Henri Szeps

Intro Australian actor
Is Actor Stage actor Television actor
From Australia
Type Film, Television, Stage and Radio
Gender male
Birth 2 October 1943, Lausanne, Switzerland
Star sign Libra

Henri Szeps OAM, (born 2 October 1943, Lausanne, Switzerland) alternatively Henry Szeps, is an Australian character actor of theatre and television. He has also featured in films and worked in voice roles, and has worked in productions in the United Kingdom.

Early life

Szeps was born in Lausanne, Switzerland. Due to the German invasion of Poland, his parents fled to France. His father left the family to join the French Resistance, and his mother and three-year-old sister made their way to a refugee camp in Lausanne, where Henri was born. He spent a lot of time with foster families, and later at a French orphanage, before coming to Australia at the age of eight with his mother and sister.


Szeps studied acting at Ensemble Theatre during weekends, under the direction of Hayes Gordon, while gaining science and electrical engineering degrees at Sydney University. In 1963, while sitting for the B.Sc. in maths and physics during the day he was appearing every night at the Ensemble Theatre in his first play there, called The Physicists, which ran for six months. Szeps is probably best known for his role as selfish dentist Robert Beare in the classic Australian television comedy series Mother and Son (1984 to 1994), with Garry McDonald, Ruth Cracknell and Judy Morris. Another prominent role was in Palace of Dreams for which he received a Penguin Award. He played the Doctor in the world première of David Williamson's play, Travelling North, and was asked to repeat the performance in the 1987 film, with Leo McKern & Graham Kennedy. He appeared in 1981 TV movie A Step in the Right Direction. Szeps won the Penguin Award for best actor for ABC's 10 part series Palace of Dreams. He has performed in five one-man shows, produced by the Ensemble Theatre, the last three self-penned: The Double Bass (1990), Sky (1992) (written for him by John Misto, I'm Not a Dentist (1997), Why Kids (2003) and Wish I'd Said That (2010). He has written a book on acting, All in Good Timing (1996), which is used by drama schools.

Honours and awards

Penguin Award, Best Actor in a mini-series – Palace of Dreams 1985 Norman Kessell Award (Outstanding Performance) for I'm Not a Dentist 1998 OAM for Service to Arts and Community 2001 Helpmann Award for Cabaret, 2003 The Henri Szeps Green Room – declared at Ensemble Theatre in 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award – Glugs, 2015

Personal life

He met his wife of 47 years, New Zealand Australian actress Mary Ann Severne, during the Sydney season of The Boys In The Band, and they were married soon after. They have two sons, one of whom is Josh Szeps, a media personality and current co-host of Weekend Breakfast on the Australian ABC News 24 channel.

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