Brian Thomas Wenzel [4] (born 24 May 1929 in Adelaide , South Australia ) is an Australian character actor and comedian who has been in the entertainment business for 73 years, including circus, stage, television and film; (including made fro TV movies and theatrical release films) he remains most most famous as Sergeant Frank Gilroy an original character on television program A Country Practice . from its inception in 1981 until the series conclusion in 1993. He was a semi cast member of Rove McManus 's show Rove Live in 2009 [4]

Early life

Wenzel was born to Harold, a grocer who served with the RAAF and Kathleen Wenzel in 1929 [5] one of eight, he grew up in South Australia suburbs Mile End , Torrensvile and Thebarton , he had an unsettled early life and spent much of his childhood in remand homes, run by various organizations including Christian Brothers and the Salvation Army and ran away several times, after completing his schooling he joined the circus at the age of 14, as a pony groom and dog trainer. His first performance in an acting role came at the age of 17, when he appeared in a comedy stage play, he started acting professionally in 1945.


Wenzel appeared in the drama series Matlock Police , Homicide , The Young Doctors , Cop Shop and Certain Women . It was the role in the latter that won him the part of policeman Sgt. Frank Gilroy in A Country Practice . Wenzel was an original cast member in the show and remained along with Shane Porteous through the entire series. The popularity of the Frank Gilroy character, in the program since its inception, won a Silver Logie for Wenzel.

Wenzel became very popular with the NSW Police due to his role as Sgt. Gilroy, and was once presented with a leather police jacket from former commissioner John Avery (the fictional country town of Wandin Valley was in New South Wales , thus Frank Gilroy was a "member" of the NSW Police).

He has appeared in many Australian films including Caddie (film) , Alison's Birthday and The Odd Angry Shot .

He appeared in the David Williamson play Travelling North in 2000. Wenzel also appeared in a guest role on the soap Neighbours . He appeared in Marshall Law in 2002, his most recent appearance is in John Doe: Vigilante .


In 2009 Wenzel appeared in a TV commercial in the role for a sexual dysfunction therapy. His Sgt. Gilroy (now 80 years old), arrives to save the day when a newlywed wife complains about her husband "speeding" in the sack – and then prosecutes him in court. This commercial created much controversy [3] and Wenzel was featured on A Current Affair , defending the commercial and stating that he was "an actor and this is what I do" and being thrown into the spotlight after almost 20 years out of it. In May, he appeared on a spoof of the ad that was aired on Rove Live .

Wenzel remains active in the industry, appearing in television commercials, and in cameos in television and film. His A Country Practice co-star, Gold Logie award-winning icon Lorrae Desmond , who played his wife Shirl, however, has now retired from the entertainment industry.

A Country Practice re-boot

[4] Following the death of Joyce Jacobs , he is the oldest surviving cast member at aged 89. Both Wenzel and Jacobs appeared in the first episode of A Country Practice in 1981 and stayed with the show until 1993. In 1993, the series was cancelled by the Seven Network and picked up by rival Network Ten for a single season in 1994, with a new setting and mostly new cast, though unlike Jacobs who stayed with the show, Wenzel did not reprise his role as Frank Gilroy in the ACP reboot.

Personal life

Wenzel has been married to his English-born wife Linda Wenzel for 59 years.

He is an Australia Day ambassador for the state of Victoria , and a lifelong supporter of the Carlton Football Club .