6/3/2008: ROBERT BRUNING DIES
Australian producer and actor Robert Bruning, 79, died suddenly on Tuesday March
4 in Wellington, New Zealand.
Robert was a regular guest performer in such iconic Australian series as
Homicide, The Sullivans and A Country Practice, and had lead roles in the 1970s
series, The Long Arm and The Godfathers, which he produced for the Nine Network.
He had substantial roles in many films including the 1970 version of Ned Kelly
starring Mick Jagger, and Sunday Too Far Away. Most recently he was on-screen
narrator in Hunt Angels. He worked as a television scriptwriter and was a script
editor on six series, 13 movies for television and two features.
Robert’s production credits, on sitcoms and variety as well as drama, add up to
200 hours of television. He is credited as having produced Australia’s first
telemovie, Is There Anybody There, and went on to produce 21 more telemovies. He
was heavily involved in the development of the series Blue Heelers. Not
surprisingly, he has many awards to his name.
In his book Australian Film 1978-1994, Scott Murray said of The Settlement, the
one feature Robert produced: “... mostly this is a precise and true study of
character and a telling depiction of Australian society at less than its
He was a fiercely independent producer who better fitted the television
production culture run by entrepreneurial characters such as Reg Grundy and
Hector Crawford than today’s industry, in which government agencies and
television networks hold a lot of power. He was a very cultured man, who had
extensive knowledge of a great range of subjects and always had a book on the
Robert was born in Dongara in Western Australia and lived for most of his life
in Sydney. His first professional role was as Roo, one of the two cane cutters
at the heart of Ray Lawler’s iconic Australian play The Summer of the
Seventeenth Doll. He was immediately snapped up by the late June Cann on behalf
of International Casting Service (ICS). Previously he had worked as an amateur
actor in the New Theatre in Newtown.
Robert was in New Zealand to be with his wife, Anne Bruning, while she worked on
the feature film The Lovely Bones. He had been swimming at the time of his
death: he liked to say that exercise could kill you.
He is survived by Anne, their son Nick, and three daughters from his previous
marriages, Lucie, Sophie and Ariane.
“When I die,” he used to tell Anne, “I want you to have a party, tell some lies
and get drunk.”
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Robert Bruning - in Sunday Too Far Away with Jack Thompson
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