Conrad Phillips
Conrad Phillips.jpg
Conrad Philip Havord

(1925-04-13)13 April 1925
Lambeth, London, England
Died13 January 2016(2016-01-13) (aged 90)
Years active1946–1991
Spouse(s)Jean Moir (1949–19??; divorced)
Jennie Slatter (1968–2016; his death)

Conrad Philip Havord (13 April 1925 – 13 January 2016), known professionally as Conrad Phillips, was an English television and film actor.[1][2] He is best known for playing William Tell in the adventure series The Adventures of William Tell (1958–1959).[3]

Life and career

Phillips was born Conrad Philip Havord in London, the son of Horace Havord who was a journalist and detective story writer. He attended St John's Bowyer School, Clapham, south London.[1] He worked for an insurance company, and forged his birth date on his ration book so that he could join the Royal Navy at the age of 17.

In three years of service during the Second World War he saw action in the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea and the North Sea and survived the mining of a landing craft.[1] He called himself 'Bill' in the navy because his shipmates kept ridiculing the name Conrad. His name wasn't changed to 'Phillips' until he started acting.

His father had been using the name 'Conrad Phillips' as a pen name for his thriller writing, and suggested that his son use this as his stage name. In his autobiography, Conrad said that he regretted making that decision.[4]

He studied at RADA, and then appeared in repertory theatre and in the West End.[5] He is best known for portraying William Tell in the popular ITV television series The Adventures of William Tell, which ran for 39 episodes from 1958 to 1959.[6] Phillips also played Stefan, Tell's mentor, in the updated version Crossbow in 1987.[3] During the 1960s and 1970s, he worked in theatre, television and films – it was to be his busiest period as an actor.[4]

Severe back pain, two replacement knees and a replacement hip brought a premature end to Conrad Phillips' acting career, and he retired from the screen in 1991. He spent the last episode of The Adventures of William Tell in a wheelchair, because he had broken his ankle whilst on location. Even the fighting shots were done in this way.[4]

He met his second wife, Jennie, in April 1968. In January 1972 they set about restoring a Scottish hill farm called Skeoch.[7]

They finally lived in Chippenham, Wiltshire.[3] Phillips released his autobiography, Aiming True, in 2013.[4]

Other TV appearances

Other TV shows: The Count of Monte Cristo, The New Adventures of Charlie Chan, The Newcomers (recurring character – Robert Malcolm), Sutherland's Law, Howards' Way, Never the Twain, The Gaffer, Sorry! and Emmerdale Farm (recurring character – Dr Christopher Meadows from 1981 to 1986). Mini-series: Into the Labyrinth and The Master of Ballantrae.

Selected filmography


  1. ^ a b c Conrad Philips obituary, The Guardian. Retrieved 13 January 2016.
  2. ^ "Conrad Phillips". BFI.
  3. ^ a b c "William Tell star Conrad Phillips dies". 13 January 2016 – via
  4. ^ a b c d "Aiming True – The Autobiography of Conrad Phillips".
  5. ^ "Who's Who on Television". Independent Television Publications. 1970. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ William Tell details Archived 29 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine, Retrieved 11 October 2007.
  7. ^ [1]Skeoch – Our life on a Scottish hill farm. Retrieved 15 January 2013.