As cantankerous plumber Max Ramsey, Kiwi Francis Bell was the original patriarch in iconic soap Neighbours. A popular and sought after actor in Australia, Bell had roles in numerous TV staples; he played ‘Pompey’ Elliot in the Anzacs mini-series. In the mid-80s Bell returned home, and in TV3 soap Homeward Bound played Dad to a young Karl Urban. In May 1994, aged 50, he fell from an Auckland building to his death.
Francis was an eccentric genius who didn’t always fit in, but I think he was the most talented male actor this country has ever produced. He could get into a role at the drop of a hat. Bell's New Zealand agent Graham Dunster