Actor Brian Wenzel Dies After 75-Year Career

Actor Brian Wenzel Dies After 75-Year Career

Australian actor Brian Wenzel has passed away at the age of 94, according to a report by Women’s Day Magazine. Wenzel’s wife Linda shared the news with their friend, entertainment journalist Craig Bennett, on Monday. Fans are looking back and marveling at Wenzel’s 75-year-long career in the TV business.

Wenzel was best known to most fans for playing Sgt. Frank Gilroy on the Australian TV show A Country Practice from 1981 to 1993. He was married to Linda for 70 years, and he would have turned 95 on May 24 of this year. Wenzel reportedly died in a nursing home in Adelaide where he had lived since Sept. 2022. He suffered from dementia, and had previously had two small strokes in 2018.

(Photo: Patrick Riviere / Getty Images)

Wenzel was born in 1929 and lived through some incredible upheavals in the entertainment business. He was one of eight children raised by working class parents in a South Australian suburb, though he ran away several times and left for good at the age of 14. In a 2017 interview with The Herald Sun, Wenzel said that he left his family to take a job as a pony groom and dog trainer with the Sole Brothers’ Circus.

Wenzel got his first professional acting role at the age of 17 in a comedy stage play. He pursued the craft from then on, often working with the Adelaide Festival of Arts and the South Australian Theatre Company. He finally made it to TV in the late 1960s, with small roles on several drama series at the time. He and Linda moved to Sydney so he could get to more auditions, and A Country Practice became his big break.

A Country Practice was a serial or soap opera, though its format was unique compared to other shows in the genre. It presented a self-contained narrative each week with minimal cliffhangers to keep viewers coming back. However, fans reportedly came back week after week for love of the characters – including Constable Frank Gilroy, who would be promoted to Sergeant over the course of the show’s run. Wenzel played an affable policeman for the town and even got to play out his retirement on screen – taking on a new role as a bartender and cook.

This and another role as a police officer on Home Sweet Home reportedly made Wenzel very popular with real-life police. He was presented with an authentic police jacket in New South Wales, in addition to winning a Silver Logie for his performance. However, when A Country Practice was revived briefly in 1994, Wenzel opted not to return.

Wenzel is survived by his wife Linda and many friends and colleagues who are singing his praises this week on social media. At the time of this writing, A Country Practice is not available to stream in the U.S.


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