Source: Oz Movies
Tal Ordell i(14 works by) (birth name: William Ordell Raymond Buntine)
Born: Established: ca. 1880 ; Died: Ceased: 1948
Gender: Male
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BiographyHistory

Actor, director, producer, and writer.

The seventh child of drover and south Gippsland pioneer William Buntine and his wife Susanna (nee Mawley), William Buntine Jnr went on to carve out a distinguished career in Australia as the stage, screen and radio actor, writer and artist Tal Ordell. Raised in Gippsland and educated in Melbourne, he initially considered a career as an artist, having studied drawing and painting under J. S. Watkins during the 1890s. He made his theatrical debut (under his birth name) in 1901, appearing in the comedy Nurse. His early career was not spent always spent in the theatre, however, with the years ca. 1905-08 spent working as an itinerant bushman. In 1915 he also operated a side show at the Brisbane Exhibition, providing hand-drawn pictures and caricatures (Brisbane Courier 30 August 1915, p.9). Odell is thought to have adopted his stage name (initially Raymond Ordell) after returning to the theatre in 1908. He was briefly known as Talone Ordell (ca. 1912) before settling on Tal Ordell in 1913.

In 1917 Ordell was engaged by Beaumont Smith the play the role of Dad Hayseed in a series of three Hayseeds films - The Hayseeds' Back-blocks Show (1917), The Hayseeds Come to Sydney (1917), and The Hayseeds' Melbourne Cup (1918). In between filming he toured with Marie Tempest, appeared in various plays, notably the American Jewish 'Potash and Perlmutter' comedy, Business Before Pleasure, and was engaged by Allan Wilkie for a season of Shakespeare. he later portrayed Dave in Raymond Longford's films, On Our Selection (1920), and its sequel Rudd's New Selection (1921), the villain in Silks and Saddles (1920) and The Gentleman Bushranger and the hero Bob Brothers in While the Billy Boils (both 1921). 1921 also saw him direct and feature in his own two-reel comedy, Cows and Cuddles before starting a three year association with the Tivoli circuit presenting a dramatic sketch and monologue act.

As a writer Ordell contributed verse and short stories to The Bulletin and wrote at least one play, Kangaroo Flat (produced in Sydney in March 1926). He is also believed to have written much of the material he presented on the Tivoli circuit. During the 1930s he acted extensively in radio dramas and comedies, often writing and/or contributing material to the shows he appeared in, and even presented bush yarns and children's stories. One of his greatest radio successes as a writer was the long-running serial Wattletown.

Ordell only directed one feature film during his career - The Kid Stakes (1927), based on Syd Nicholls's cartoon character Fatty Finn.

Notes

  • For further details see "Ordell, Talone (Tal) (1880–1948)." Australian Dictionary of Biography 11 (1988).

  • Ordell's son Robin (aka 'Pop') starred as Fatty Finn in his father's 1927 film. Robin also became a favourite on radio during the late 1930s, being commonly billed by 2GB as its 'baby radio announcer.' He joined the RAF in World War II, but was killed, aged twenty four, when he was shot down over Holland in 1945.

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