Willie Rushton had just arrived at Brisbane airport, from London, in 1966. I spotted him leaving the terminal, and nervously approached him.
“Excuse me, sir, but are you Willie Rushton?”. Of course it was, I knew him well from his appearances on the hysterically funny BBC series ‘That Was The Week That Was’, a satirical comedy that had helped launch the careers of John Cleese and David Frost. He had also appeared in Peter Cooke and Dudley Moore's 'Not Only... But Also'.
He was a co-founder of ‘Private Eye’ magazine, and a noted cartoonist, writer and actor.*
He seemed genuinely surprised that I had recognised him. Rather than collecting an autograph, I asked if I could take a quick picture of him. We talked for about fifteen minutes, and I was struck by the genuine humility with which he discussed his career. He had packed so much into his twenty-nine years!
The fascination of such pictures is that they allow one to study the faces of people in great detail; to virtually see into their souls. In this picture, Willie's face shows a mixture of skepticism, humour, friendliness and reserve.
* 'The Independent' has an online obituary for Willie, who died in 1996. It gives a comprehensive rundown of his life’s successes and failures.