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Hal Alexander (1902–1990)

"He could inspire people to do things they normally would not do. He was dedicated and that is the reason why. He dedicated his whole life to Actors Equity."

That is how Mr Hal Alexander, the founder of Actors Equity of Australia, is remembered by his friend and colleague, Mr Hal Lashwood, the union's president for 25 years.

Mr Alexander, who died on Wednesday aged 87, was general secretary of the union from 1939, when he planned the takeover of the Actors Federation, until 1971.

Under his leadership, a union which had few members and little industrial muscle became a powerful force in the film and theatre industries.

Mr Lashwood said Mr Alexander had lived for the union and in its first few years had worked for nothing.

Later he drew a wage of 30 shillings a week, which he refused to increase.

"He would say, 'The union can't afford it. We must keep finances there for battles'," Mr Lashwood said.

Mr Alexander once represented the union in the industrial courts against former Prime Minister Harold Holt, representing theatre owners.

"Hal just made him look foolish. He had a wonderful brain," said Mr Lashwood.

A memorial service will be held at the Opera House Playhouse on Monday July 2 at 11am.

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'Alexander, Hal (1902–1990)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 June 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Williams, Robert Alexander

21 June, 1902
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia


20 June, 1990 (aged 87)
Botany, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Key Organisations