Bud Tingwell

Bud Tingwell
Charles "Bud" Tingwell
Born Charles William Tingwell
3 January 1923(1923-01-03)
Coogee, New South Wales, Australia
Died 15 May 2009(2009-05-15) (aged 86)
Melbourne, Australia
Occupation Radio announcer, aviator, actor.
Years active 1941–2009
Spouse Audrey May Wilson
(1951–1996) (her death)[1]

Charles William "Bud" Tingwell AM (3 January 1923 – 15 May 2009)[2][3] was an Australian film, television, theatre and radio actor. Tingwell was one of the veterans of Australian film. He acted in his first motion picture in 1946 and appeared in over 100 films and numerous television programs in both the United Kingdom and Australia.


Early life and military service

Tingwell was born in the Sydney suburb of Coogee, the son of William Harvey Tingwell and Enid (née Green). As an adolescent he was encouraged by his father to be an accountant but failed the entrance exam. While still at school Tingwell became a cadet at Sydney radio station 2CH, soon becoming the youngest radio announcer in Australia.[2]

On his reasons for going to war:

It was just that you didn't not try to go [..] You were so … orientated towards the fact that “the war's on” and “this is the right thing to do”. We also did know … that difficult things were happening in Europe and ... we had Jewish friends who had [relatives] who had an awful time ... and refugees were arriving in Australia in the pre-war time... We had a German family next door and they had a son-in-law who … was a suspect[ed] ... Nazi sympathiser, so he had to … be interned... We knew a lot about Hitler and about Mussolini.
      — Charles "Bud" Tingwell, 2002.[4]

In 1941, aged 18, he volunteered for war service overseas with the Royal Australian Air Force. Under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, personnel from Commonwealth air forces were part of a joint training and assignment system. Consequently, Tingwell trained as a pilot in Canada during 1942. Despite damaging a Harvard training aircraft in August 1942, he qualified as a pilot and was commissioned as a pilot officer that December.

Tingwell was posted to the Mediterranean Theatre and underwent operational training with No. 74 OTU RAF, in British Palestine, and qualified to fly the Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire.

He was posted to a photo reconnaissance unit, No. 680 Squadron RAF and flew 75 sorties in Mosquitos and Spitfires during the North African Campaign and Allied invasion of Sicily. Tingwell was also qualified on the Bristol Blenheim, Martin Baltimore, Bristol Beaufighter, de Havilland Mosquito and Airspeed Oxford.

He was promoted to Flying Officer in June 1943 and Flight Lieutenant in December 1944.[5]

Towards the end of the war, Tingwell was transferred back to Australia. He was then posted to 5 Operational Training Unit (OTU) as a flying instructor and then to No. 87 Squadron RAAF, flying photo reconnaissance Mosquitoes over the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia).

On demobilisation in 1946, he was awarded the 1939-45 Star, Italy Star and Defence Medal. Tingwell remained a reservist into the 1950s.

Post-war life and acting career

After returning to Australia, Tingwell married his childhood sweetheart, Audrey May Wilson.[6] They had two children together.

In 1946, Tingwell won his first film role, as a control tower officer in the film Smithy. He took on several roles over the next few years, increasing in stature, until he caught the attention of Hollywood in 1952, and won the part of Lt. Harry Carstairs in The Desert Rats, alongside Chips Rafferty, James Mason and Richard Burton.

After filming The Desert Rats, Tingwell stayed in Australia for three years, making three films, including King of the Coral Sea, which also featured Rafferty. In 1954 he co-starred with Gordon Chater in Top of the Bill, the first of the famous satirical revues staged at Sydney's Phillip Street Theatre. In 1956, Tingwell moved to England. The following year, he took on his first recurring television role, playing Australian surgeon Alan Dawson in the live television serial Emergency – Ward 10 and its film spin-off Life in Emergency Ward 10 (1959). He also played the role of Inspector Craddock in all four of the Miss Marple series of films starring Margaret Rutherford, between 1961 and 1964.

In the later 1960s, he performed various minor voice roles for the Gerry Anderson television shows Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons as well as appearing in the first series of Catweazle.

Tingwell made numerous other films while in England, spending a total of 16 years as a 'London Aussie',[7] but in 1973, returned to Australia with his wife and children, and soon after, won the role of Inspector Reg Lawson on the long-running series Homicide. This was followed by small roles in a number of major Australian films, such as Breaker Morant (1980), Puberty Blues (1981) and All the Rivers Run (1983).

His career went through a quiet period throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, until he took on the role of 'Gramps' in recurring segment Charlie the Wonderdog, in the satirical series The Late Show in 1993. He was inducted into the Logie Hall of Fame in 1994. His role in The Late Show was later to win him a major role as lawyer Lawrence Hammill in the major 1997 film The Castle. He later said that this role helped him recover from the death of his wife not long before.

After the success of The Castle, Tingwell's career underwent a revival during the late 1990s and early 2000s. This saw him take on small roles in commercial films The Craic (1999) and The Dish (2000), the mini-series Changi, as well as the lead in the romance Innocence.

Tingwell had a recurring guest role in the soap opera Neighbours in 2000 and 2003, playing Henry O'Rourke. He appeared as John Conroy in the musical theatre production The Man from Snowy River: Arena Spectacular, which toured Australian capital cities twice during 2002.

In 2006, he launched his own website, with over 500 registered users in just over a week. On 5 October 2006, he launched his first blog. Bud encouraged fans to visit the site and share their thoughts on his life and career.

Up until his death, Tingwell was still acting regularly, in a number of films and television programs that are in production. Most recently, he hosted ratings winners Celebrity Circus, and 20 to 1. He appeared on a Celebrity special of Temptation with his daughter, Virginia.


Bud Tingwell was named a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday Honours of June 1999.[8]

Tingwell was inducted into Australian Film Walk of Fame in 2008 in honour of his career and achievements in film and television.[9]


Tingwell died in Melbourne from prostate cancer, at the age of 86, on 15 May 2009.[10][11] He was given a state funeral, held at St Paul's Cathedral in Melbourne on 20 May 2009.[3][12][13][14][15][16][17][18]

Selected filmography

Bushfire Moon 1987

Selected television roles

  • Emergency – Ward 10 (1957) .... Dr. Alan Dawson
  • An Enemy of the State (1965) .... Harry Sutton
  • The Avengers (1967) .... Dr. Neville
  • A Man of our Times (1968) .... David Soames
  • Catweazle (1970) .... Mr. Bennet
  • Homicide (1973–1976) .... Inspector Reg Lawson
  • The Sullivans (1976) .... Dr. Hammond
  • All the Rivers Run (1983) (miniseries) .... Uncle Charles
  • All the Rivers Run 2 (1989) (miniseries) ... Uncle Charles
  • The Late Show (1993) .... Gramps in "Charlie the Wonder Dog"
  • Mother and Son (1994) .... The Judge
  • Neighbours (2000, 2003) .... Henry O'Rourke
  • Changi (2001) .... David Colins (in old age)


  • Bud: A Life (2004)


  1. ^ "Bud Tingwell's biography – his official website". Budtingwell.com.au. http://www.budtingwell.com.au/biography_australia.php. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Film and TV legend Charles 'Bud' Tingwell dies". The Age (Melbourne). 15 May 2009. http://www.theage.com.au/lifestyle/people/film-and-tv-legend-charles-bud-tingwell-dies-20090515-b56s.html. 
  3. ^ a b "Biography page of Charles 'Bud' Tingwell's official website". Budtingwell.com.au. http://www.budtingwell.com.au/blog/. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  4. ^ Robin Hughes (interviewer), "Charles 'Bud' Tingwell: Full Interview Transcript"(recorded 2002), Australian Biography, Access date: 29 July 2010.
  5. ^ Military service record: A9300, TINGWELL C W Service Number – 413915, National Archives of Australia
  6. ^ Sydney Morning Herald, 16 May 2009, (Obituary)
  7. ^ Charles Tingwell, The Independent, London, October 1991
  8. ^ "It's an Honour". Itsanhonour.gov.au. 7 June 1999. http://www.itsanhonour.gov.au/honours/honour_roll/search.cfm?aus_award_id=870029&search_type=simple&showInd=true. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "Australian Film Festival Walk of Fame". Chic Traveller. http://chictraveller.com/press/2010/03/08/australian-film-festival-walk-of-fame. Retrieved 28 June 2011. 
  10. ^ "''The Age'' report of Tingwell's death". The Age. Australia. http://www.theage.com.au/lifestyle/people/film-and-tv-legend-bud-tingwell-dead-20090515-b56s.html. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  11. ^ Sky News' report on Tingwell's death[dead link]
  12. ^ Samantha Donovan for PM. "Tingwell to receive state funeral". Australia: ABC News. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/05/15/2572245.htm. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  13. ^ . http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25511219-2702,00.html. [dead link]
  14. ^ "Final farewell for 'Bud' Tingwell". The Sydney Morning Herald. 20 May 2009. http://www.smh.com.au/national/final-farewell-for-bud-tingwell-20090520-bext.html. 
  15. ^ Leo, Simon (20 May 2009). "State Funeral farewells Charles Bud Tingwell". Australia: ABC News. http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2009/05/20/2575991.htm. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  16. ^ "Hundreds gather for Charles 'Bud' Tingwell's funeral". 20 May 2009. http://www.news.com.au/entertainment/story/0,28383,25510940-10229,00.html. 
  17. ^ . http://livenews.com.au/rss-link/bud-tingwell-remembered-as-war-hero-acting-great/2009/5/20/207110. 
  18. ^ "Stars farewell Bud Tingwell". Sbs.com.au. http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1018497/Stars-gather-to-farewell-Bud-Tingwell. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 
  19. ^ "Screen Australia: Menzies and Churchill at War". Filmaust.com.au. 20 August 2003. http://www.filmaust.com.au/menzies/. Retrieved 2 November 2011. 

External links

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