The Evening Post Wellington, New Zealand
Ask Rocky Horror
Picture Show creator Richard O'Brien what he remembers most
about growing up in Tauranga and he immediately starts talking
about walnut trees.
Not the answer you'd
expect, but then nothing about O'Brien is ever as it appears.
Life hasn't been
the same for O'Brien since he sat down in his London flat one
night in the early 1970s and penned The Rocky Horror Picture
Show, one of the most influential rock operas in entertainment
The musical went
on to become a cult classic, rocketing O'Brien from obscurity
to hero status - a far cry from his humble beginnings in Tauranga.
O'Brien moved to
New Zealand from England with his family as a boy soon after
the Second World War, and after a stint in Hamilton settled
After dropping out
of school he worked as a barber for five years, then tried general
labouring and dairy farming in Putaruru.
But he had always
been interested in show business and in 1965 decided to try
his luck in England, enrolling in night acting classes while
working as a labourer.
O'Brien has gone
on to write, direct and star in a multitude of musicals, plays
and movies, but his fondness for Rocky Horror is unmistakable.
It hasn't made him
a millionaire - but you'll never hear him complain about that.
"Luckily Rocky Horror wasn't a huge blockbuster. I can
honestly say I'm very pleased about that, because it allowed
me to curtail my excesses. I'm not sure I'd still be here today
if it had made a lot of quick money."
Despite having lived
in England for more than 30 years, O'Brien still thinks of New
Zealand as his spiritual home.
we had this tennis court surrounded by walnut trees. I've often
thought about those trees over the years. It's funny, but I've
always thought of New Zealand as home - it's where my heart
Kiwis will get a
chance to discover exactly what he thinks of Godzone in a documentary
series being shot while he's in New Zealand on holiday.
is filming a series on expatriate New Zealanders, and has followed
O'Brien from London. However, he has been given a few days to
himself while in Tauranga, which he intends to spend relaxing
with family and friends - no doubt reminiscing about those old
Wellington Newspapers Limited 1999, All rights reserved