David Charles Lawrence
12 February 1941
|Died||10 June 1995 54) (aged|
Wellington, New Zealand
Bruno Lawrence (12 February 1941 –10 June 1995) was an English-New Zealand musician and actor.
Initially notable as a musician and founder of 1970s ensemble Blerta, he went on to well-regarded roles in several major films. His television work included starring in 1990s era Australian satirical series Frontline .
Born David Charles Lawrence in Worthing, West Sussex, England, he moved with his family to New Zealand in 1946. The family settled in New Plymouth before relocating to Wellington in 1948.
Lawrence spent most of his life in New Zealand, but also worked extensively in Australia. He was a jazz and rock drummer in many bands, including two years with Max Merritt & The Meteors in Sydney, Quincy Conserve,Blerta, and The Crocodiles. His last recording was with Bernie McGann, Larry Gales and Jonathan Crayford on "Jazz at the St. James" in 1989. A remarkable show, it was repeated in 1990, this time with Vince Jones on vocals, Dave Addis on saxophone, Jonathan Crayford on piano, Rolf Stube on bass and added the New Zealand String Quartet.
In the early 1970s, Lawrence founded Blerta ("Bruno Lawrence's Electric Revelation and Travelling Apparition"). The multi and theatrical co-operative toured New Zealand and in parts of Australia. Blerta saw him performing alongside many people he would work with later as an actor, including director Geoff Murphy, and actors Martyn Sanderson and Ian Watkin.
Lawrence began acting in short films in the late 1960s. He won his first acting award, for television play Time Out, in 1971, although at this point music took up the majority of his time. By the late 1980s he had become one of New Zealand's most recognised actors on his own soil. Between 1981 and 1986 he was a much loved feature of many local films; he continued to act in occasional NZ productions through until 1993.
Lawrence's breakthrough movie role was relationship drama Smash Palace (1981). Playing the former race car driver who leaves with his daughter after the breakdown of his marriage, Bruno won an award at the Manila Film Festival, and acclaim from American critic Pauline Kael. Further acclaim came with his leading role as the lone scientist in Geoff Murphy's end-of-the-world tale, The Quiet Earth (1985), for which Bruno also helped write the script. He had earlier acted in Murphy's Utu (1983), about the New Zealand Wars of the 1860s, and cameoed in his breakthrough film Goodbye Pork Pie (1981). The Los Angeles Times compared his work in 1984 drama Heart of the Stag to that of "a young Brando".
Bruno's Australian roles included Anthony Hopkins movie Spotswood (aka The Efficiency Expert), Colleen McCullough adaptation An Indecent Obsession (playing a blind man), and 1986 miniseries The Great Bookie Robbery (playing gun-loving robber Cracka Park). In 1990, he portrayed John Peterson in the film, The Rogue Stallion . His last and, at least in Australia, best-known screen role was as devious, golf-loving TV producer Brian Thompson in 1990s satirical TV series Frontline .
In 1994 while enjoying the success of the Australian television series Frontline, Lawrence was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. He died in Wellington, New Zealand, on 10 June 1995 at the age of 54.
A biography, Bruno: The Bruno Lawrence Story by Roger Booth, and television documentary Numero Bruno (2000, directed by Steve La Hood),cover his life and work. Lawrence is also featured in compilation documentary Blerta Revisited (2001, directed by Geoff Murphy).
This is a selection of notable appearances.
The Aotearoa Music Awards (previously known as New Zealand Music Awards (NZMA)) are an annual awards night celebrating excellence in New Zealand music and have been presented annually since 1965.
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result||Ref.|
|1965||"Bruno Do That Thing"||Single of the Year||Nominated|
New Zealand cinema can refer to films made by New Zealand-based production companies in New Zealand. However, it may also refer to films made about New Zealand by filmmakers from other countries. Due to the comparatively small size of its film industry, New Zealand produces many films that are co-financed by overseas companies.
Utu is a 1983 New Zealand film directed and co-written by Geoff Murphy; starring Anzac Wallace as Te Wheke, a warrior who sets out to get vengeance after British forces kill his people, Bruno Lawrence and Kelly Johnson. Sometimes described as "a Maori Western", Utu was reputed to have one of the largest budgets for a New Zealand film up until that time.
Geoffrey Peter Murphy was a New Zealand filmmaker, producer, director, and screenwriter best known for his work during the renaissance of New Zealand cinema that began in the second half of the 1970s. His second feature Goodbye Pork Pie (1981) was the first New Zealand film to win major commercial success on its own soil. Murphy directed several Hollywood features during the 1990s, before returning to New Zealand as second-unit director on The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. Murphy was also at different times a scriptwriter, special effects technician, schoolteacher and trumpet player. He was married to Merata Mita, also a film director, actor, writer.
Goodbye Pork Pie is a 1981 New Zealand comedy film directed by Geoff Murphy, co-produced by Murphy and Nigel Hutchinson, and written by Geoff Murphy and Ian Mune. The film was New Zealand's first large-scale local hit. One book described it as Easy Rider meets the Keystone Cops.
The Crocodiles was a New Zealand pop/new wave band formed in 1979 with lead singer Jenny Morris, who went on to commercial success as a solo artist in Australia; and later included drummer Barton Price, who subsequently joined Sardine v and then Models. The Crocodiles top 20 hit single in New Zealand was "Tears" in 1980 from debut album, Tears; a second album, Looking at Ourselves, appeared in November. The band relocated to Australia in February 1981 but disbanded in July without further releases.
Fane Michael Flaws was a New Zealand musician, songwriter, and artist.
Blerta was a New Zealand musical and theatrical co-operative active from 1971 until 1975.
Warren Lee Tamahori is a New Zealand filmmaker best known for directing the 1994 film Once Were Warriors, the 2001 film Along Came a Spider and 2002's James Bond film Die Another Day.
John Bach is a Welsh-born New Zealand actor who has acted on stage, television and film over a period of more than four decades. Though born in Wales, he has spent most of his career living and working in New Zealand.
The Quiet Earth is a 1985 New Zealand post-apocalyptic science fiction film directed by Geoff Murphy and starring Bruno Lawrence, Alison Routledge and Peter Smith as three survivors of a cataclysmic disaster. It is loosely based on the 1981 science fiction novel of the same name by Craig Harrison. Other sources of inspiration have been suggested: the 1954 novel I Am Legend, Dawn of the Dead, and especially the 1959 film The World, the Flesh and the Devil, of which it has been called an unofficial remake.
Dame Gaylene Mary Preston is a New Zealand filmmaker with a particular interest in documentary films.
William Robert Stalker was a New Zealand actor, most famous for his roles in television, both in his native country and Australia
Michael J. Horton is a film editor who works primarily in New Zealand. He was nominated for an Academy Award for the 2002 film The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers that was directed by Peter Jackson.
Wi Kuki Kaa was a New Zealand actor in film, theatre and television. He was from the Maori tribes of Ngati Porou and Ngati Kahungunu.
Merata Mita was a New Zealand filmmaker and a key figure in the growth of the Māori screen industry. She was from the Māori iwi of Ngāti Pikiao and Ngāi Te Rangi.
Martyn Sanderson was an actor, director, producer, writer and poet from New Zealand. Described as one of the founding fathers of modern theatre in New Zealand. In New Zealand he had appearances in 26 films, but he also worked internationally including in Australia and Samoa.
Mark Joffe is one of Australia's leading film and television directors, having directed six feature films to critical acclaim and commercial success and over one hundred and twenty hours of quality television drama. Mark's features include The Man Who Sued God ; the critically acclaimed and commercially successful Cosi and the multi-award-winning Spotswood both for Miramax; and for Working Title, The Matchmaker. The Man Who Sued God was an international hit achieved No.1 over consecutive weeks and grossed over $8.5 million at the Australian box office. Mark directed the feature film Grievous Bodily Harm ; and the children's short feature Boy Soldiers which was nominated for an International Emmy and won the Liv Ullmann Peace Prize, Chicago Children's Film Festival.
Timothy James Gordon Eliott was a New Zealand actor.
Pork Pie is a 2017 comedy road movie written and directed by New Zealander Matt Murphy and produced by Tom Hern. The film is a remake of the 1981 movie Goodbye Pork Pie, the first New Zealand film to win a substantial local audience. The remake stars Dean O'Gorman, James Rolleston and Ashleigh Cummings as a trio of accidental outlaws who travel the length of New Zealand in a stolen orange New Mini. The film was scored by Jonathan Crayford.
Anzac Hohepa Wallace, also known as Zac Wallace, born Norman Pene Rewiri, was a New Zealand actor and former trade union delegate. He is best known for his role as Te Wheke in the 1983 New Zealand film Utu.