|Born||Brian Thomas Wenzel
24 May 1929
Adelaide, South Australia
|Years active||1968–2002, 2009–|
|Known for||A Country Practice|
Brian Thomas Wenzel (born 24 May 1929 in Adelaide, South Australia) is an Australian character actor, and comedian who has been in the entertainment business for 73-years, including circus, stage, television and film, however remains most famous for his long running-role as town policeman Sergeant Frank Gilroy in the fictional Wandin Valley, an original character on television program A Country Practice. from its inception in 1981 until the series conclusion in 1993.
Wenzel had an unsettled early life and spent much of his childhood in remand homes, and ran away several times, including joining the circus at the age of 14, as a horse groom and dog trainer. His first performance in an acting role came at the age of 17, when he appeared in a comedy stage play, he started acting professionally in 1945.
Wenzel appeared in the drama series Matlock Police, Homicide, The Young Doctors and Certain Women. It was the role in Certain Women that won him the part of policeman Sgt. Frank Gilroy in A Country Practice. Wenzel was an original cast member in the show and remained along with Shane Porteous through the entire series, The popularity of the Frank Gilroy character, in the program since its inception, won a Silver Logie for Wenzel.
Wenzel became very popular with the NSW Police due to his role as Sgt. Gilroy, and was once presented with a leather police jacket from former commissioner John Avery (the fictional country town of Wandin Valley was in New South Wales, thus Frank Gilroy was a "member" of the NSW Police).
He appeared in the David Williamson play, Travelling North, in 2000. Wenzel also appeared in a guest role on the soap Neighbours. He appeared in Marshall Law in 2002, his most recent appearance is in John Doe: Vigilante.
In 2009 Wenzel appeared in a TV commercial in the role for a sexual dysfunction therapy. His Sgt. Gilroy (now 80 years old), arrives to save the day when a newlywed wife complains about her husband "speeding" in the sack – and then prosecutes him in court. This commercial created much controversy and Wenzel was featured on A Current Affair, defending the commercial and stating that he was "an actor and this is what I do" and being thrown into the spotlight after almost 20 years out of it. In May, he appeared on a spoof of the ad that was aired on Rove Live.
Wenzel remains active in the industry, appearing in television commercials, and in cameos in television and film. His ACP co-star Lorrae Desmond however has now retired from the entertainment industry.
A Country Practice re-boot
Following the death of Joyce Jacobs on 15 September 2013 at the age of 91, Wenzel is the oldest surviving main cast member of A Country Practice. Both Wenzel and Jacobs appeared in the first episode of A Country Practice in 1981 and stayed with the show until 1993. In 1993, the series was cancelled by the Seven Network and pick-up by rival Network Ten for a single season in 1994, with a new setting and mostly new cast, though unlike Jacobs who stayed with the show, Wenzel did not reprise his role as Frank Gilroy on the ACP reboot.
Wenzel has been married for 59 years.
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1 "Country Practice cop patrols bedrooms in weirdest role". Archived from the original on 10 Mar 2009.