JONATHAN HARDY 20/9/40 – 29/7/12. RIP
|Peter Elliott||posted 31 Jul 2012, 08:56 AM|
JONATHAN HARDY 20/9/40 – 29/7/12. RIP
Sadly, one of the true greats of New Zealand drama has passed. The larger than life, irrepressible, humour-filled, passionate, truth-seeking, duende driven actor, director, writer and long-lasting heart transplant recipient, Jonathan Hardy, left us last evening, [Monday 23 July] following a visit to hospital in his beloved adopted Australia.
Jonathan was born on September 20, 1940 in Wellington. He was a former Artistic Director of Auckland's Mercury Theatre, an Academy Award nominated, and AFI winning writer (Breaker Morant, 1986) and he was passionately involved with opera, theatre, film and television in New Zealand and Australia.
Instrumental in finding, training and developing a veritable who's who of New Zealand actors over the years, he will be enormously missed on both sides of the Tasman.
Jonathan's film works include The Devil's Playground, Mad Max, Mr Reliable and Baz Luhrman's, Moulin Rouge and Ned Kelly. He penned 1984's Constance directed by Bruce Morrison and starring donogh rees. He wrote and directed “Backstage” starring Laura Branigan and was the voice of Dom Rygel in Farscape – a successful sci-fi series.
He has appeared in numerous television series and dramas including The Secret Life of Us, Stingers, MDA, State Coroner, Terrain, Snowy River , The Thorn Birds, Country Practice, Flying Doctors, Prisoner and others, for Australian TV.
However it was in live performance that Jonathan strutted and sang like a force of nature. Any performance that he gave was delivered with complete commitment of body, mind and soul, and he dragged audiences up to his extraordinary level of understanding. His performance in the Simon Prast directed ATC production of Twelve Angry Men remains a visceral memory many years later.
He has been a powerhouse in the industry for decades. Many actors will remember his strong work ethic, his passionate commitment to the arts and his wit and wagging tongue.
Any evening spent in Jonathan's company involved rude jokes, salacious gossip, a certain amount of wine drinking, a violent attack of entendre and a massive dose of sanity, levity and most of all, sincere and generous love.
We are much the poorer for his passing, may his example inspire us all to greater endeavour and self belief in the enormous value of the New Zealander on the world stage.
I think there will be a queue at the gates of heaven for the next couple of days as Jonathan sorts out a few obvious difficulties and “gets it working the way the writer obviously intended”, which will certainly entail the removing of the No Dogs Allowed policy.
Bless you Jono, our lives are much the richer for having known and worked with you. Sleep easy, you big, fat, blue bottomed, raspberry blowing Prince.
|Editor||posted 31 Jul 2012, 09:18 AM / edited 31 Jul 2012, 10:45 AM|
New Zealand actor, writer, and director Jonathan Hardy died today at the age of 71.
View slideshow: Jonathan Hardy of Farscape dies at 71
The iconic voice of Farscape's Dominar Rygel, Jonathan Hardy died today at age 71
Dear Friends, One and All.
I have just had a phone call from Jean Orrico, She has given me some sad news that I wish to pass on to you all. I am still dealing with it. [More]
|Roy Billing||posted 31 Jul 2012, 03:18 PM|
Jonathan had recently had an operation on his leg to restore mobility. Unfortunately septacaemia set in and he died on Sunday as a result.
I believe there will be a very private funeral and a public celebration of his life at a later date, to be announced, where we can all pay our respects and celebrate his memory.
Anyway, a very sad loss to those of us who knew him, and to our industry. Our thoughts and love go out to his partner, David Letch.
|Auckland Theatre Company||posted 31 Jul 2012, 04:21 PM|
New Zealand theatre has lost one its stalwarts and fervent supporters.
Veteran kiwi actor Jonathan Hardy died in Sydney on Monday 30 July.
Jonathan trained in Britain and worked for major British theatre companies, including London's National Theatre. He returned to New Zealand with the Royal Shakespeare Theatre's touring production of COMEDY OF ERRORS in 1966 and stayed on to support New Zealand's fledging professional theatre industry.
Jonathan was a former Artistic Director of Mercury Theatre, before moving to Australia where he quickly became popular actor with all of Australia's state theatre companies.
An extremely accomplished and deliciously comic actor, Jonathan returned to New Zealand to perform a number of times. As a guest actor with Auckland Theatre Company he returned several times, including for his lauded performance as Willie Loman in Simon Prast's production of DEATH OF A SALESMAN.
"Those of us who knew Jonathan will miss his twinkling eyes, outrageous eyebrows, acerbic wit, insightful observations and huge talent," says Auckland Theatre Company Artistic Director, Colin McColl.
Our hearts go out to Jonathan's nearest and dearest.
|John Smythe||posted 31 Jul 2012, 04:49 PM / edited 31 Jul 2012, 04:51 PM|
To be pedantically accurate, the 1966 production of THE COMEDY OF ERRORS was the New Zealand Theatre Centre's first national touring production (arising from the ashes of the New Zealand Players). It was directed by Clifford Williams and based on his RSC production. Jonathan played one of the Dromios, alongside Australian Bruce Myles. He was also in the NZTC productions of Oh, What A Lovely War! and The Hollow Crown.
Hardy's CV lists his education as St Patrick's College, Wellington | Victoria University, Wellington | New Zealand Players Drama School | London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art (LAMDA) | One Year extended vocal study under Margaretta Kraus in Spain | Studies in Tai Chi, Alexander Technique, Kenjutsu (2nd Dan), Reichian & NLP technique.
I recall his early fame as a performer in college productions of G&S operettas (a memorable Deadeye Dick in HMS Pinafore) and as a sprinter at the inter-collegiate sports (later quaintly called the inter-secs) held at Athletic Park.
As I recall, he and his younger brother were orphaned and Jon worked as a tram conductor to allow his brother to complete his schooling. He also tutored Wellington Repertory's Junior Rep, directing keen young things (including me and my brother) in the rude mechanicals scenes from A Midsummer Night's Dream. His humour was legendary even then.
It is on the record that while Jonathan Hardy was artistic director of Auckland's Mercury Theatre, it had a “massive commitment to New Zealand drama” ( Downstage Upfront, p234).
|Editor||posted 31 Jul 2012, 09:47 PM|
This from NZOnScreen
Jonathan Hardy was known for a sense of humour. When he died in the closing days of July 2012, his friend, fellow Kiwi acting export Lani Tupu wrote of his wonderful stories and “wicked wit”. Hardy sometimes pointed that wit at himself — in a BBC interview he joked of his distinctively generous eyebrows that they were “like looking out from under wisteria”, and said he loved the way his Farscape character “bites people, and farts helium”. [More]
|Michael Smythe||posted 3 Aug 2012, 11:06 AM|
Fond memories of Jonathan at Junior Repertory include him coaching our voioces with the Don Dirk of Dowdee poem - "a dagger, a dirk and a squizzamaroo" still echo ...
Does anyone recall his performance in Auckland (Mercury?) of Diary of a Madman - which he liked to call Dairy of a Madam?
He could be said to have made a significant contribution to New Zealand's economic growth. Here is a quote from my book 'New Zealand by Design':
"Richard Taylor's path to Weta Workshop may never have materialised had Mercury Theatre director Jonathan Hardy kept an appointment with the country boy from Te Hihi, south of Auckland. It was 1983 and Richard was there to show his set, costume and props design portfolio to a prospective employer. As it turned out, the stood-up student spent another year at Wesley College before managing to squeak in to Wellington Polytechnic — where he stood in the wrong queue and enrolled for graphic design instead of industrial design. ..."