Character actor Ross Higgins, best known as the inimitable ‘Ted Bullpitt’ from Kingswood Country, has died aged 85.
Kingswood Country producer Tony Sattler said Higgins died in hospital and had been unwell for sometime.
“He has been in hospital for the past few weeks,” he told ABC.
Higgins created the character of the ocker Australian on The Naked Vicar Show in 1977, alongside Kevin Goldbsy and Noeline Brown. It would go on to become one of Australia’s most loved sitcom characters.
The spin-off series Kingswood Country ran from 1980 – 1984 and was a ratings hit tackling racism in the suburbs. Phrases such as “Not the Kingswood” and “Pickle Me Grandmother” were quickly snaffled into the Australian lexicon.
But a revival of the character in Bullpitt! in 1997 failed to match its success, seen as no longer politically correct.
Higgins’ broadcasting career began at Radio 2GB in 1946 including The Jack Davey Show, leading to music performances with Peter Dawson, Slim Dusty and Mel Tormé. He was a prolific voice-over artist, most notably as the voice of Louie the Fly for Mortein and film voice overs.
TV credits included Singalong, Bobby Limb’s Sound of Music, Motel, Division 4, Skippy, Riptide, Rush, The Story of Johnny O’Keefe, Richmond Hill, Late for School and Pizza. Film credits included Dot and the Kangaroo, Fatty Finn, Ginger Meggs and Epic.
“Ross was unique — he was part of that generation who moved from vaudeville and the golden years of radio,” Actor Lex Marinos said.
“Television destroyed many of those careers, but Ross was one of the few who made it through and transferred those extraordinary skills to TV.”