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Veteran Australian actor Bud Tingwell dies -

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Veteran Australian actor Bud Tingwell dies

The World Today - Friday, 15 May , 2009 12:16:00

PETER CAVE: The Australian actor Charles "Bud" Tingwell has died from prostate cancer.

He was 86.

Bud Tingwell appeared in over a hundred films and was best known for his roles in the police series
"Homicide" as well as the classic Australian films "The Castle" and "Breaker Morant".

He's remembered for his humility and generosity, often saying yes to small films by unknown
directors so as to experience something different and to meet new people.

Jennifer Macey reports.

JENNIFER MACEY: Bud Tingwell first appeared on the big screen in 1946. A hundred films later and he
was still reportedly reading movie scripts in his hospital bed in Melbourne, where he died from
prostate cancer this morning.

This is how he described his wide-ranging career:

CHARLES BUD TINGWELL: It's like a beautiful, delicious stew now, looking back. They're all part of
the same thing, I don't know. It's wonderful.

JENNIFER MACEY: Rob Sitch directed him in "The Castle", the 90s movie that restarted Bud Tingwell's

ROB SITCH: I must admit I was pretty surprised because I visited him last week in hospital and he
completely foxed me. He had a script by his bed and we were talking about work and what he was
going to do. And he was in the middle of a production at the time, and he said, "It's such a
bother, I just can't wait to get all tubes off me." And I walked away thinking, oh, we've got Bud
back. (laughs)

And it's incredible to think that someone who was so ill was sort of being so positive and

JENNIFER MACEY: Charles Tingwell was born in Coogee in New South Wales in 1923, earning his
nickname Bud while still in his mother's womb.

CHARLES BUD TINGWELL: One of the surf club fellows said, "Hello, what's budding there?" From then
on they either said "the budding going on" or "how's the bud?"

And I think they stuck with "the bud", and I think they called me "the bud" when I was born too.
Then they eventually dropped the "the".

JENNIFER MACEY: His father wanted him to be an accountant but he ended up as a pilot during World
War II, before winning his first film role in 1946 in the film "Smithy".

Hollywood beckoned and he found himself in the film "The Desert Rats".

(Sound of score from "The Desert Rats")

CHARLES BUD TINGWELL: I just thought well if I'm going to get anywhere, I really, I suppose I'll
have to, should be in Hollywood by the time I'm 30. And suddenly I got this invitation and I
suddenly found myself in Hollywood doing this "Desert Rats" role; only because they couldn't find
anybody at the last minute who was the right age and could sound Australian, playing an Aussie
officer in the Australian army in the Battle of Tobruk.

(Excerpt from "The Desert Rats")

CHARLES BUD TINGWELL: Let's get it cleared away- we can use the (inaudible) gun from back there.

ACTOR: Alright, on your feet digger.

(End of excerpt)

JENNIFER MACEY: But it was back in Australia and in a TV series called "Homicide" in the 1970s
where he made his name.

(Sound of "Homicide" theme music)

CHARLES BUD TINGWELL: It would have been early in 73 that Hector Crawford offered me the role of
Inspector Reg Lawson in "Homicide". As soon as I got on the set of "Homicide", which was now all
film and in colour, it was great. It was like doing fabulous small movies. And I felt we were doing
excellent, classy movies all the time.

BUD TINGWELL (as Reg Lawson, excerpt from "Homicide"): Check your weapons, keep your eyes open and
stay alert. Base out.

JENNIFER MACEY: The death of his wife, childhood sweetheart Audrey, was a devastating blow. But he
was back to work a week later in the role as Lawrence Hammill in "The Castle".

(Excerpt from "The Castle"):

CHARLES BUD TINGWELL (as Lawrence Hammill): Your Honour, my client built his home by the law, in
full accordance with the law.

MICHAEL CATON (as Darryl Kerrigan): He doesn't know about the extensions.

CHARLES BUD TINGWELL (as Lawrence Hammill): But does he have the protection of the law? How can the
forceable removal of a family - a good family - from their home have the blessing of our

(End of excerpt)

JENNIFER MACEY: The Castle's director Rob Sitch says the role was written with Bud Tingwell in

ROB SITCH: We started writing the part with his voice in mind; we even used to imitate him. And
then we got to the end of script and we said, what if he says no? (laughs)

And sadly his wife died a week before and so we were sure he was going to say no. But you know, in
his classic form he turned up.

JENNIFER MACEY: "The Castle" is just one of many Australian classics in which Bud Tingwell appears.

The list is long including, "The Shiralee", "Breaker Morant", "Puberty Blues", "The Dish", "Ned
Kelly", "Jindabyne", and television series like "Homicide", "Emergency Ward 10", "Neighbours", and
the mini-series "Changi".

He told the ABC's Margaret Throsby in 2000 that he rarely turned down work.

BUD TINGWELL: When I lecture to young student actors, as I sometimes do at the Victorian College of
the Arts, I say be very careful what you turn down.

And I've always been surprised when people have said after doing a series, "We were surprised you
accepted that, because it seemed too small."

But take the run I did with "The Late Show" with Rob Sitch and Tom Gleisner and co. I played the
dotty grandfather with Charlie the Wonderdog, and they did confess to me after that that they were
surprised I'd accepted it, but that led to "The Castle", "The Castle" has led to so many things.
Looking all the way back to Owen talking me into taking part in that radio competition, one thing
has led to another.

JENNIFER MACEY: Rob Sitch says this is one of Bud's great successes - the ability to say yes.

ROB SITCH: One of the things he told me years later is he said that one of the secrets to life was
saying yes. He said because you end up meeting people, you have new experiences; you know, luck
seems to follows you. And I don't know that anyone's kind of lived a life in entertainment that's
proved that point better.

PETER CAVE: Rob Sitch from Working Dog Productions ending that report by Jennifer Macey.