Veteran actor and broadcaster has died

Buz Publicity
11/20/2006 14:03:27

Veteran actor and broadcaster, Kenneth Hendel has died in Johannesburg at the age of 75.

He was born and educated within the sound of Bow Bells in the East End of London. After graduating from RADA, he began a distinguished career in the theatre -ranging from the classics to the commercial. His credits included the West End productions of Lionel Barts FINGS AINT WOT THEY USED TO BE; THE PRINCESS, CHANGING LINES Ė in television he worked with MORECAMBE AND WISE and in the long running series THE PROTECTORS, Z CARS and HASSAN.

He was resident villain in many of the now cult Pete Walker films such as THE FOUR DIMENSIONS OF GRETA and DIE SCREAMING MARIANNE.

In the early seventies he starred opposite Honor Blackman in Frederick Knotts classic thriller WAIT UNTIL DARK playing for many years at the Strand and Duchess Theatre. It was this play that brought him to South Africa.

In 1972, Pieter Toerien and Shirley Firth brought him to the Intimate Theatre to re-create the role of Roat in WAIT UNTIL DARK and he stayed on for the remaining 34 years of his life. He gave a number of memorable performances in plays for PACT such as THE HAPPINESS CAGE, YING YANG CINDERS, A TRIBUTE TO LILY LAMONT, LONDON ASSURANCE the controversial Robert MOHRíS THE TEMPEST. He was the first leading man on the main stage of the Market Theatre playing the Marquis de Sade in MARAT SADE and followed that performance with THE COMEDIANS directed by Leonard Schach.

Along with his lifelong friend and partner, Colin Law, he produced acted and directed a number of notable plays such as MURDER IN MIND; THE KILLING OF SISTER GEORGE and the South East Asian tour of DL Coburnís Pulitzer Prize play THE GIN GAME.

His television career in South Africa included roles in the SABC series: THE SETTLERS; SHE; THE STORY OF AN AFRICAN FARM. His films made in South Africa included AN AFRICAN DREAM and PRISONERS OF THE LOST UNIVERSE with Kay Lenz and Richard Hatch.

It is was radio that captured his attention in South Africa and he wrote many series for Springbok Radio : TALES OF ANTIQUITY; MEDICAL FILE, THE BRIGHT FLAME which ultimately led him to taking the position of head of Drama for Springbok Radio. When Springbok closed he was appointed head of magazine programmes for the English service of the SABC.

In 1988, fate dealt Kenneth a cruel blow- he was rendered paraplegic after unsuccessful spinal surgery and forced to take early retirement from the SABC.

But retire is something Kenneth could never do- he was indefatigable in his writing- creating more radio dramas for the fledgling Radio South Africa. He also wrote two unpublished novels about his early life in the war torn East End.

There will be cremation service at the Thom Kight Chapel in Mayfair Johannesburg on Tuesday, 21st November 2006 at 2.00pm.

Bridget van Oerle
BUZ Publicity
011 673 4995 / 9272 / 083 263 6991
Arts and Culture Trust Publicist of the Year 1999 and 2004
PO BOX 1149 Auckland Park 2006