Edward Howell (actor)

Edward Welsford Rowsell Howell (15 June 1902[2] – 20 August 1986),also known as pen name E.R. Howell, Edward Welsford Rowsell and Teddy/Ted Howell was a British Australian, character actor, radio and theatre producer, director and scriptwriter, theatre founder and drama teacher. He was notable for his career in Australia in all genres of the entertainment industry in a career spanning radio, stage, television and film. In 1927 he appeared in a cameo role in the early Australian film For the Term of his Natural Life, at the time the highest-grossing film in Australian cinema.[3] After this film, he moved to radio broadcasting and producing until reviving his screen career in the late 1950s, mainly appearing in made for TV Movies and serials.

Edward Howell
Edward Welsford Rowsell Howell

(1902-06-15)15 June 1902
Bromley, Kent, England
Died20 August 1986(1986-08-20) (aged 84)
Other namesE.R. Howell
Edward Welsford Rowsell
Teddy/Ted Howell
  • Actor (radio, theatre, television and film
  • radio and theatre producer
  • radio and theatre director
  • radio and theatre scriptwriter
  • theatre founder
  • drama teacher
Years active1912–1985
Spouse(s)Mary Grace Cecillia Long (known professionally as Therese Desmond and Molly Long) (m-1927–1961)[1]
ChildrenMadeline Howell

Early lifeEdit

Howell was born on 15 July 1902 (some sources give 1901) in Bromley, Kent, England, the youngest son of bank clerk and actor Edwin Gilburt Howell and his wife Madeleine Ann (née Rowsell).[3] As an eight year old in 1912, he was brought to Australia with his brother, Lewis, and father to appear in J. C. Williamson's stage production of The Blue Bird by Belgian playwright Maurice Maeterlinck[4] After the family decided to stay in Australia permanently, he completed his education at Sydney Grammar. With his father moving to settle in Suva, young Ted soon followed, studying law while working in the government's legal department, before joining the Colonial Sugar Refining Co. Ltd.[3]

Professional careerEdit

Theatre and tutoringEdit

Whilst in Suva, Edward and father Edwin founded the Suva Dramatic Actor Guild. He returned to Australia in 1924 and joined the Playbox Theatre in Melbourne,[5] and later, with his wife Molly, ran Sydney's (Royal) Academy of Dramatic Arts.[6]

Radio and theatre (acting, producing, writing and directing)Edit

In 1929, he began a career in radio when he was asked by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (then Commission) to produce a play for the network. As an author of one of the first successful variety shows, he had a very prominent career in the sector as a writer, producer and director, as well as appearing in productions as an actor. He was best known as the creator and visionary behind the popular long-running serial Fred and Maggie Everybody,[5][7] that ran under a number of titles between 1932 and 1953. The series depicted the life of a middle-class couple played by Edward and his wife, Mary Howell (professionally billed as Therese Desmond). At its height it was heard on fifty six stations throughout Australia and was sold to numerous countries including New Zealand.

Edward worked for Amalgamated Wireless (AWA), where he served as the chief producer of drama, before going freelance as producer and actor. In 1949, he returned to his native England and took up a post at the BBC, writing and producing radio productions as well as stage plays, and returned to Sydney in 1950, where he continued his radio and stage career as a prominent scriptwriter.[8]

Television series, TV movies and filmEdit

After a lengthy successful career in radio and on stage he had a prominent career on television, starting from the 1960s appearing in numerous Australian serials, including My Name's McGooley, What's Yours?, Skippy the Bush Kangaroo, Homicide, Division 4 and Cop Shop.

He appeared in the Brisbane TV play The Absence of Mr Sugden.

He was best known for his recurring role as Bert Griffiths in the long-running rural soap A Country Practice.

In film during the latter he appeared in The Cars That Ate Paris and Careful, He Might Hear You.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

He was married to Mary Grace Cecilia Long (born Sheffield, 2 May 1902- died Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1961) on 11 May 1927, an English-born stage[1] and radio actress and theatre director whom he also collaborated with and known professionally as Therese Desmond or Molly Long,[9] whom he had met whilst appearing with Sydney's Playbox Theatre, marrying at the St. Mary's Catholic Cathedral in Sydney, Australia. Mary suffered a stroke in 1955 and died in 1961.[3] Edward died on 20 August 1986, in a nursing home in Chatswood, New South Wales at the age of 84, and was cremated.[4]

Theater founderEdit

Year Company Proprietors
c. early 1920s Suva Dramatic Actors Guild Edward Howell – Edwin Howell

Theatre CompanyEdit

Company Year Role
Playbox Theatre 1924 Performer

Drama SchoolEdit

Company Year Position
Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts unknown Proprietor with Therese Desmond

Radio Company'sEdit

Company Year/s Position
Australian Broadcasting Corporation (Commission) 1929–? Radio producer, playwright, director, actor
Amalgamated Wireless various Chief Producer of Drama
Producer and actor
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) 1949–? Writer and producer

Radio Serial/sEdit

Production Role/s
Fred and Maggie Everybody Creator, writer and performer


Television and filmEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1927 For the Term of his Natural Life Kirkpatrick
1956 The Sub-Editor's Room TV movie
1957 The Passionate Pianist TV movie
1959 Black Chiffon TV movie
1959 One Morning Near Troodos TV movie
1959 Emergency! Episode: "Death Drive"
1959 Till Death Do Us Part TV movie
1959 Tragedy in a Temporary Town Harry Phillips TV movie
1959 A Dead Secret TV movie
1959 Antony and Cleopatra Agrappa TV movie
1959 The Big Day TV movie
1960 Heart Attack TV movie
1960 Man in a Blue Vase Uncle Ben TV movie
1960 Close to the Roof Perelli TV movie
1961 Hedda Gabler Brack TV movie
1961 Burst of Summer TV movie
1961 The Lady from the Sea TV movie
1961 The Big Deal TV movie
1961 The Ides of March Decius TV movie
1961 The Outcasts Dr. D'arcy Wentworth 1 episode
1962 Light me a Lucifer TV movie
1963 Double Yolk Doctor TV movie
1963 Uneasy Paradise Paulo TV movie
1963 Consider Your Verdict Costella 2 episodes
1964 The Angry General TV movie
1964–1973 Homicide The Pathologist / Judge / John Young / Leo Sheldon / Brian Spurling / Walter Lambert / Lucio / Connor / Harold Smith 9 episodes
1965 A Time to Speak TV movie
1965 Campaign for One TV movie
1965 The Magic Boomerang Jim Wallace 2 episodes
1965 Daphne Laureola TV movie
1968 My Name's McGooley, What's Yours? Stallybrass Episode: "A Change of Gear"
1968 Contrabandits Quiellen Episode: "A Mention in Despatches"
1969 Skippy the Bush Kangaroo Dr. Ames Episode: "Mixed Company"
1969 Delta Lawler Episode: "The Devil Take the Blue Tongue Fly"
1969 Woobinda, Animal Doctor Doctor Episode: "A Life for a Life"
1969 Tilley Landed on Our Shores TV movie
1971 The Comedy Game Speaker Episode: " Our Man in Canberra"
1971–1973 Matlock Police Dr. Ian Sutherland / Pop Thompson / Doctor Sutherland 11 episodes
1972 The Tony Hancock Special Colonel TV movie
1972 The Virgin Fellas 1st Old Man 1 episode
1972 Spy Force Doctor O'Hara Episode: "The Mission"
1973 Division 4 Fergy Ferguson Episode: "Take Over"
1973 The People Next Door Dr. Henshaw Episode: "A Tiny Touch of Tonsil Trouble"
1974 The Evil Touch Julian Episode: "Faulkner's Choice"
1974 Moving On
1974 Class of '75 Mr. Finlay TV Series
1974 The Cars That Ate Paris Tringham
1977 Moynihan Episode: "Bird in the Hand"
1978 The Night Nurse Morphett TV movie
1978 Loss of Innocents Episode: "1943"
1978 Cop Shop Clive Brooks / Mr. Ashley 2 episodes
1978 Case for the Defence Wheems 9 episodes
1979 Barnaby and Me Tennis Umpire TV movie
1980 Young Ramsay Ernie Farrell Episode: "Natural Selection"
1982–1985 A Country Practice Bert Griffiths 18 episodes, (final appearance)
1983 Careful, He Might Hear You Judge
1984 Who Killed Hannah Jane? Mr. Andrews TV movie
1984 Bodyline Lord Hailsham 1 episode
1985 Colour in the Creek Joe Ellis 4 episodes


  1. ^ a b "Therese Desmond". AusStage.
  2. ^ http://search.ancestry.com.au/cgi-bin/sse.dhll?indiv=1&dbid=9091&h=130142dtid=&pid=usePUB=true&-phsrc=sty136&-phstart=successSource. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ a b c d e Arrow, Michelle (2007). "Howell, Edward Welsford (Teddy) (1902–1986)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Teddy Howell, theatre and film actor, dies". The Sydney Morning Herald. 22 August 1986. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  5. ^ a b Howell, Edward (1900), Fred and Maggie : radio program, retrieved 23 May 2015 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Academy of Dramatic Art". The Sydney Mail. 5 April 1933. p. 11. Retrieved 23 May 2015 – via National Library of Australia. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "FRED AND MAGGIE'S 1200th". The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers' Advocate. Parramatta, NSW. 12 November 1941. p. 12. Retrieved 23 May 2015 – via National Library of Australia. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ Howell, Edward; De Berg, Hazel, 1913–1984. (Interviewer) (1978), Edward Howell interviewed by Hazel de Berg in the Hazel de Berg collection, retrieved 23 May 2015 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Hood, Sam, 1872–1953 (1938), 2CH Old Time Dance at the Town Hall. Therese Desmond being presented with a bouquet, retrieved 23 May 2015 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)

External linksEdit

  • National Library of Australia collection of newspaper and journal cuttings about Teddy Howell. NLA reference number 42654244
  • Edward Howell at IMDb