Monday, June 19, 2006

Noel Trevarthen

I don't want this blog to be about dead actors, but I just found out another of my favourite performers has recently died...

I was at Sydney's Powerhouse Museum yesterday afternoon for a lecture, which was part of the On The Box exhibition celebrating 50 years of Australian TV. Actress Ilona Rodgers was on the panel talking about her career and in particular her roles in The Sullivans, Prisoner and Sons & Daughters. Towards the end of the session she said something in passing, which shocked - and still saddens - me. She commented on the recent death of actor Noel Trevarthen. I mentioned Noel just the other week in the posting where I mourn the loss of Eddie Hepple. Now I have to say farewell to Noel.

Born in 1938, Noel Trevarthen enjoyed a successful career as an actor in England, Australia and his native New Zealand since the 1950s. He first came to my attention when I was a kid watching him as Bob in The Rovers, but he'd actually appeared in one of this country's earliest attempts at Television drama, a series called Motel. He later popped up in soapies such as The Young Doctors (playing opposite Abigail), The Restless Years and The Sullivans. However the role that brought him the acclaim and recognition he deserved was as Gerard Kent in Carson's Law, the quality Crawford's series set in the 1920s. As the somewhat sinister manservant to patriarch Godfrey Carson (played so wonderfully by Kevin Miles), Noel proved he was more than just a swarthy soapy actor. He would receive both peer and audience voted awards for his memorable portrayal of Gerard and when Carson's Law came to an end there was talk of spinning the character off into his own series. Sadly this never eventuated, but Noel went on to many other roles in film and television, including ANZACS, Dusty and Neighbours. He returned to live in New Zealand where he continued to act and the last time I saw him on screen was purely by chance. He was appearing opposite Ilona Rodgers in the TV series Hercules. The two were great friends so it's somehow fitting that Ilona should be the one to tell me the news of Noel's passing. What a shame we've lost another lovely actor who made a great contribution to our screen culture, yet his death goes almost unnoticed...


Blogger Miss Litzi said...

Hi Nash,
Unfortunately, I’ve never heard of Noel Trevarthen, but from reading your post, he sounds like he touched a cord with you for his acting abilities. Whenever someone who’s affected us in our lives passes away, it’s a not so gentle reminder that we’re not immortal and we should make the most of the time we have left on earth.

Thanks for the mini biography on Mr. Trevarthen. I hope more people will notice his death and praise his accomplishments.

Thanks for finding my blog!

June 21, 2006 2:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had a crush on him when I was very young

June 22, 2006 10:07 AM  
Blogger nash said...

Dear Sheila, I'm not surprised!

June 22, 2006 10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just found out he died thanks to this article. What a great actor!

Greetings from Portugal, where Australian stuff shows up now and then.


March 17, 2007 2:29 PM  
Blogger beth said...

Noel was my uncle and he lived out his last years on the beautiful Kawau Island in the Hauraki Gulf of NZ, where we all spent our summers growing up and being entertained with Uncle Noels tales of his life, and scary stories he made up about Fred Grit a mystycal man who lived up in the bush in a hollow tree.....its nice to know people still remember him.

January 16, 2009 11:55 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Noel was my neighbour in Paddington (Sydney). He was a very lovely man & always had time to say hello & have a chat. I last saw him as he was preparing to move permanently back to New Zealand

February 08, 2009 7:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to know if their is someone who can tell me if more information is known about this actor besides in which films he has played. More private matters, for instance: is he married, does he have childeren ?

Perhaps someone knows a website on which this information can be found.

April 03, 2009 12:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had no idea that he died, what was the cause?
I recently bought the Mental As Anything compilation cd/dvd and on the dvd, Noel plays the character of "God" on one of the featurettes that link some of the earlier video clips. He also had a small roll of a journalist in The Beatles film, "A Hard Day's Night"

May 10, 2009 10:39 PM  
Anonymous Marjorie Holmes said...

Hello .. Ive been thinking about my friends .. especially those who are no longer with us. I lived on Kawau Island for 30+years and Noel was a neighbour and a very special person whose friendship I vaued so much.
We didn't expect to lose him and the Kawau Island community was so saddened because he was a truly super person.

July 13, 2009 10:33 PM  
Blogger Nic said...

Noel played my father in the film, 'Dusty' which was filmed in Victoria in early 1982, and we maintained a friendship for a short while thereafter.

He was one of the most gracious, decent, generous and least self-absorbed men I knew. I am sorry to hear about his death, but it seemed that he lived his latter years in a place he clearly loved, in his homeland.

I found this blog because I was hoping to re-contact Noel, but that's life I guess. Vale Noel.

i'm going to create a Eulogy page for your clan at

October 08, 2009 6:34 AM  
Anonymous Ro said...

I worked with Noel on Carson's Law and Neighbours and loved him. He always spoke of himself as a B-Grade actor who got lucky - and that may be true - but he was one of the best story-tellers I've ever met and possibly one of the loveliest people I've ever worked with. We had so much fun together. I think of him often and wondered what had happened to him. His kind won't come again.

April 10, 2010 7:51 PM  
Anonymous Darren J Ray said...

Noel was in A Hard Day's Night. Wasn't he also in The Restless Years?

June 01, 2011 1:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm also from Portugal and I was very sad to know about the death of Noel Trevarthen.
I knew him from "Carson's Law" - what a great actor!
Unfortunately the IMDB took a long time to announce his death.

November 18, 2011 2:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Noel was a (much older)distant cousin of mine and I found your blog in doing a search on him. He was a very kind ad gentle man. RIP. Kiwi Mike in Cadiff

December 05, 2012 7:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When in London between 1963 and 1978 Noel rented a coach house flat and enjoyed gardening the large walled garden. He drove the same powder blue Morris Minor 1000 that was his love. He was good friends with Katherine Hepburn who used to come and visit him. He was a very good story teller and would smoke distinctive smelling Gittane French cigarettes. He was short listed for James Bond trials before Roger Moore.

December 08, 2012 12:41 PM  
Blogger Derek Besier said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 30, 2013 4:28 PM  
Blogger Derek Besier said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 30, 2013 4:29 PM  
Anonymous Stephen said...

I've only just found this - some 7+ years later. Oh well. I too had the good fortune to work on Carson's Law and met Noel on many occasions. And I too also found him to be a truly lovely, unpretentious bloke. I'm sorry to learn that he's no onger with us

January 19, 2014 4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been collecting the carsons law DVD box sets ,,and looking up the actors I was saddened and surprised to see Noel has died,if only the entertainment reports on morning tv would tell us more than what the latest hollywood bimbo is up to ,,I might of known of his passing perhaps in the same year it happened, Robert

April 09, 2014 8:16 PM  
Anonymous Richard Moss said...

I worked with Noel a number of times over the years. He was a very fine colleague and a real gentleman. His manners and his style were almost from another era. I cherish many a good tale he recounted at intervals, and have nothing but fond memories of him and great sadness at his loss.

April 12, 2014 4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was just looking up actors who were in Carson's Law and found this blog about the late Noel Trevarthen. I always enjoyed seeing him on the screen and with his portrayal as Gerard showed what an excellent actor he truly was. I also remember him from the Rovers with Ted Hepple and Rowena Wallace. RIP

November 18, 2014 2:11 PM  
Blogger cinedux said...

Watched Tanemura,the Lion of Singapore.Noel has a brief but dramatic role in this epic.
Always gave good value.A champion.

September 20, 2015 8:04 PM  
Blogger scratcher s said...

I am having the very good fortune of watching "Dusty" as I write this. Noel's face is instantly recognisable from so many Australian productions. Bill Kerr and John Stanton are both in Dusty and I am thoroughly enjoying it.

Noel always seemed like a lovely bloke, and the posts here from those who knew him confirm that. Hence, he IS a good actor, because in Dusty he plays not such a likeable person.

Awful that he died so young. Does anyone know the cause?

April 30, 2016 10:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Noel passed of HIV related causes.

April 10, 2017 6:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is nasty and wrong. Noel died of lung cancer

June 21, 2017 8:16 PM  
Blogger cmccown said...

Does anyone have more biographical information on Noel? Spouse or significant other, children, where he studied acting, etc? I discovered him last night from his one line/the two shots of him in "Hard Day's Night." He was so handsome as to take my breath away and make me pause the movie to research him. It's lovely to hear that he was a kind, down-to-earth man, and I'd love to know more about him.

January 23, 2018 8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's very little info available on Noel. If you're in Australia you could try old newspapers and tv magazines held in libraries, otherwise I'd give Trove a try (an online library source). Also, I recently discovered a clip of him on YouTube from his days in Carson's Law - no biographical info, but great to see him on screen...

February 03, 2018 5:44 PM  

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