Robert Menzies Biography
Robert Menzies is an Australian actor. He is famously known for playing the starring role in ‘Three Dollars’.
Robert Menzies Age
He was born on November 4, 1955. He is 63 years old as of 2018.
Robert Menzies Family
He is the grandson of former Australian Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies and his spouse Pattie Menzies.
Robert Menzies Wife
No information on his children is disclosed to the public.
Robert Menzies Children
He has three children; Heather, Kenneth, and Ian Menzies.
Robert Menzies Education Background
No information on his educational background and qualifications is disclosed to the public.
Robert Menzies Career
Menzies has appeared in several films which have made him famous within his 30-year old career.
Robert Menzies Net Worth
The actor’s net worth is not revealed.
Robert Menzies News
Getting inside outsiders
If ever there was a man born to play one of playwright and author Samuel Beckett’s marginalised subjects, it is Robert Menzies.
PHYSICALLY, if ever there was a man born to play one of playwright and author Samuel Beckett’s marginalised subjects, it is Melburnian Robert Menzies. He arrives at the rehearsal space in Sydney in blue shirt and jeans, his brown hair a tad unkempt and, for an actor with a commanding presence, his frame is surprisingly small and whippet thin.
“I hate these things,” he says. Despite his well-known dislike of interviews — stemming from journalists’ interest in his being a grandson of his namesake, Australia’s longest-serving prime minister — he weighs questions thoughtfully.
At other times, there’s an intense stare from those blue eyes, or the flash of a slightly gummy smile that shows he’s not completely wary.
Beckett’s work, which Menzies, 55, first read as a teenager, is funny, the actor insists: he doesn’t understand the writer’s dour reputation at all. He’s playing one of Beckett’s lesser-known tramps, the unnamed narrator of The End, whose clothes have been burned and replaced with a dead man’s garb.
Beckett spent many years living in France and started writing the 22-page first-person novella in English under the title Suite in 1946, but completed the work in French, after which the Dublin-born Protestant Irishman wrote virtually all his works in French to eschew stylised affectations from the more familiar English.
Menzies, who received excellent reviews when he performed the role in Sydney last year, plays the character with a low-volume Aussie accent one reviewer noted was at times “on the cusp of intelligibility”.
“I’m doing it in Australian accent because I’m Australian,” Menzies laughs. “To put on an Irish accent just would have seemed weird to me.”
Benedict Andrews, who directed Menzies as Henry IV in the Sydney Theatre Company’s The War of the Roses, calls him one of Australia’s greatest actors, giving “complex, intelligent, emotionally raw performances”. Menzies has said he is attracted to “tortured characters or outsiders or people who are on their own personal quests”.
Where does his empathy for outsiders come from? Long pause. “Um, I don’t know. It probably started during adolescence . . . you imagine yourself uniquely alone in whatever you’re going through.” His father was a real estate valuer, his mother a teacher of migrant English, and the family had a comfortable middle-class Melbourne life. Born in 1955, the third of six siblings, Menzies was the only one to pursue acting: his four brothers and sister became nurses, a gardener and a management consultant.
“I was a fairly solitary kind of adolescent and read a lot and listened to a lot of classical music. I guess the theatre became a refuge for me.”
At age 16 in 1972, he saw a production of The Tempest directed by Rex Cramphorn. His family had the “usual worries” that acting might leave him unemployed. Menzies enrolled in a law degree, but that lasted a term.
He determined he would be an actor, but a year spent in Tasmania strengthened his sense of Australianness. “To go away somewhere and do all my acting in a foreign accent would, I think, kill me,” he says. He headed to Sydney and enrolled in acting classes at the National Institute of Dramatic Art, graduating in 1977.
The Menzies name, though, was a hindrance. “When I first started, [a journalist] would have known nothing about me other than my name, and that’s all you would have wanted to talk about.
“That used to give me the shits. When I refused to talk about that, the interviewer would be completely nonplussed. And, of course, in a profession that traditionally leans to the left, [the politically conservative name] was not exactly an advantage . . .”
His grandfather died in 1978, when the actor was 22. “He saw me perform once, I think, when I was a kid. He died the year after I came out of NIDA, and during that period he was always quite ill anyway; he’d had a couple of strokes. He certainly wasn’t against what I was doing, and he had a number of friends who were actors.”
Indeed, the actor’s grandfather gave the green light to establish the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust the year before his grandson was born — though Prime Minister Menzies was selective in his arts taste, covering his eyes when Rudolf Nureyev danced in skin-tight white for the Australian Ballet. “I will open my eyes in the next act,” he reportedly said, “when I understand Dame Margot Fonteyn will command the stage.”
It’s curious to ponder what he might have made of his grandson as the tramp narrator in The End, with lines such as: “The earth makes a sound as of sighs and the last drops fall from the empty cloudless sky. A small boy, stretching out his hands and looking up at the blue sky, asked his mother how such a thing was possible. F— off, she said.”
Perhaps it’s best we’ll never know.