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Article in 'Smoke and Mirrors Magazine' 7 March 2008 -

Australian producer and actor Robert Bruning, 79, died suddenly on Tuesday March 4 in Wellington, New Zealand.

Robert was a regular guest performer in such iconic Australian series as Homicide, The Sullivans and A Country Practice, and had lead roles in the 1970s series, The Long Arm and The Godfathers, which he produced for the Nine Network.

He had substantial roles in many films including the 1970 version of Ned Kelly starring Mick Jagger, and Sunday Too Far Away. Most recently he was on-screen narrator in Hunt Angels. He worked as a television scriptwriter and was a script editor on six series, 13 movies for television and two features.

Robert’s production credits, on sitcoms and variety as well as drama, add up to 200 hours of television. He is credited as having produced Australia’s first telemovie, Is There Anybody There, and went on to produce 21 more telemovies. He was heavily involved in the development of the series Blue Heelers. Not surprisingly, he has many awards to his name.

In his book Australian Film 1978-1994, Scott Murray said of The Settlement, the one feature Robert produced: “... mostly this is a precise and true study of character and a telling depiction of Australian society at less than its finest”.

He was a fiercely independent producer who better fitted the television production culture run by entrepreneurial characters such as Reg Grundy and Hector Crawford than today’s industry, in which government agencies and television networks hold a lot of power. He was a very cultured man, who had extensive knowledge of a great range of subjects and always had a book on the go.

Robert was born in Dongara in Western Australia and lived for most of his life in Sydney. His first professional role was as Roo, one of the two cane cutters at the heart of Ray Lawler’s iconic Australian play The Summer of the Seventeenth Doll. He was immediately snapped up by the late June Cann on behalf of International Casting Service (ICS). Previously he had worked as an amateur actor in the New Theatre in Newtown.

Robert was in New Zealand to be with his wife, Anne Bruning, while she worked on the feature film The Lovely Bones. He had been swimming at the time of his death: he liked to say that exercise could kill you.

He is survived by Anne, their son Nick, and three daughters from his previous marriages, Lucie, Sophie and Ariane.

“When I die,” he used to tell Anne, “I want you to have a party, tell some lies and get drunk.”

A complete list of Robert's achievements in the film and television industry as an actor, narrator, script writer, script editor and producer is available at

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