Person - Alan White

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ALAN WHITE (1924 - 2013)

Born to English parents at Five Dock and educated at Fort Street High, curly-haired tall and fair Alan White was a 2GB “Youth Show” veteran when he was conscripted into the Second World War and ended up in the Australian Army Theatre, working with Peter Finch.

Love scenes were cut from scripts when playing in parts of New Guinea where locals in the front stalls (coconut palm logs) were “allegedly easily aroused to lewd behaviour in public”. In the troupe a chap called Antonio who mangled the English language (“What did I done?”) called out to Alan when he was writing a letter “How do you spell worded?” Alan: “W-o-r-d-e-d”. Antonio: “It don’t look right to me”. “What’s the sentence it’s in?” “It cost a lot of money but it was worded”. (Worth it!)

A fine actor who could step in at a moment’s notice, a good organiser and cheerful, White acted with the Minerva Theatre and was in Mercury Players’ The Broken Pitcher in 1946 with Peter Finch.

With NT he acted in 1947 in The Shepherd and the Hunter and Woman Bites Dog. He toured with Dial M for Murder and acted in radio drama, winning, with Dinah Shearing, the 1952 Macquarie awards.

Married, he went to England in 1954, got a good agent, was a spear-carrying extra in Olivier’s film Richard 111, followed by a play at the Victoria Palace, then a seven-year film contract with Associated British Pictures, meaning security but no freedom to choose parts. He had a stint in The Mousetrap which helped with the costs of raising a family.

In the 1980s White worked with the National Theatre. He acted in Arthur Miller’s The Price directed by the author.

White kept his Australian passport but never returned home. He died on 4 October 2013. His son researched the author Henry James.

AusStage Alan White material 

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