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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.
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
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