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By staff writers
May 15, 2009 09:46am

Much loved actor dies
Bud Tingwell died in Melbourne this morning with his son and daughter by his side. 05/09 Sky News
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VETERAN Australian actor Charles “Bud” Tingwell died this morning, aged 86.

Tingwell passed away in a Melbourne hospital at 8.30am with his son and daughter by his side, his spokesperson, Joanne Baker told

He died due to complications with prostate cancer, Baker said.

Tingwell had been diagnosed with the disease a couple of years ago.

Best known for his roles in film Breaker Morant, TV shows Homicide, All The Rivers Run and more recently, film The Castle, Tingwell was still acting in films and on stage until recently.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said Tingwell was “in every sense an Australian legend”.

“He is so much a part of the Australian character as it’s been shaped and as it will evolve in the future,” he said.

“A great Australian and all Australians are sad to see his passing.”

Actor Jack Thompson, whose parents were friends with Tingwell when Thompson was a boy, told Sky News it was a pleasure to have known him.

“A great tree has been felled in our culture,” Thompson, who appeared opposite Tingwell in Breaker Morant, said.

“There cannot be a better person to pass on his craft … to young actors.”

The team behind Working Dog, which includes Rob Sitch and Tom Gleisner and worked with Tingwell on TV’s The Late Show and movies The Castle and The Dish, said Tingwell would be sadly missed.

“He was a real gentleman, always smiling, always enthusiastic and a thorough professional, whether appearing in a big budget feature or a one off comedy sketch,” they said.

“He also took a keen interest in supporting young people making film and television.

“Born in Coogee, a spitfire pilot, movie star, director and family man – it sounds like a character from a movie, but it was actually Bud’s life. He was a one-off.”

Gleisner told the ABC that when Sitch visited Tingwell in hospital a few days ago “he had a script next to him, beside his bed, and he was learning lines for his next role”.

“He never wanted to retire and he lived for and loved his work and I think that is an enduring memory he would like us to have of him.”

Tingwell appeared in over 100 films, according to Wikipedia, the first being Smithy in 1946.

He was awarded the prestigious Gold Logie Hall of Fame award in 1994.

In 2006 Tingwell successfully launched his own website, gaining over 500 registered users in just over a week.

With the tagline “never too old to blog”, Tingwell encouraged fans to share their thoughts on his life and career.

He revealed how he became known as Bud on his site.

“It wasn’t until I was 60 years old that I finally found out why my parents called me Bud, rather than my real name, Charles,” he said.

“Although it had been a much-discussed topic in the Tingwell family for decades, my mother had never come clean.

“After she died, an uncle finally told me the truth. When my mother was pregnant, she had been teased by some friends at the Coogee Surf Club, asking, ‘What’s budding in there?’ It became ‘How’s the bud?’ and finally ‘Bud’.

“I rather liked Charles. But I also love the ordinariness of Bud.”

Monkey bite: Tingwell’s childhood memories

Only a few weeks ago Tingwell told PerthNow about starting his career on radio and his days with the Royal Australian Air Force.

“The cinema, or the pictures, as we probably called it, was very, very important to me,” he said.

“I loved the magic of what movies could do. I loved film and radio.

“Dad said, ‘Look, why don’t you apply for this job? Cadet announcer/panel operator wanted for leading Sydney commercial radio station, 2CH.’

“So I applied and they offered me the job, making me the youngest radio announcer in Australia.”

Tingwell was a WWII pilot and was sent to the Middle East, completing 75 operational flights in Spitfires and Mosquito aircraft as a photographic reconnaissance pilot.

“Anzac Day is complicated for me,” he explained.

“I had a very close friend, Frank who was killed in the war flying over targets with bombs.

“Four or five years after the war ended, I was comparing on a radio show and I was told that there was someone to see me and it was my friend’s mother.

“She told me that Frank’s body was never returned to her and that changed my whole attitude – I kept thinking how many families didn’t have loved ones to bury and I have not walked in an Anzac Day parade since.”

He used to attend an Anzac Day dinner with those who returned from WWII.

“There are very few of us left and now we have to have it at lunchtime,” he laughed.

“And recently – this made me laugh – a big bloke came up to me after I had a given a talk and he said, that he was glad that he had missed me.

“He was one of the German fighter pilots who had attacked my plane – but luckily he didn’t hit me.

“We had a lovely conversation that day.”,28383,25486771-10229,00.html?referrer=email&source=eDM_newspulse


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