Bud Tingwell

Charles William Tingwell AM (3 January 1923 – 15 May 2009[2][3]), known professionally as Bud Tingwell or Charles 'Bud' Tingwell, was an Australian film, television, theatre and radio actor. One of the veterans of Australian film, he acted in his first motion picture in 1946 and went on to appear in more than 100 films and numerous TV programs in both the United Kingdom and Australia.

Bud Tingwell

Tingwell in Murder Ahoy! (1964)
Charles William Tingwell

(1923-01-03)3 January 1923
Died15 May 2009(2009-05-15) (aged 86)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
EducationSydney Grammar School
OccupationActor, radio announcer, pilot
Years active1941–2008
Audrey May Wilson
(m. 1951; died 1996)
AwardsLogie Hall of Fame Inductee (1994)
Raymond Longford Award (1998)
Member of the Order of Australia (1999)
Australian Film Walk of Fame Inductee (2008)

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 Tingwell failed the entrance exam.

While still at school, he became a cadet at Sydney radio station 2CH, soon becoming the youngest radio announcer in Australia.[2]

World War II

In 1941, aged 18, Tingwell volunteered for war service overseas with the Royal Australian Air Force. Under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, personnel from Commonwealth air forces formed 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, he later qualified as a pilot and was commissioned as a pilot officer that December. He was posted to the Mediterranean Theatre and underwent operational training with No. 74 Operational Training Unit RAF, in British Palestine, and qualified to fly the Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire.

On his reasons for going to war (2002):[4]
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.

Later, 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 the Allied invasion of Sicily. Other aircraft that Tingwell was qualified to fly included the Bristol Blenheim, Martin Baltimore, Bristol Beaufighter 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 posted to No. 5 Operational Training Unit RAAF as a flying instructor and then to No. 87 Squadron RAAF, flying photo reconnaissance Mosquitoes over the Dutch East Indies. 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, who died in 1996.[6] They had two children.

He joined Doris Fitton's Independent Theatre group and appeared on stage from the mid-1940s in such classics as The Little Foxes by Lillian Hellman[7] and Jean Giraudoux's The Madwoman of Chaillot[8]

In 1946, Tingwell was given his first film role, as a control tower officer in Smithy.

Tingwell had an excellent support part in Bitter Springs (1950), made by Ealing Studios with Chips Rafferty; Tingwell played Rafferty's bigoted son. He had a similar role in Kangaroo (1952), a Hollywood-financed film shot in Australia for 20th Century Fox. He then appeared in I Found Joe Barton (1952), the first TV show shot in Australia.

Fox liked Tingwell's work in Kangaroo and invited him to Los Angeles to play the part of Lt Harry Carstairs in The Desert Rats, in which he appeared opposite Chips Rafferty, James Mason and Richard Burton. They offered him a long-term contract but Tingwell turned it down as he wanted to return to Australia.[9]

Tingwell played the lead in King of the Coral Sea (1954) alongside 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.


The Australian film and radio industry slumped with the advent of television and Tingwell decided to move to the UK. He used the opportunity of a role in Ealing's The Shiralee (1957), which was filmed in Australia and London. Tingwell travelled to England to complete his scenes and decided to stay.

The following year, he took on his first recurring television role, as Australian surgeon Alan Dawson in the live TV serial Emergency – Ward 10 and its film spin-off Life in Emergency Ward 10 (1959).

He had small roles in Ealing's Dunkirk (1958), then Bobbikins (1959), Cone of Silence (1960), and Tarzan the Magnificent (1960).

Tingwell played the role of Inspector Craddock in all four films of the Miss Marple series, starring Margaret Rutherford, from 1961 to 1964: Murder, She Said (1961), Murder at the Gallop (1963), Murder Most Foul (1964) and Murder Ahoy! (1964). For Hammer Films he appeared in The Secret of Blood Island (1964) and Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966).

He had the lead in a TV series An Enemy of the State (1965).

In the late 1960s, he performed various minor voice roles for the Gerry Anderson "Supermarionation" TV series Thunderbirds and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, besides appearing in the first series of Catweazle.

In 1969 he appeared as Robert Danvers in the long running farce "There's A Girl In My Soup", at the Comedy Theatre, London.

He was the recurring character of Motel Manager Kevin McArthur in Crossroads in the late 1960s and early 1970s. (Vincent Ball played McArthur in 1970–1973). He had a small role in Nobody Runs Forever (1968) with Rod Taylor.

Return to Australia

Tingwell appeared in many other films during his time in Britain, spending a total of 16 years as a "London Aussie".[10] In 1973, he returned to Australia with his wife and children, and shortly after won the role of Inspector Reg Lawson in the long-running TV 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). He also played the recurring role of farmer Ted Campbell in the soap A Country Practice in the late 1980s and early 1990s and as the Narrator from The Flying Scotsman In Australia

Revival in popularity

Tingwell's career went through a quiet period during the late 1980s and early 1990s, until he took on the role of "Gramps" in "Charlie the Wonderdog", a recurring segment on The Late Show, in 1993. His role in The Late Show was later to win him a major role as lawyer Lawrence Hammill in the film The Castle (1997). He later stated that this role helped him to recover from the death of his wife the previous year.

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 the commercial films The Craic (1999) and The Dish (2000), and in the TV mini-series Changi, as well as the lead role in the romantic drama film Innocence (2000). Tingwell also had a recurring guest role in the soap opera Neighbours from 2000 to 2003, playing Henry O'Rourke. He had previously appeared in the soap in 1993 as Bert Willis.[11] 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 2004, Tingwell published a memoir, Bud: A Life. In 2006, he launched his own website, which attracted 500 registered users in just over a week. On 5 October that year, he created his first blog. He continued to act regularly until his death, in a number of films and TV programmes including eight episodes of Bed of Roses that aired in 2010. Among his last appearances, he hosted both Celebrity Circus and 20 to 1 and appeared on a celebrity special of Temptation with his daughter, Virginia.


Tingwell was appointed a member of the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday Honours of June 1999.[12] He was inducted into the Logie Hall of Fame in 1994. In 2008, he was inducted into Australian Film Walk of Fame in honour of his career and achievements in film and television.[13]


Tingwell died in Melbourne from prostate cancer, aged 86, on 15 May 2009.[14][15] He was given a state funeral, which was held at St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne, on 20 May.[3][16][17][18][19][20][21]

Selected filmography

Selected television roles


  1. "Bud Tingwell Biography – Official Website". Budtingwell.com.au. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  2. "Film and TV Legend Charles "Bud" Tingwell Dies". The Age. Melbourne, Australia. 15 May 2009.
  3. "Bud Tingwell Biography – Official Website". Budtingwell.com.au. 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. "Advertising". The Sydney Morning Herald (34, 263). New South Wales, Australia. 15 October 1947. p. 11. Retrieved 19 March 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  8. "Stage Whispers". The Sunday Herald (Sydney) (94). New South Wales, Australia. 12 November 1950. p. 8 (Sunday Herald Features). Retrieved 19 March 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  9. Charles Tingwell interview at Australian Biography
  10. Charles Tingwell, The Independent, London, October 1991.
  11. "What's Doug secret?". Inside Soap. Attic Futura (UK) Ltd (17): 55. January 1994.
  12. "It's An Honour". Itsanhonour.gov.au. 7 June 1999. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  13. "Australian Film Festival Walk of Fame". Chic Traveller. Archived from the original on 8 July 2011. Retrieved 28 June 2011.
  14. "Film and TV Legend Bud Tingwell Dead". The Age. Australia. 15 May 2009. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  15. Sky News Report on Tingwell's Death
  16. Samantha Donovan for PM. "Tingwell to Receive State Funeral". Australia: ABC News. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  17. "The Australian". 20 May 2009.
  18. "Final Farewell for 'Bud' Tingwell". The Sydney Morning Herald. 20 May 2009.
  19. Leo, Simon (20 May 2009). "State Funeral Farewells Charles 'Bud' Tingwell". Australia: ABC News. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  20. "Hundreds Gather for Charles 'Bud' Tingwell's Funeral". 20 May 2009.
  21. "Stars Farewell Bud Tingwell". Sbs.com.au. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  22. "A Cry in the Dark (1988) – Release Dates". IMDb. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
  23. Dooley, John; Tingwell, Charles; Daly, Michael; Naylor, Greg; Mobil Oil Australia; Bendigo Street Productions; Vision Entertainment Australia; 100th Oboe Pty. Ltd (1992), The Flying Scotsman in Australia, Vision Entertainment Australia [distributor], retrieved 9 May 2016
  24. "Screen Australia: Menzies and Churchill at War". Screen Australia. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
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