Ray Barrett (2 May 1927 – 8 September 2009) was an enduring Australian actor who began in radio before travelling to the UK where he appeared in several shows and voiced for a number of Gerry Anderson's Supermarionation series. He returned to Australia where he continued to appear in a number of films.
Barrett's father was a travelling hardware salesman and his mother (born in England) was a secretary for the same company. It was she who persuaded him to take elocution lessons and enter radio talent contests, one of which produced an award for a musical monologue at the age of 12. He attended the Brisbane State High School studying music. In 1951, Barrett married Audrey Bettanay – having been rejected by her sister Joy. The couple had a daughter, Suellen.
He built a house on the Spanish island of Formentera, where he lived on and off for 30 years. Barrett's first marriage had broken down, and it was while filming that he met and married his second wife, Miren Cork, with whom he had two sons, Reginald and Jonathan.
His second marriage broke up, and he began to drink. Gaye O'Brien helped him sober up, become his agent and manager, and in 1986 his wife. In his memoirs, Barrett says of O'Brien that she "pulled me up by the bootstraps from what could have been a long slide to the bottom".
Ray Barrett died, aged 82, at Gold Coast Hospital in Southport after falling at his home and suffering a brain haemorrhage.
Barrett's first job hosting a daily radio show, presenting, interviewing and singing, and acting in radio plays. At 17, he became the first actor to be put under exclusive contract by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. He travelled to England in 1957 and in 1958 began appearing on TV in 1960 in Armchair Mystery Theatre. he played one of the lead roles in the British TV series Emergency - Ward 10.
Barrett played one of the main characters in The Troubleshooters which gave him his highest profile, instantly from the all-action title sequence with Barrett in a speedboat. Almost every episode saw him in some danger in one of the hotspots of the world, which the character faces with insouciance. The role was written specifically for Barrett after the series' creator, John Elliott, had spotted Barrett in a bar, behaving with what he described as "typical Australian forthrightness".
Barrett's rugged unsmiling face was also seen in series such as The Avengers, The Saint and Doctor Who, and several episodes of Ghost Squad. Barrett later voiced a number of characters in Gerry Anderson's marionette series: Commander Shore and Titan in Stingray and later in Thunderbirds; John Tracy, The Hood as well as many other roles. He emerged in his native country Australia many years later in several big-screen movies. Gaining central character roles on TV, Barrett was in Burn the Butterflies, Golden Soak, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Goodbye Paradise and Heaven's Burning. He played a number of secondary roles in many others, including 35 episodes of Something in the Air, All Saints and White Collar Blue and an appearance in Don's Party, his last appearance was in Baz Luhrmann's epic Australia in 2008.
- Australian Film Institute Longford Life Achievement Award
- Barrett once remarked jokingly to a journalist that his scarred face was due to an encounter with barbed wire while helping prisoners of war escape in Germany. In fact it was due to suffering from severe Acne in his teenage years.