Person - Les Foxcroft

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CLEMENT LESLIE FOXCROFT (1918 - 2004)

A good, reliable character actor, Les kept working until he retired in his early 80s. His career started in Melbourne where he was working in a factory after leaving home at age 15. One day he "wandered into this New Theatre and I was fascinated watching these people learning to act. Somebody came over to me and said, 'Are you interested in acting?' I said, 'Oh, not really. I can't act.' He said, 'Well, how do you know until you try?"' Les joined Melbourne New Theatre and learned the ropes under the guidance of Eric Reiman in shows such as Showdown 1941 directed by Hilda Esson and David Newmark, and designed by Bill Constable .

With Sydney NT he was in a 1970 Workshop Cassandra Singing followed by the lead in Brecht’s Herr Puntila and his Man Matti 1970, and made a video appearance in The Freedom of the City 1975.

Les was born in Fitzroy, Melbourne, and spent his childhood in Geelong during the Depression. His mother died when he was six months old; his stepmother had little love for the young boy. Foxcroft learnt to box and found this handy when he began selling newspapers outside the Geelong cinemas, where you had to fight for your territory. It was watching films in cinemas that seeded his passion for performing.

During the Second World War Les was stationed with the air force in New Guinea. Postwar he moved to Sydney, joined Actors Equity in 1947 and spent ten years working in radio and the clubs. He worked on Channel 7’s Captain Fortune Show, moved to Brisbane, had an unsuccessful marriage and returned to Sydney in 1967.

His many roles included appearances in television’s Riptide, Skippy, The Rovers, Boney, Dynasty, Rush, Ben Hall, Certain Women, Pig in a Poke, Homicide, Matlock Police, Carson’s Law, Number 96, Young Doctors, Kingswood Country, A Country Practice, Sons and Daughters, and All Saints; on stage with J C Williamsons, The Ensemble, Independent, Sydney Theatre Company, Q Theatre and in Nimrod’s A Floating World, ; on film in Newsfront, Maybe This Time, Phar Lap, Bliss and The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (with others who worked at NT: Rob Steele, Arthur Dignam, Bill Charlton and Alan Hardy) . He could take out his false teeth and used this to advantage playing toothless old men in Luke’s Kingdom, Ride A Wild Pony, Ben Hall and Rush.

Les lived in Darlinghurst and frequented Fellini’s coffee shop in Victoria Street. He died in July 2004, survived by daughters Susan Foxcroft and Brenda Chow, son-in-law Bill and three grandchildren.

Les's obituary was published in the Sydney Morning Herald 28 July 2004. The National Library of Australia has his Press cuttings file.


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