Page last updated at 11:19 GMT, Wednesday, 9 September 2009 12:19 UK

Thunderbirds actor Barrett dies

Ray Barrett, Geoffrey Keen and Philip Latham in The Troubleshooters
Ray Barrett (l) found fame in TV series The Troubleshooters

Veteran Australian actor Ray Barrett, who voiced some of the puppets on the Thunderbirds and Stingray, has died at the age of 82, his agent has confirmed.

Barrett, who was a regular fixture on British TV in the 1960s, also appeared in films and was last seen on screen as Nicole Kidman's father in Australia.

He died in hospital from a brain haemorrhage after falling over at home, his agent Jane Cameron said.

"He was a wonderful, erudite and funny man," she said.

"He was such a skilled actor that he was always a very solid presence on the screen."

Barrett was born in Brisbane, Queensland and moved to England in the late 1950s to star in the long-running British TV series The Troubleshooters.

He also appeared in Doctor Who, The Saint and Dixon of Dock Green, and voiced John Tracy in puppet adventure show Thunderbirds.

Craggy features

On returning to his homeland in the 1970s, he immersed himself in the country's rejuvenated film industry.

His craggy features and piercing gaze made him perfectly suited for playing hard men.

His most famous role was as Constable Farrell in Fred Schepisi's 1978 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith.

An independent film tackling racism in Australia, its story was told from the point of view of an Aborigine who experiences a catalogue of injustices.

The film won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival and won Barrett an Australian Film Industry award for best supporting actor.

Five years later he picked up a best actor prize for his role in Goodbye Paradise, as a disgraced former policeman who uncovers corruption in the force.

Barrett was also presented with the AFI's Longford Life Achievement award in 2005.

The actor is survived by his third wife, Gaye, and his three children.

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