ROBERT GRAHAM ALEXANDER
5 January 1942 - 11 April 2018
Robert went to Sydney’s Trinity Grammar School, where he excelled in athletics (he ran for the school), theatre (he acted opposite fellow student Richard Wherrett, who was to direct him later at the STC), and music. After matriculating, he went to Sydney Conservatorium, where he studied singing - the accompanist at his final recital was Roger Woodward -, and then gained his Diploma of Education at Sydney Teachers College, where he met his life partner of 54 years, the potter Barry Blight.
After secondary teaching - English and Music - and travelling with Barry, including four years teaching in England, he returned to Sydney to teach. But he wanted to act, to catch the wave of the 60s theatre renaissance. He started professionally with Adelaide’s Theatre 62, then Nimrod. In 1976 he was, along with Kerry Walker and Tony Sheldon, a member of the first company of six actors of the Hunter Valley Theatre Company, Newcastle. He was an ideal company man, both professionally (the willingness to take on any rôle, and the talent to shine in it) and personally (the temperament to take rough with smooth, the gift of friendship). His maturity and life experience kept the fledgling troupe together.
On returning to Sydney his more than 40-year career took off. He was seldom out of work: mainly theatre, but TV (many, including continuing rôles) and film too, supplemented by extensive voice- over. (He was uncommonly well-spoken.) His more than 90 theatre rôles included twenty for Nimrod, twelve for the STC, twelve for Bell Shakespeare (of which he was an Associate Artist), and work for most of the country’s leading companies (including Opera Australia, STC of SA, QTC, Ensemble, Marian Street, Island Th. Co., and Sport for Jove), and in all states. He loved Shakespeare: his Jaques, Polonius, and Shylock were particularly memorable. He won a Green Room Award for his performance in Torch Song Trilogy.
Robert gave much to the profession. For some years he was on the committee of the Actors Benevolent Fund; he was politically engaged; he mentored younger colleagues.
Robert’s last rôle was as the Scottish hotel manager in The Judas Kiss. His subtlety and restraint, his accent, the detail of his characterization, all were superb. It was a performance that would have graced any stage in the world. It was only a matter of days before he had to call in sick for the first time in his career, then days later to withdraw. He was a great believer in ‘Dr Theatre’, the belief that if you go on sick, the show will put you right. But he needed stronger medicine. It was the beginning of a steady decline that lasted more than a year.
An actress friend wrote: ‘I did not know him well, but whenever we met I would feel warmed by the sun’.
He is survived by Barry, and by his sister, nephew, and niece.
- Terence Clarke
30 November 1926 – 16 January 2018
Moya O'Sullivan was a versatile actor indeed! I believe she commenced her career working in radio - and legend has it she appeared rather suddenly 'on the scene' - playing a lead in an ABC Drama and was wonderful. She was in a very popular comedy series "Life with Dexter" playing Willie Fennell's wife.
There was a long career in the Advertising world doing voiceovers - where her skill quickly put her at the top of the list. I first met Moya in 1961 at the Independent - she played "Sylvia" in "The Women" and had a huge success with the role - it's a cracker of a part and Moy grabbed it with both hands! I was an ASM (as well as playing a role) so was able to watch her every night - what a lesson! And I was lucky enough to be ASM on "A Period of Adjustment" by Tennessee Williams - Moy played a rather 'mousey' role - so different to "Sylvia"! It was about this time she got her driver's license and told me that she'd had trouble working out how to get to the Independent - because she could only turn left (!) she found turning "right" too scary! She lived somewhere like Double Bay so I can only image how she worked that one out!!!
We shared 'digs' in London where she worked in Television as well as Stage, she got a good role in the West End in a play starring Ronnie Fraser (the UK actor) Suzannah York, Moy played Annette Crosbie's 'mother' - only one scene but she made it a highlight - she returned to Australia shortly after and continued her career - voicing ads, doing a few plays, television, including a good long run in "Neighbours".
Moy also spent many years on the Board of the "Actors' Benevolent Fund" -our Charity that she was always passionately supporting. She was great to work with - down to earth and yet firm in her belief of the respect acting should be given - I shall miss her - the talent, the laughs and our friendship which lasted for so long - she was one of the best!
Maggie Dence - MEAA member since 1962