Died April 11, 2012. Born December 12, 1937.
New Zealand actor and artist. Tilly was educated in Wellington, taking art at Wellington Technical College in the early 1950s. He then attended teachers college in Wellington and Dunedin, specialising in arts and crafts teaching. He was awarded an overseas bursary and studied children's drama in England during the early 1960s. On his return to New Zealand he tutored drama and later became a senior acting tutor at New Zealand Drama School.
In 1976 Tilly was one of those to help establish Wellington's Circa Theatre, where he has acted in a number of plays written by playwright Roger Hall, one of New Zealand's most successful playwrights. He designed the set for Hall's breakthrough hit, public service satire Glide Time, and had starring roles in follow-up Middle Age Spread and a later Hall play, solo piece C'mon Black.
Aside from a busy stage career, Tilly has acted often for the screen. He made his television debut in 1967 one-off comedy The Tired Man then found himself adlibbing alongside playwright Joe Musaphia on children's show Joe's World . Tilly's largest screen roles include the headmaster who has an affair in 1979's big screen adaptation of Middle Age Spread (showbusiness magazine Variety compared him to "an antipodean Woody Allen" ) and 1982 comedy Carry Me Back, as the farmer who has to sneak his father back home after he unexpectedly dies.
His television appearances include an awardwinning performance as artist Toss Woollaston in tele-play Erua, Reverend Henry Williams in historical epic The Governor, ambitious Margaret Mahy fantasy Cuckooland (1995), and a starring role in 2009 short Roof Rattling. Tilly has also had many smaller parts in feature films, including two adventures shot partly or wholly in New Zealand: he was The Collector in chase movie Race for the Yankee Zephyr, and a villainous German officer in Nate and Hayes (also known as Savage Islands).
Grant has also worked as an illustrator and writer for Wellington newspaper Evening Post, as well as creating his own artworks. His “Drawing On History” articles focussed on the changing face of Wellington’s urban landscape.
In 2002 Tilly donated his skill to design a flexible 90-seat performance space for Stagecraft Theatre (a non-professional theatre company in Wellington).
Filmography and Television Appearances: