Ray Barrett

Last updated 09 January 2020

Ray Barrett (1927-2009)
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Raymond Charles Barrett

Born: Monday 2nd May 1927
Died: Tuesday 8th September 2009 (age: 82)


Ray Barrett was an Australian actor. He was one of the more popular leading men on British television in the 1960s, where he was best known for his appearances in The Troubleshooters (1965 to 1971). Back in Australia he was a leading man in many TV series over the years.

Barrett was born in Brisbane, Queensland. He was educated at Brisbane State High School. He was fascinated by radio from an early age and won an on-air talent competition in 1939. At the age of 12 he won an eisteddfod that was broadcast on 4BH radio, with a musical monologue about a dog named 'Paddy'. This was to set him on a different path from his dream of boat-building. Many acting jobs on Australian radio followed but he left Brisbane for Sydney in 1954 and then travelled further from Australia to England in 1957.

He was given character and tough guy roles from an unusually young age. In Britain he played one of the lead roles in the British TV series Emergency - Ward 10 and later played one of the main characters, hard-nosed oilman Peter Thornton, in the long-running BBC series about the oil industry, The Troubleshooters. He was also the voice of a number of characters in Gerry Anderson marionette series: he voiced Commander Shore and Titan in Stingray and later was John Tracy, the Hood and many of the extra characters in Thunderbirds. He appeared as a murderer in the Doctor Who serial "The Rescue" in 1965.

It was only in the following decades that he emerged to big-screen stardom in his native country, earning roles as a central character in many TV series. Barrett was the prime minister (who was assassinated) in Burn the Butterflies and a tough miner in Golden Soak. He also had secondary roles in many others, including Something in the Air. He appeared in such films as Don's Party and won the 2005 Australian Film Institute Longford Life Achievement Award. His last appearance was in Australia in 2008.

Barrett appeared in a film about the release of the Leyland P76 in 1973 with Noel Ferrier, Walter Sullivan, Katy Wild and Nick Tate (The Carmakers).