Leonard Teale

Leonard George Thiele[1] AO (26 September 1922  14 May 1994), professionally Leonard Teale, was a well-known Australian actor of radio, television and film known for his resonant baritone voice. He is best remembered for his role as David "Mac" Mackay in the long-running Australian police drama Homicide.

Leonard Teale
Leonard George Thiele

(1922-09-26)26 September 1922
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Died14 May 1994(1994-05-14) (aged 71)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Years active1956-1986
Spouse(s)Liz Harris (1968-1994) (his death) (4 children)

Life and career

Leonard George Thiele (he later changed his surname professionally) was born in Brisbane to chemist Herman Albert and Maude Henrietta, he attended Milton State Primary School in Brisbane. Radio roles included the dual roles of Superman/Clark Kent in the late 1940s- early 1950s, along with the lead role in Tarzan, regular appearances in radio variety programs such as the Bonnington's Bunkhouse Show, and voiceovers in countless commercials. He appeared in several feature films, including Smiley, Smiley Gets A Gun, and Bungala Boys. In the early 1950s, with Raymond Hanson, Roland Robinson and others, he helped form the short-lived Australian Cultural Defence Movement, aimed at protecting Australian art from the perceived inroads being made by other cultures, particularly from the U.S. The movement eventually faltered under the weight of anti-communist criticism.[2] (His brother, Neville Thiele, was criticised for participating in left-wing theatre).[3]

He was a co-compère of the radio ABC Children's Session, as "Chris" from 1951 to 1954 (also playing the title role in its Muddle-Headed Wombat serial), his involvement possibly cut short by management for political reasons.[4] At this time he was still using the surname "Thiele" professionally.[5]

Major television roles included a regular comedic role in the Mobil-Limb Show, host roles in variety programs Singalong and Folkmoot, and acting roles in locally produced drama series including Whiplash, The Hungry Ones, Adventure Unlimited, and Consider Your Verdict. He is best remembered, however, for his long-running role[6] as Senior Detective (later Detective Sergeant) David "Mac" Mackay in Homicide from 1965–73. Homicide was Australia's first-ever locally produced TV police drama. Teale won a Logie for best Australian actor in 1974. He also hosted a documentary about the series, The Homicide Story, in 1970. Other leading television roles included Captain Woolcott in Seven Little Australians (1973), and headmaster Charles Ogilvy in school-based soap opera Class of '74 (1974–75).

Teale narrated for Australian Broadcasting Corporation audio recordings, including the Banjo Paterson poem The Man from Snowy River and a narrated version of Stairway to Heaven on The Money or the Gun. His reading of Dorothea Mackellar's patriotic poem which includes the line "I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains" became so popular in the 1970s that it was frequently used to parody him.

Australian honours

He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the 1992 Queen's New Years Honours List for his services to the performing arts and community.[7]

Personal life/death

Married three times, Leonard Teale had four children, Amanda, Juli, Jennifer and Melinda. He married his third wife, entertainer Liz Harris in 1968 (who had appeared in three episodes of Homicide). Leonard Teale died of a heart attack in 1994. A documentary, Homicide: 30 Years On, aired later that year which included reminiscences from former Homicide castmates and footage of an appearance made by himself and Homicide actors George Mallaby and Alwyn Kurts in 1992 presenting a Logie Award for Most Outstanding Series partially in character (with hilarious results).



  • Leonard Teale: Leonard Teale's Australia CD - Sony Australia 1994
  • Leonard Teale: Famous Australian Poems 2011[9]


  1. "Teale, Leonard George (1922-1994)". Australian Dictionary of Biography.
  2. John, Peter. "Raymond Charles Hanson profile: Australian Dictionary of Biography". Adb.online.anu.edu.au. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  3. "Connie Healy: Women in Radical Theatre in Brisbane" (PDF). Roughreds.com. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  4. "Beyond Right and Left". Beyond Right and Left. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  5. "8 September 1954 - Cabinet Sees Royal Visit Film". Trove.nla.gov.au. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  6. Originally Teale had been signed for 13 episodes, but went on to become the longest-serving series regular (357 episodes).
  7. "It's an Honour". Itsanhonour.gov.au. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
  8. Harrison, Tony The Australian Film and Television Companion Simon & Schuster 1994; ISBN 0-7318-0455-4
  9. "Leonard Teale: Famous Australian Poems". Finepoets.com. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
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