NZ acting legend Ray Henwood has died

Publish Date
Monday, 26 August 2019, 12:21PM

Wellington's Circa Theatre confirmed veteran New Zealand actor Ray Henwood has died this morning aged 82.

A pillar of Wellington's Circa Theatre since co-founding it in 1976, the Welsh-born actor appeared in many plays, films and television programmes, notably the sitcom Gliding On.

He also did one-man performances as the poet Dylan Thomas and the actor Richard Burton - both fellow Welshmen.

Henwood graduated in chemistry at Swansea University before emigrating to New Zealand aged 25 and worked as a teacher and forensic toxicologist while developing a second career as an actor, eventually turning professional in 1970.

"I'd been working in the theatre in Britain, I had done a degree, finished a degree, in chemistry, funnily enough," Henwood explained in a 2012 interview with New Zealand On Screen.

"I was shortlisted for a research post, which I didn't get, and I saw the chance to come out to New Zealand, to teach.

"When I came there was no professional theatre but there was very strong amateur theatre.

"But whether I would have stayed, I'm fairly sure I would have, because I loved it from the beginning. I thought, why would I want to live anywhere else?"

Drawing on his work as a forensic chemist, he campaigned against the use of cannabis and was author of the 1970 book A Turned On World - Drugs in New Zealand.

Ray Henwood is survived by his second wife, the retired judge Carolyn Henwood, and their two children, one of whom is the comedian Dai Henwood.

Dai recently took to social media to pay tribute to his dad, posting a photo of the two together from his childhood and writing: "It ain't Fathers Day but I love you Dad. Giving me knowledge and love since '78."

 

Source: NZ Herald