Author(s): Brian McFarlane
Not many can boast of careers that lasted successfully for nearly seventy years, but that is what both Googie Withers and John McCallum achieved. She acted everything from brazen murderesses to Lady Bracknell, taking in blonde nitwits, wartime Resistance workers, lady farmers and Shakespeare along the way. John not only performed memorably in all the acting media but also was a pioneer producer in Australian television, sending Skippy into the far corners of the earth, managing director of a huge theatrical firm, film director, playwright and author. Just as remarkable was their 62-year marriage, not all that common in the entertainment world, and the way this worked is as fascinating as their varied and prolific careers. There were plenty of disagreements along the way but underlying all was their profound respect for each others work and a kind of love that was essentially complementary. Together, in professional and personal matters alike, an unbeatable combination.
Brian McFarlane has been variously a secondary schoolteacher, an academic and a writer. Sometimes these careers overlapped, but in the last decade or so he has been a full-time author, writing books, reviews and articles about film, theatre and literature. He is the author and editor of over twenty books, including several on Australian cinema, and on aspects of and people involved in British cinema. Double-Act is his first biography.