Aussie actor David Wenham has recalled the “extraordinary” signs he received from his father following his death in an emotional TV interview.
The 53-year-old star, famed for his roles in everything from hit TV series SeaChange to Hollywood movies The Lord Of The Rings and 300, reveals his shock at first hearing of his father Bill’s death in an open and honest chat on ABC’s Anh’s Brush With Fame – set to air on Wednesday night.
“I was in Los Angeles when I received the phone call and it was like somebody had hit me with a 20 kilogram weight on my head,” he admits on the show. “It was very strange because it obviously wasn’t expected and suddenly you realise that ‘Yes, this is what life is, it’s fragile, it’s unexpected’.”
However, while the funeral felt surreal for the star, he says another huge shock came afterwards when he believes he received ‘signs’ from his late father from beyond the grave.
“His funeral, my God. The procession of priests, of bishops, archbishop, for a man who was very, very simple,” David recalls on the show. “He achieved pretty amazing things actually within the community, but anyway at the end of that service the choir at [the church] sang the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ which was one of my father’s favourite pieces of music.
“The next day my sister, who found my father dead, and myself – we drove up to the Blue Mountains because that’s somewhere my parents liked going. We thought, ‘Let’s go on a bit of an adventure’.
“We got into a hire car, turned the ignition, switched on the radio, what was on the radio straight up? ‘The Hallelujah Chorus’. And then as we drove up to the mountains, we walked into the hotel that we’d booked in, carrying our bags, and what was playing in the hotel? The second we booked in!”
Anh appears shocked at the revelation as he says: “Come on David! Dad really wanted you to know. He gave you two signs!”
To which David replies: “Yeah, pretty extraordinary.”
David – who has two daughters with his longtime partner Kate Agnew – goes on to recall the moment his mother passed away some time later, revealing her death wasn’t as unexpected as his father’s which meant he had time to say goodbye – and it resulted in a light-hearted final moment together for the whole family.
“All the siblings were around my mother as she was working up to take her last breath,” he says. “And my brother was playing hymns, and when we thought my mother was about to take her last breath, the curtain opened and a lady from the hospital said, ‘Would she like chicken or the soup?'”
Laughing at the memory, he adds: “Seriously… It’s like, what? What can you do? We laughed. I said, ‘I don’t think she’ll have either the chicken or the soup at the moment!'”
Asked for his advice for anyone after his own heartbreak, David tells Anh: “Live your life with purpose. Have a purpose for being here, because unless you have a purpose for being here, there’s no point really.
“And listen to people I think. I have a thirst for knowledge about everything… everything interests me and when I was at school I could have learned much more than I did, rather than playing catch up.”
David Wenham’s interview on Anh’s Brush With Fame airs tonight, Wednesday 24, on ABC at 8pm.