September 3, 2019

RAY HENWOOD 1937-2019

Editor    posted 26 Aug 2019, 12:46 PM / edited 26 Aug 2019, 12:59 PM

New Zealand acting legend Ray Henwood, father of comedian Dai, has died

STUFF online, 10:26, Aug 26 2019

New Zealand actor Ray Henwood has died.

Circa Theatre in Wellington confirmed on Monday that Henwood had died aged 82.

The actor spent a lifetime inhabiting the lives of others in a world of make believe. He had played Albert Einstein, Joseph Stalin, Dylan Thomas and Winston Churchill, to name but a few.

Henwood was the father to NZ comedian, Dai Henwood, who declined to comment when contacted by Stuff this morning.

Born Charles Raymond Henwood in Swansea, Wales in 1937, Henwood got the acting bug at a young age when he performed in plays at his church and school.

Speaking to Stuff in 2016, Henwood said that acting was “a real communication for me. The best feeling is when you can hear people listening. That real silence of listening is a heady feeling.”

After graduating university with a degree in Chemistry, Henwood emigrated to Wellington where he started out teaching maths and science at Mana College in Porirua while performing in amateur productions.

By the end of the 60s he was appearing in commercials, becoming a household face as the “Moro Man.”

But he made his name as Hugh in the homegrown sitcom Gliding On, written by eminent playwright Roger Hall, which aired for five seasons in the 1980s.

Henwood was also a renowned theatre actor and was instrumental in establishing Circa Theatre, where he performed many of his most iconic roles, in 1976.

He was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in 2006.

Henwood is survived by his wife, Carolyn, a retired district court judge and arts patron, son Dai, and his grandchildren.


* Us Two – Ray and Dai Henwood

* Ray Henwood teams up with Roger Hall

John Smythe      posted 26 Aug 2019, 03:06 PM

I first saw Ray in a scene from Henry IV Pt 1, in a British Drama League festival I think – in about the mid 1960s. I recall the frisson of excitement as the Wellington theatre community realised a major talent had arrived.

Editor    posted 28 Aug 2019, 04:51 PM

Playwright Sir Roger Hall remembers his friendship with veteran actor Ray Henwood.

Ray Henwood was our Richard Burton: Welsh, very good-looking and a superb stage voice.

Auckland theatregoers will remember him recently in my play Last Legs and a few years earlier in Who Wants to be a 100? You don’t often get the actors you have in mind while you are writing the play but in these ones I was lucky. Audiences loved the four male characters (Ray, Raymond Hawthorne, Mark Hadlow and George Henare) as they argued and fought. Ray and George Henare teamed up again for Heroes along with Ken Blackburn and between them the three of them presented a masterclass in character acting and comic timing. [More]

Editor    posted 28 Aug 2019, 04:56 PM

Ray’s funeral service will be held at the Opera House, Manners Street, Wellington, on Monday, September 2, 2019 at 1.00pm, followed by a private cremation.

[DomPost death notice]

John Smythe      posted 3 Sep 2019, 09:15 AM / edited 3 Sep 2019, 08:22 PM

Ray Henwood’s funeral was front page news in the DomPost today.

His final act, once in the hearse, was to ‘exit stage left pursued by a bus’ – very apropos.

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