Michael Brunner

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Michael Brunner (193*-2012). Actor.


He built a yacht while living in Johannesburg which was launched and he lived on board with his wife for years at the Bluff Yacht Club in Durban. Ultimately he sold it and lived in his caravan, travelling across South Africa.

He died in August 2012 in the Western Cape village of Prince Albert.



Michael began his acting career in 1952 at St. Andrew's College in Grahamstown, playing Laertes in Hamlet. He then went on to play the leads in Rope Enough, The Four Winds and the The Black Sheep of the Family in reportory.

From 1954-64 Michael gave up the theatre and became a farmer, but in 1965 returned to the theatre. Originally a top amateur actor from Port Elizabeth, Brunner left the city in the 1980s for Johannesburg, where he starred in a string of movies and television series before retiring in 2005.

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

He had roles in Children of a Lesser God (Market Theatre, 1983); Tales of Beatrix Potter (Children's Theatre , 1983); Jack and the Beanstalk (Children's Theatre, 1984).

He played the leading role in Holy Man in 1986, which was produced for CAPAB at the Opera House and on a tour through the Eastern Cape.

Actor and director Alan Williams said he had fond memories of working with Brunner in the late 1960s and early 1970s before Brunner left Port Elizabeth. Productions the pair had worked on together included The Diary of Anne Frank and Twelve Angry Men.

Quoted from Pack of Lies programme notes wherein he played the role of Peter in 1986: ' Such diverse productions as Rollo, Come Back, Little Sheba, Life With Father, and Fiddler on the Roof have won Michael best actor of the year award in Port Elizabeth four times. Other credits include Macbeth, Measure for Measure, Maynardville (1987), Children of a Lesser God at the Market Theatre, PACOFS's Arms and the Man, Buried Inside Extra, PACT's Vereeniging, Vereeniging in Afrikaans, The Man Who Came to Dinner and Captain Orton in The King and I at the Civic Theatre. For Shirley Firth Productions he played in Brighton Beach Memoirs.

His film and TV credits range from Two Weeks in Paradise, Deadly Consequence, The Sheltering Desert (1991), Jock of the Bushveld, 'n Saak van Geloof (2011) and Vyfster, to playing the role of Taffy Williams in the series 1922. One of his most popular roles was that of Skip Buller in hit soap opera Isidingo. He also played in the original version of The Villagers, which was the first South African soap opera on SABC TV.

Awards, etc


Pack of Lies programme notes of the run at the Market Theatre in 1985.

Limelight 1983/84;

Obituary published in The Herald, 20 August 2012.

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