Kenneth Hendel

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Kenneth Hendel (1931-2006) was an English-born actor and broadcaster who lived and worked in South Africa for the last 34 years of his life.



Kenneth Hendel was born and spent his youth in the East End of London, England.


He graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) [1] in London.


After completing his training at RADA he started working as a professional actor in London. His credits include many West End productions and roles in television dramas and series produced in England. In the early 1970s he starred opposite Honor Blackman [2] in Frederick Knott's [3] popular drama Wait Until Dark [4] and in 1972 Pieter Toerien brought him to South Africa for a production of this play. He remained in South Africa, where he worked on stage, television and mostly on radio at the SABC until 1988 when he was rendered paraplegic after unsuccessful spinal surgery and forced to take early retirement from the SABC. He remained in South Africa until his death in 2006 in Johannesburg.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

Roles in stage productions include: The role of Roat in the Toerien-Firth Company production of Wait Until Dark (1972); The Man in Not Adultery, but Adulteration, opposite Bess Finney (1974); Dr Freytag in The Happiness Cage (1974); Gonzalo in The Tempest, staged by PACT (1975); Dr Adcock in Who Saw Him Die? (1975); For the official opening of the Market Theatre on 19 October 1976 Kenneth Hendel played the role of the Marquis de Sade in The Company’s production of Peter Weiss’s Marat/Sade directed by Barney Simon; Golda, directed by Leonard Schach for PACT (1978); The Monkey Walk in the Baxter Studio (1986)

As a stage director his productions include: Murder in Mind (1977), Sugar and Spice with Bess Finney in the Baxter Studio (1978); The Killing of Sister George in the Baxter Studio (1979); Misery in the Baxter Studio (19**);

Roles in feature films include: Davidson in The Reckoning (1970); The Pimp in Cool It Carol (1970); Rodriguez in Die Screaming Marianne (1971); Dr Hartmann in Prisoners of the Lost Universe (1983); Lord Charles Somerset in Dr James Barry, a TV-film for SABC TV-1 (1976); George Bailey in An African Dream (1987); For a complete filmography see IMDb [5]

Kenneth Hendel was very active in broadcast radio in South Africa, as an actor and also as a writer. He wrote many series for Springbok Radio, including Tales of Antiquity, Medical File and The Bright Flame and was ultimately appointed as Head of Drama at Springbok Radio. When Springbok closed he was appointed head of magazine programmes for the English service of the SABC, a position he held until his medical retirement in 1988. He continued writing radio dramas after his retirement.

Awards, etc


Artslink [6]

Tucker, 1997.

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