be told he was the world's best film actor because he was about to - we didn't know he was going to get that, we knew he was nominated for an Academy Award.
But he was using the gents loo, not the director's posh office or anything, to change his trousers before going to the class. And any time I've met him - he came to see the first showing of 'The Castle' and he'd just got the Golden Globe award and I went to say, "Congratulations on your Golden Globe", and before I could say it he said to me, 'Oh congratulations, what a wonderful movie and loved your role". And as though, and that very much fits in with the Owen Weingott's and Paul Biden's of the world. And he's a very, very important international actor and any time I've met him and I've worked with him briefly in the, the 'Ned Kelly' movie. And he was beaut. And I noticed he only had to do, in 'Ned Kelly', listen to me while I read the Jerilderie letter to him, as the, I was playing the Premier of Victoria. And he was always there, even though the camera was on me, he was always there, sitting there listening, always there for rehearsals and, yeah. That's, that's, that's the sort of guy that I respected always, you know, and perhaps tried to be.
You've worked internationally. You've worked with actors from all over the world. Do you think this lack of pretension, this willingness to just work like any of the others, is a particularly Australian characteristic?
Yeah, it could be, I guess, yeah, yeah. Certainly I was, I was delighted when Peter Finch came back to do 'The Shiralee', and now he'd gone from being one of our best radio actors and a great stage actor and a bit of a film actor sometimes, and I had had a few beers with him the day before he sailed off with, with his wife in those days, to go to England. He came back and he was the same sort of fellow and got just as much of a kick out of, you know, meeting lovely Aussie characters when we were outback doing the location scenes and things and he hadn't seemed to have changed at all. It was great and he'd been away for a very long time and was now an important international actor. So perhaps it is an Aussie thing. Rod Taylor seems to be the same, like that as well. I've met very few actors who seemed to have, I suppose certainly Australian actors who have been changed by great success which is, is a nice thought really.
[end of tape]