Gordon Stephen Piper
3 June 1932
Cheltenham, Sydney, Australia
|Died||18 September 2004 (aged 72)|
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
|Television||Robert "Bob" Hatfield on A Country Practice|
|Spouse(s)||Judith Ann Price (d. 1981)|
|Children||Kerrin -Gai and Kim Piper|
|Website||Gordon Piper official website|
Gordon Stephen Piper (3 June 1932 – 18 September 2004) was an Australian actor, theatre director and scriptwriter active in all facets of the industry including radio, stage, television (including soap opera and TV movies) and film. He remains best known as plumber Bob Hatfield in A Country Practice.
Piper was born on 3 June 1932 to parents Clive Reginald Piper and Mildred Nelly Piper (nee Johnson) on their dairy farm in the Sydney suburb of Cheltenham. He began performing as a child, singing soprano for the Sydney Boys' Choir and making his radio debut with a choir on 2CF.
Piper began his professional career acting in radio plays, and later branched out to touring variety acts which toured local pubs and clubs. He worked as a television extra for several years, before taking to the stage for a theatre career. Notable roles in the 1970s included a long-running stint in the play Dimboola, and a role as a bartender in the film My Brilliant Career.
Piper is best known for his long-term role as town plumber Robert Menzies "Bob" Hatfield in the television soap A Country Practice, appearing from episode 4 of that series in 1981 until 1992, becoming one of the longest-serving actors in an Australian drama series, until he was written out of the series with co-star Syd Heylen as the producers wanted to concentrate on a younger cast and an updated formula. The decision was later regretted and co-star Brian Wenzel agreed in an interview in TV Week that the two actors were a large part of the series' comedic storylines. Other television roles included Homicide, Boney, Spyforce, and the made for TV film Hector's Bunyip. He appeared in the film The Dark Room.
Piper served as the associate director of the Arts Council of New South Wales. He was also a founding member of P.A.C.T. (Producers, Actors, Composers and Talents), one of the best known actors' studios in Sydney. He and actor Leonard Teale produced "fill-ins" for ABC TV prior to the widespread broadcasting of music videos.
Piper's wife Judith Ann Piper (formerly Price) died in 1981 and he wrote and directed an episode of A Country Practice in dedication to her and her story. Gordon's daughter Kerrin-Gai and son Kim both live in Australia.
Piper suffered from diabetes, which affected his circulation and eventually resulted in the amputation of both his legs.