Frank Whitten

Frank Whitten

Birth Name


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Frank is a New Zealand best known for his role of Grandpa Ted West on the hit show Outrageous Fortune. He's also recognized as the Speights beer ad man, and has performed in live theatre in England, Australia, and New Zealand.


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Frank's theatre credits include:
      (2009) Elling "Alphons Jorgenson", Sydney Theatre Company, dir. Pamela Rabe
      (2008) The Cut "Paul", The Silo Theatre, dir. Jonathan Hendry
      (2005) Festen, Sydney Theatre Company, dir. Gale Edwards
      (2005) Julius Caesar, Sydney Theatre Company, dir. Benedict Andrews
      (2004) Thyestes, Sydney Theatre Company, dir. Benjamin Winspear
      Three Sisters "Chebuty Kin", Sydney Theatre Company, dir. Benedict Andrews
      Twelfth Night "Malvolio", Sydney Theatre Company, dir. Richard Roxborough
      Macbeth "The Porter", Sydney Theatre Company, dir. Ian Judge

    • Frank teaches acting classes in Improv and Mime.

    • Frank has extensive theatre credits as an actor in New Zealand, Australia and the UK. He's also directed several productions, Cloud Nine for the Fortune Theatre and Crimes of the Heart for The Actors Company at the Maidment Theatre.

    • Frank is divorced.

    • Frank smokes.

    • Frank had a small part in Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong, but his scene didn't make the movie's final cut. He played a vaudeville musician.

    • Frank has written a critically acclaimed play titled Trifecta.

    • As a young man, Frank thought about becoming a jockey or an artist before deciding to act.

    • Frank grew up in Waikato, New Zealand before leaving for the UK in his early 20s to become an actor.

    • While vacationing in Greece, Frank almost drowned. He and some other tourists chartered a local fisherman's boat, but the weather turned stormy and the boat capsized. Since then he's understandably nervous when on a boat.

    • In 2007, Frank won "Best Supporting Actor" at the Air New Zealand Screen Awards for his role of Grandpa Ted West on Outrageous Fortune.

    • In 2007, Frank was going to star in a play called The Cut and knew his Outrageous Fortune co-star Robyn Malcolm would be great in the role of his character's neurotic wife. So he called Robyn and enticed her to take the part saying, "She's an absolute pig of a woman so you'd be perfect for the role."

    • Frank was a founder member of Common Stock Theatre Company. He also worked as a director and acting tutor at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art for five years.

    • Frank is 6'2" (188 cm), with brown hair and hazel eyes.

    • For twelve years, Frank was featured as the old man in the Speight's "Good on ya mate!" commercials.

  • Quotes

    • Frank: (on having the Speights ads which he did for 12 yrs stopped) Maybe they just decided that I was too old to be put on a horse, maybe they stopped them on compassionate grounds. A pity– they were a nice little earner.

    • Frank: I don't really mind being recognised as most people do so in a friendly manner. I don't, however, consider myself a celebrity as such, rather a jobbing actor.

    • Frank: (on being a character actor) At one point I felt like I was put in a box. So I went to Sydney and was able to say to my agent: 'Put me up for everything – the wrong age, the wrong height – everything wrong.'

    • Frank: (on playing Grandpa West on "Outrageous Fortune") We look alarmingly alike. He's more intelligent than I am, but he wouldn't exist without me, so maybe it's actually me being clever without really knowing it.