Grant Tilly
Grant Tilly as Wally in Gliding On

Grant was born on 12th December 1937 in Sydney, only to return to New Zealand one month later. He grew up and was educated in Wellington, attending Wellington Technical College, taking the art course under Fred Ellis, from 1951 to 1955. From 1956 to 1958 Grant attended Wellington and Dunedin Teachers Colleges, completing a third year in Art and Craft specialist training before joining the Wellington Education Board's Art and Craft specialist service.

Grant was awarded an overseas bursary from the Department of Internal Affairs to study Child Drama in England, which he did from 1961 to 1964. On his return to New Zealand he tutored at Nola Millar's New Theatre School, (which later evolved into the QEII Drama School and later still into the New Zealand Drama School), where he was a senior acting tutor until 1988. At this time, he also pursued a free-lance acting career at Downstage Theatre and later at Circa Theatre, where he was also a theatre designer and director.

During the 1970s and 1980s Grant worked as an illustrator for David McGill's articles in The Evening Post - "Cityscapes" and later "Harbourscapes" and then on his own column "Drawing On History". The articles charted the changing face of Wellington's urban landscape. It was the late John Drawbridge who suggested that some 1964 drawings of Wellington be published, which led to his first book of drawings, "The Old House Town". He later encouraged Grant to mount his first ever and highly successful exhibition at Harry Seresin's Settlement Gallery.

Along side his career as an artist he worked in theatre, film, and was a common face on New Zealand TV in the 70s and 80s working in: