Following are just some of the monkiers that Australian journalists have endowed upon Bruce Spence over the past 25 years....
"Gangling Bruce", "Gawky Giant", "Bean pole", "Stringbean Tall and Disconcertingly Bug-eyed", "Lanky" "Towering", "Rangy" "Tall (VERY Tall)" and "Skinny as a Rake".
...So, for any one who may not have yet grasped the concept, measuring 6ft 6" (or 197 centimetres), with a decidedly lean build, BRUCE SPENCE HAPPENS TO BE TALL AND SKINNY, earning him the distinctive guernsey of (drumroll pleeease) bomp bomp BOO-OOMP.. "AUSTRALIA'S TALLEST ACTOR!!!". Yet, like many successful "Aussies", Spence is in fact a Kiwi.... is that an oxymoron? Well, as we all know, when it comes to international fame, fortune and accolades... or just recognition, we Australians put all bad sheep and gumboot jokes aside, and in familial love embrace both the north and south islands as our seventh and eighth states.....
New Zealand-born Spence began his career in horticulture, and was first employed by a rural winery. For a while Spence dabbled in landscape gardening and eventually assumed an advisory position in agricultural chemicals. However, in 1964 Spence abandoned such green "thumbery" and moved to Australia, choosing to settle in Melbourne. In 1967 Spence was accepted in the National Gallery Art School (which later became the Victorian College for the Arts) and began studying Design and Print Making. In his first year of studies, Spence was awarded the lauded Prints Prize for his talent in artistry.
However, catharsis overwhelmed Spence upon seeing a Jack Hibberd play at Carlton's Cafe La Mama, whereby he came to the realisation that he "..simply had to act"(as stated in an interview with Elizabeth Judd, 9/5/73). Ironically, in 1979 starred in the cinematic version of 'Dimboola', which is, of course, also a Hibberd play. Heralded as "a product of Melbourne's Pram Factory", Spence joined its earlier incarnation, the Australian Performing Group, in 1969 and engaged in both acting and directing roles, most notably directing the first performance of David Williamson's 'The Removalists'.
While Spence may be most renowned for his portrayal of oddbods and all 'round freaks in the cinema, (particularly his debut starring role in Stork! in 1971 and as the Gyrocopter Captain in Mad Max 2), in an attempt to avoid such typecasting - which seems to arise from both his wonderful comedic abilities and, of course, his distinctively rubbery facial features - Spence has remained heavily involved in theatre throughout his career. Surprisingly early in his realisation of celebrity, in a 1976 interview with The Age, Spence could envisage the long line of 'gauche Aussie ockers' that he was to be cast as, joking that at then age of just 31 he was "Australia's first has-been actor". It is reported that Spence rejected the lead role in a television spin-off of the film "Stork!" because he had tired of being identified with the character.
In 1972 Spence married school teacher (since turned television scriptwriter) Jenny Walsh and they have two now adult children, Tom and Jessie. While the Spence family have spent the past 26 years stationed between Melbourne and Sydney, it is believed that they currently reside in Sydney.
In the mid 1980's, Spence entered into the foray of music video, directing three clips for Australian Country music icon, Slim Dusty, and also young Adelaide band Invisible Mendez.
While Spence's acting career continues to thrive, in 1997 he went back to his roots (quite literally!) and commenced a part time course in Landscape Design.
With an exhaustive number of television and theatre credits, Spence has featured in the following films....
THE CARS THAT ATE PARIS (1974)
THE GREAT McCARTHY (1975)
ELIZA FRASER (1976)
LET THE BALLOON GO (1976)
MAD DOG MORGAN (1976)
MAD MAX 2 (1981)
THE RETURN OF CAPTAIN INVINCIBLE (1982)
DOUBLE DEAL (1982)
MIDNITE SPARES (1983)
PALLET ON THE FLOOR (1984)
WHERE THE GREEN ANTS DREAM (1984)
MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME (1985)
BACHELOR GIRL (1987)
THE YEAR MY VOICE BROKE (1987)
RIKKI & PETE (1988)
WENDY CRACKED A WALNUT (1990)
NIGHT ANGEL (1990)
THE SHRIMP ON THE BARBIE - BOYFRIEND FROM HELL (1990)
SWEET TALKER (1991)
HERCULES RETURNS (1993)
ACE VENTURA: WHEN NATURE CALLS (1995)
DARK CITY (1997)
*Upon contacting Spence's agent Barbara Leane and Associates for his exact birthdate, I was informed that Spence - quite understandably - prefers these details to be kept private.