New Zealand actor Frank Whitten, best known as Ted “Grandpa” West on Outrageous Fortune has died, aged 68.
Whitten died peacefully in his sleep on Saturday morning.
Outrageous Fortune star Robyn Malcolm spoke on behalf of the cast saying: “We feel deeply for Frank’s family and our thoughts, love and grief are with them.
“We were Frank’s screen family for only a few years, but in that time we got to know him and adore him as a wicked, irreverent man of lethal wit, a heart of gold and one of the best actors we will ever work with.
“He never said alot but when he did it mattered. He’ll hate that we are saying lovely things about him but tough Frank – you deserve it.”
Whitten’s first TV role was in a mid-80’s NZ series Heroes opposite Michael Hurst and Jay Laga-aia. It followed working in UK children’s theatre and as a tutor at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, and film work in New Zealand.
He appeared in several Australian productions including Police Rescue, Murder Call, Heartbreak High, Phoenix, Changi, Secrets, Good Guys Bad Guys, All Saints, The Leaving of Liverpool, Fireflies, Love My Way and Hell Has Harbour Views. His movies included Doing Time for Patsy Cline, The Man Who Sued God, Peter Pan along with various stage work for Sydney Theatre Company and Belvoir Street.
South Pacific Pictures chief executive John Barnett said he was “deply saddened” to hear of Whitten’s passing.
“Most recently we have been particularly proud to have worked with him through six seasons of Outrageous Fortune, as he brought the iconic role of Grandpa into the homes of hundreds of thousands of viewers, both in New Zealand and around the world,” he said.
“We will miss him very much.
Members of New Zealand’s acting community were reported to be gathering to mourn their colleague in bars on Saturday.