Obituary: Philip Hodgson Grummet (FLL 1950)

Posted 17 DEC 2021
Sadly Missed

Philip Hodgson Grummet (FLL 1950)
Born: 6/05/1933
Died: 3/11/2021

Adelaide’s theatre scene has lost a piece of its foundation with the death of Phil Grummet. Phil, 88, was a keen enthusiast in all things theatrical and was involved across the city’s performing arts scene as an actor and director, as well as behind the scenes.

He was the only child of Leonard (Theo) and Faith (nee Paltridge) Grummet, attended St Peter’s College, and trained as a pharmacist at the University of Adelaide. Shortly after his marriage to Patricia (Pat) Roberts in 1957, the couple travelled to Britain and worked in pharmacies across London. It was in Soho they met and studied with the Leichner make-up artist Richard Blore. This began Phil’s lifelong love affair with this aspect of the performing arts industry. His knowledge was formidable. Across the years he combined research with sourcing and stocking theatre makeup products in the family pharmacy, which he established with Pat in Gillies Plains, and later in Hillcrest.

Using his pharmaceutical knowledge, he also created bespoke products for supply to theatre, film and television
make-up departments and founded his own business for this, Network Stein. He was a consultant to productions at the State Theatre Company, South Australian State Opera and SA Film Corporation among others. He was a mainstay of the Christmas Pageant, overseeing and supplying make-up to the community event for 55 years.

He was due to be a passenger on the train float in this year’s event. Among the greater challenges to a make-up artist, he formulated a “dubious black goo” for Frank Thring’s Othello, supplied 26 litres of blood and guts per week for Rodney Fisher’s production of The Duchess of Malfi and designed and nightly applied a whole-body tattoo for a Roger Howell contemporary opera show. He was also part of the burgeoning film industry in the 1970s and 1980s, providing blood and wound effects for Gallipoli, Breaker Morant, Harlequin and Mad Max II.

He stored three kinds of stage blood – venous, arterial and congealed, in the back room of the dispensary, all of them machine washable, a blessing to Wardrobe departments. His false flesh and accident- simulation work was used for emergency-services training events for hospitals and for the St John’s Ambulance. Grummet boasted that one of his “burns cases” for one such exercise was so convincing it passed the triage at a hospital. Phil was also a teacher of make-up to all three of Adelaide’s universities and many colleges and institutions throughout the state.

He never lost his early love of performance, nurtured in the 1950s in the Adelaide University Footlights Club and he was an honorary life member of the Adelaide University Theatre Guild. He performed with a number of local companies and also directed numerous productions for Pembroke School, Adelaide’s La Mama Theatre, Burnside Players and Daw Park Players.

Through all this he maintained his core, passionate commitment to community pharmacy. He served as president of the Pharmaceutical Society of South Australia and as the Media Liaison Officer for the SA branch of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, advising on pharmacy issues for many years on talkback radio, news and current affairs’ programs for a variety of networks.

He prided himself in nurturing a personal contact with all his patients in order to better serve their health needs. He was widely trusted for his common sense in an era when drug companies became increasingly commercial. Phil and Pat had three children, Adey (Adrienne), Nigel and Pip (Philippa). The couple separated in 1987. Phil was also a proud grandfather to Jace and Declan.

Phil married Margaret (Margie) in 1997 and was a generous stepfather to Shaun, Kim and Jeremy and “Papa Phil” to Lilly and Tom. He will be lovingly remembered for his energetic helpfulness, his ever-generous hospitality and his outgoing bonhomie. He lived in Kensington Gardens during his first marriage and in Broadview from his second marriage until his death.

A private funeral was held on November 19, followed by a celebration of his life on November 28.

Credit: Obituary published in The Advertiser 4/12/2021

The School is notified through families or newspapers of death notices. We need your assistance to keep our database as current as possible. If you know of a class mate, friend or past staff member that has passed away, please let us know. Call the St Peter’s Old Collegians office directly on +61 08 8404 0526 or email spoc@stpeters.sa.edu.au.