Vincent Ball

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Vincent Ball

Vincent Martin Ball

(1923-12-04) 4 December 1923 (age 99)
EducationRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art
Occupation(s)Actor, writer
Years active1949–2003, 2015
SpouseDoreen Harrop (married 1949)

Vincent Martin Ball OAM (born 4 December 1923)[1] is an Australian-born retired character actor of radio, stage and screen, active in the industry for nearly 55 years (with a brief return) firstly in Britain and then his native Australia. He has also authored a number of books.[2]

He is best known for film roles in British and Australian films and TV movies, including A Town Like Alice, Breaker Morant, Phar Lap, Muriel's Wedding and The Man Who Sued God.[3] He appeared in numerous TV roles, primarily in cameo guest roles, but had recurring roles in serials like Rush, The Young Doctors, A Country Practice and Home and Away[3]

Vincent Ball has also worked variously in theatre, including Shakespeare, with productions of Henry IV, Part 1 and Romeo and Juliet and a musical based on Charles Dickens famous novel Great Expectations.[4]

Early life[edit]

Born in the town of Wee Waa, New South Wales, in 1923, to a father who worked as a linesman on the New South Wales Government Railways, Ball said he wanted to be an actor from an early age, particularly a "cowboy in the movies".[5]

With the outbreak of the Second World War, Ball left his job with the Australian General Electric Company and, after military training in Canada, became a wireless air gunner with the Royal Australian Air Force, serving in Britain.[5]

After the war, he returned to Australia and his old job, but soon decided to try amateur dramatics. To correct his accent, which had by then morphed into part Canadian, part Cockney and part Australian, he took elocution lessons. He met (and later married) his teacher, leading Sydney actress Doreen Harrop.[1][6] They have three children and live at Chittaway Point, New South Wales.

Acting career in Britain[edit]

Ball wrote letters asking for auditions. One was to the Rank Organisation which, impressed with his enthusiasm, told him to come to England and they would give him a screen test for a part in the 1949 British version of The Blue Lagoon. By the time he got to England, production was under way, but he got a job as stand-in for Donald Houston in an underwater fight with an octopus.[7][8][1] He was then cast as Jack Warner's son in Smiling Irish Eyes, (Talk of a Million).[9]

He then won a scholarship to RADA.[10] Having moved to Stowting, Kent, he appeared in supporting and uncredited movie roles in the UK for the next two and a half decades. He was a juvenile lead in the TV films Rain Before Seven, Barnet's Folly and Nitro, before moving into slightly larger parts in films such as A Town Like Alice, Robbery Under Arms, Sea of Sand, and Danger Within. In 1969, he played Cecil Carpenter in Where Eagles Dare, alongside Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood.[11] His television credits in Britain include [ Gym Teacher, Jenkins, in Carry on Cruising.) (1962) [Compact (TV series)|Compact]], Man in a Suitcase, The Troubleshooters, and Dixon of Dock Green, and a recurring role on the long-running UK soap opera Crossroads.[12][13]

Career in Australia[edit]

Ball returned to Australia in 1973.[14] He was soon very busy acting in films, theatre and television.[15]

He is best known for his work in Australian films and television series, including film roles in Breaker Morant, Phar Lap and Muriel's Wedding.[16] His credits in Australian television serials include Cop Shop, The Sullivans, The Young Doctors, The Flying Doctors, Grass Roots and All Saints.[3] His many roles in Australian mini-series or made-for-television films include Against the Wind, and the epic Anzacs.

In 2014, aged 91, he came out of retirement briefly to play a Second World War veteran named Tom Knight, in the Australian soap opera Home and Away, whom series regular Alf Stewart (played by Ray Meagher) meets in hospital. The scenes went to air during April 2015, just before ANZAC Day.[17]

Publications (selected)[edit]

Title Year/Release Publisher ISBN
Words of Silence 21 May 2008 DoctorZed Publishing ISBN 9780646983837
The Ivory Starr Collection 12 October 2008 Xlibris ISBN 9781436358224
The Cathedral Tree 06 May 2013 Equilibrium Books ISBN 9781921456848
Patrick Downs 31 July 2013 Equilibrium Books ISBN 9781921456855
Regency Rebel 01 March 2014 Equilibrium Books (Rockingham, Australia ISBN 9781921456909
Buck Jones: Where are You 01 September 2014 Equilibrium Books ISBN 9780992435806 (also available audio CD)



Ball was honoured with the OAM in the 2016 Australia Day honours list.[18]



Year Title Role Notes
1949 Warning to Wantons Footman Uncredited
Stop Press Girl Hero featuring in "cinema sequence"
Poet's Pub Stacey Uncredited
The Interrupted Journey First Workman
1950 Come Dance with Me Secretary
1951 Talk of a Million Jack Murnahan
Encore Young Husband segment : "Winter Cruise"
1952 Made in Heaven Man at Party Uncredited
1953 The Drayton Case Henley's Assistant Short film
1954 The Dark Stairway Sergeant Gifford Short film
Imposter's Gold Leonard Hughes TV film
Dangerous Voyage John Drew
Devil's Point Williams
The Black Rider Ted Lintott
1955 Barnet's Folly Richard Barnet TV film
Nitro Jeff TV film
John and Julie Digger
The Stolen Airliner Flight Sergeant Watkins
Stolen Time Johnson
The Blue Peter Digger
1956 A Town Like Alice Ben
The Secret of the Forest Mr. Lawson
The Long Arm P.C. at Hospital uncredited
Reach for the Sky Thelma's cousin uncredited
The Baby and the Battleship Second Sailor at Dance uncredited
The Battle of the River Plate Barnes - HMS Achilles uncredited
1957 Face in the Night Bob Meredith
Robbery Under Arms George Storefield
1958 Blood of the Vampire John Pierre
Sea of Sand Sergeant Nesbitt
1959 Danger Within Captain Pat Foster
Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Dowd
1960 Identity Unknown Ken
Dead Lucky Mike Billings
Dentist in the Chair Michaels
1961 Feet of Clay David Kyle
Very Important Person Higgins uncredited
Nearly a Nasty Accident Sergeant at Crybwyth
Highway to Battle Ransome
A Matter of WHO Dr. Blake
Middle Course Cliff Wilton
1962 The Slaughter of St Teresa's Day Horrie Darcel TV film
Carry On Cruising Jenkins
1963 The Mouse on the Moon Pilot
Echo of Diana Bill Vernon
1967 Follow That Camel Ship's Officer
1968 Nobody Runs Forever Australian Policeman uncredited
Where Eagles Dare Carpenter
1969 Oh! What a Lovely War Australian Soldier
1971 Not Tonight, Darling Alex
Clinic Exclusive Bernard Wilcox
1974 The Spiral Bureau TV film
Lindsay's Boy Jim Lindsay TV film
1975 Games for Parents and Other Children TV film
1976 Arena Bill Scott TV film
Deathcheaters Commander Carson
1978 The Irishman Bailey Clark
Bit Part Sherry TV film
1979 Demolition Ainsley TV film
1980 Breaker Morant Colonel Hamilton
1981 Alison's Birthday Dr. Jeremy Lyall
1982 The Highest Honor Lieutenant Commander Hubert Marsham
..Deadline.. Prime Minister TV film
1983 Phar Lap Lachlan McKinnon
1986 Whose Baby? Robert Monahan, K.C. TV film
Double Sculls Stuart TV film
1987 The Year My Voice Broke Headmaster
Hot Ice Harry Romano TV film
1988 The Boardroom Jonathon Hutt TV film
1990 Call Me Mr. Brown Captain Richie
1991 The Private War of Lucinda Smith Colonel Foster TV film
1993 Love in Limbo Cyril Williams
Frauds Judge
Butterfly Island Sergeant Pat Connolly TV film
1994 Sirens Bishop of Sydney
Muriel's Wedding Priest
1997 Paradise Road Mr. Dickson
2001 The Man Who Sued God Cardinal
2002 Black and White Chief Justice Napier
2003 The Night We Called It a Day Rex Hooper


Year Title Role Notes
1952 BBC Sunday Night Theatre Young Officer Episode: "Holiday in Berlin"
1954 George Grant Episode: "Rain Before Seven"
Douglas Fairbanks Presents Harry Episode: "The Wedding Veil"
1955 BBC Sunday Night Theatre Locke Episode: "The Voices"
1957 Motive for Murder John Blackmoor Mini-series
1958 White Hunter Trevor Episode: "The Step-father"
1959 The Flying Doctor Jeff Petersen Episode: "The Revelation"
1960 International Detective Joplin Episode: "The Joplin Case"
No Man's Island Denis Barker Mini-series
ITV Play of the Week Mallow Episode: "The Watching Eye"
1961 The Cheaters Jessup Episode: "An Obituary for a Champion"
Theatre 70 Martin Wade Episode: "News From Jericho"
BBC Sunday-Night Play Digger Episode: "The Hasty Heart"
Deadline Midnight Keith Durrant Recurring role
1963 Once Aboard the Luggar... Dennis Barker Episode: "The Girl Arrives"
Ghost Squad Father Huggins Episode: "The Big Time"
The Plane Makers Nelson Episode: "The Testing Time"
Zero One Pilot Episode: "The Stowaway"
1963-1965 Compact David Rome Series regular
1966 Blue Light Episode: "Target, David March"
The Man in the Mirror Austin 2 episodes
The Newcomers Mr. Mackie 3 episodes
The Troubleshooters Captain Grainger Episode: "Operation Saigon"
1966-1973 Crossroads: Kings Oak Kevin McArthur Series regular
1967 Dixon of Dock Green Abel Episode: "The Team"
1968 King Episode: "Find the Lady"
Man in a Suitcase Dalby Episode: "The Boston Square"
Z-Cars Foster Episode: "Vigilance"
1969 Dixon of Dock Green Garry Kendrick Episode: "The Set-Up"
1970 Jenkins Episode: "Shadows"
Softly, Softly: Taskforce Scotland Episode: "Private Mischief"
1971 Play for Today Simpson Episode: "Traitor"
The Troubleshooters Reg Walters Episode: "A Touch of the Nelsons"
1972 Dixon of Dock Green Jack Stevens Episode: "Time Out"
1973 Harriet's Back in Town Kenneth Hammond 4 episodes
The Dragon's Opponent Captain McColm Mini-series
1974 Silent Number Norris Episode: "Cecelia"
1975 Certain Women Horrie 1 episode
Homicide Patrick O'Brien Episode: "Snails for Dinner"
Ben Hall Sergeant Garland Series regular
Shannon's Mob Ashby Episode: "There Was a Man"
1976 Silent Number White Episode: "Yesterday's Friends"
Rush Superintendent James Kendall Recurring role
King's Men Episode: "Suffer Little Children"
The Sullivans Admiral Spencer
Bluey Muley Price Episode: "Speak to Me Only"
1977 Kenneth Granger Episode: "A Political Animal"
The Outsiders Jack Gower Episode: "Sophie's Mob"
1978 Cop Shop James Benedict 2 episodes
Chopper Squad John Williams Episode: "Something to Shout About"
Against the Wind Governor Macquarie Episode: "The Windfall Summer"
1979 Cop Shop David Hammond 2 episodes
Skyways Captain Fitzgerald Episode: "The Legend"
A Place in the World Mini-series
The Young Doctors Kevin McAllister 2 episodes
1980 Cop Shop Adrian Cummins 1 episode
Timelapse Boyd Mackiel Mini-series
1982 A Country Practice Bunny Wilcox Episode: "Come Blow Your Horn"
1983 The Dismissal Justin O'Byrne 1 episode
1984 The Last Bastion General Sturdee Mini-series
Special Squad Episode: "Counterfeit Lady"
Bodyline Lyons - Prime Minister of Australia Mini-series
A Country Practice Keith Fitzgerald Episode: "Moment of Truth"
1985 Anzacs Sir Rupert Barrington Mini-series
1987 Rafferty's Rules Mathew Episode: "Kids"
Vietnam Dave the Spook Mini-series
1987-1993 A Country Practice Ted Campbell Recurring role
1988 The Dirtwater Dynasty Eastwick Banker Mini-series
1989 Mission: Impossible Presenter Episode: "The Golden Serpent"
Bangkok Hilton British Attache Mini-series
1990 The Flying Doctors Warren Price Episode: "Daddy's Girl"
The Paper Man Sir Evan Mason Mini-series
1991 G.P. Dr. Thomas Radley 3 episodes
1995 Blue Murder Dr. Cumberland Mini-series
1998 Children's Hospital Keith Charrington Episode: "Home Truths"
2000 Grass Roots Monty Chesney Episode: "April to July"
2001 All Saints Bill Weiner 2 episodes
2015 Home and Away Tom Knight 2 episodes


  1. ^ a b c "Vince, Keep Your Face Away From The Camera". Australian Women's Weekly. 7 November 1973. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Vincent Ball". Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  3. ^ a b c "'I might get a job now they know I'm alive'". 26 January 2016.
  4. ^ "Vincent Ball".
  5. ^ a b ""Vince, Keep Your Face Away From the Camera"". The Australian Women's Weekly. Vol. 41, no. 23. Australia. 7 November 1973. p. 4. Retrieved 18 August 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ "Australians Abroad Spanish Journeys For Many Sydney Travellers". The Sunday Herald (Sydney). No. 42. New South Wales, Australia. 6 November 1949. p. 10. Retrieved 18 August 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ "Irish Brogue Did It". The Sun. No. 2468. New South Wales, Australia. 6 August 1950. p. 59. Retrieved 18 August 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ "Vincent Ball". IMDb. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  9. ^ "Harry Lauder's Life". The Sunday Herald (Sydney). No. 84. New South Wales, Australia. 3 September 1950. p. 4 (Features). Retrieved 18 August 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
  10. ^ "Vincent Ball". Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  11. ^ "Vincent Ball". BFI.
  12. ^ "Vincent Ball".
  13. ^ "They were in Crossroads?". 3 April 2013.
  14. ^ "Actor returns". The Canberra Times. Vol. 48, no. 13, 586. Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 8 November 1973. p. 22. Retrieved 18 August 2020 – via National Library of Australia.
  15. ^ "WORK FLOODS IN FOR PRINCE VINCENT". The Australian Women's Weekly. Vol. 48, no. 17. Australia. 24 September 1980. p. 21 (Your TV Magazine). Retrieved 18 August 2020 – via National Library of Australia. ,
  16. ^ "Vincent Ball | TV Guide".
  17. ^ Alf not the sole veteran in Home and Away's Anzac storyline., 19 April 2015. Accessed 30 April 2015
  18. ^ Collins, Terry (26 January 2016). "Australia Day 2016: Actor Vincent Ball reflects on fascinating movie career after receiving OAM honour". Central Coast Express Advocate.

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