Michael Laurence Rip

Jan Leeming

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Shoreham Airshow 2007
Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.



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Jan's Blog

Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.


Date: 23rd March 2015

R.I.P. Michael Laurence.
My dear friend Michael has just died and sadly I couldn’t be there with him in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales. Good friends of his have kept me informed about  his condition and I was able to speak with him last week but I don’t know if he registered that it was me.

Michael and I met at the Union Repertory Company in Melbourne in 1966. He played Prince Andrei to my Natasha in ‘War and Peace’ and the tortured priest (tortured by his conscience) in Hochhuth’s play ‘The Representative’ outlining how the Pope appeared to sit on the fence and ignore what was happening to the Jews in Germany.

It was whilst in Rep. that my fiancé was killed on the journey from Sydney to Melbourne and it was Michael who held me in his arms all night to comfort me. That cemented our friendship and even after I returned to the UK we kept in touch intermittently in the first decades but very closely in the last few years. As my son, Jonathan, lives in Sydney and I have visited him twice, I was also able to see Michael. Jonathan has said he will attend the funeral on my behalf for which I am grateful.

Michael was a very generous but tortured soul always seeking for some kind of inner peace. Over the 50 years I’ve known him he has followed various religions including a period as a Buddhist. He finally found peace in embracing Catholicism which helped him a great deal in his last decade when fortune’s face no longer smiled on him and he had to relinquish his beautiful home in Leura.

In my opinion Michael was a very good actor but his confidence was severely undermined by the Director during our Rep season and he moved more towards writing -  successfully. He and his friend Robert Bruning created a very successful series ‘The Godfathers’. And he also created another highly successful television drama series called ‘Return to Eden’. In fact I remember being in an hotel in the 80’s where I was about to host a Corporate Presentation. Normally I never watch television during the day but being in the hotel I turned on and caught the tail end of a programme and up popped Michael’s name. That caused me to re-connect with him and we stayed in touch until the end of his life.

Robert Bruning’s widow Anne and Michael’s friend Kerrie have kept me posted with Michael’s condition and both of them sent me an email within minutes of his passing for which I am grateful.

Michael and I in 'War and Peace' - Melbourne Union Repertory Company 1966


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