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Obituary ‘William Tell’ actor Conrad Phillips dead at 90

Belated crossbow lesson: Conrad Phillips, who once played William Tell


Britain’s William Tell has died. Conrad Phillips visited Switzerland for the first time in 2004, as this video shows. 

tell youtube

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Phillips played the role of Tell in a series that ran on British channel ITV from 1958-1959. The swashbuckling actor did many of his own stunts.

He published an autobiography about his time playing Tell in 2013, after which he told, "I’ve had quite a bouncy life. Some of the childhood stuff was kind of heavy, but I made a joke of it all. It was very usefully cathartic."

Born Conrad Philip Havord in London in 1925, he served in the British navy before becoming an actor – first on stage, and later on television as well. He appeared in The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Buccaneers, BBC soap opera The Newcomers, Emmerdale Farm and Fawlty Towers. 

In addition to his role as Tell in the 1950s, he guest-starred as Tell’s mentor, Stefan, in the TV remake Crossbow (1987-1988). 

In the 1970s, he ran a farm in Scotland alongside his acting career. And after shooting Crossbow in France, Phillips bought a home in Normandy. 

Phillips is survived by his wife, their two daughters, and two grandchildren. 

Aiming True Actor Conrad Phillips Tells it as it was

More than 50 years ago Conrad Phillips was bounding over the Welsh hills playing Swiss national hero William Tell in an immensely popular British ... and agencies

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