Feb. 15th, 2011

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Frank Whitten has died, too young.

He's known to most New Zealanders primarily for the Speights ads and for playing Grandpa in Outrageous Fortune, but to me he's always been a theatre actor. And not just any old actor. I remember seeing, at the late lamented Mercury, a production of Amadeus directed by Simon Phillips (who swiftly moved to Oz, alas) and starring Frank as Salieri. I've seen theatre in five countries, and this was the most stunning theatrical production I've experienced. Even now, thinking about Frank transforming from the old to the young Salieri while simply getting out of a chair sends chills down my spine.

I hope he enjoyed the money and fame he found in the latter part of his career. I wish he'd had longer to enjoy it. I'll miss him.

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