Author(s): Anne Pender
Comic actors have made a particularly strong contribution to cultural life in Australia over the past sixty years. They have brought a range of memorable characters to the stage, television and film; they have transformed our image of ourselves, helped to overturn the crippling cultural cringe, and brought Australian humour and satire to the world. The Australian theatre, television and film industries are dynamic in ways that could never have been imagined fifty years ago. These industries have expanded and demonstrated extraordinary vitality, with actors, as the public face of the performing arts, carrying the immediate responsibility for the success of each show. It is the actors, and often the characters they play, that we remember when we recall a favourite television program, film or play, long after we have seen it. In spite of this they are frequently left out of history. This book draws on extensive interviews to present full, rounded portraits of seven significant Australian comic actors: Carol Raye, Barry Humphries, Noeline Brown, Max Gillies, John Clarke, Tony Sheldon, and Denise Scott. Taken together, these actors careers span the period from the Second World War until the present and contributed immensely to the cultural life of millions of Australians.