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Lorrae Desmond Lorrae Desmond i(8468594 works by) (birth name: Beryl Hunt)
Born: Established: 1932 ;
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Singer, entertainer, actor.

In a career spanning more than 50 years, Gold-Logie winning actress Lorrae Desmond has worked in most areas of the entertainment industry. Her CV includes engagements on stage, radio and television as a solo and back-up singer, and as an actor/performer in cabaret, revue, pantomime and vaudeville artist. She also appeared in several films, both in the UK and in Australia.

After finishing school at 13 Desmond completed a hairdressing apprenticeship but soon afterwards gave it up for a career in show business. Her first job was as a singing cigarette girl. She travelled to England in the mid-1950s, performing as a solo singer with a backing group called The Rebels. She also appeared in cabaret and pantomime and performed on both radio and television. She and comedian Terry Thomas met in late-1950s, and went on to have a personal relationship that lasted some ten years. During this period Desmond's career flourished. She competed in the 1957 Eurovision Song Contest, starred in such BBC radio shows as Meet Lorrae, Swing with Lorrae, and Trouble for Two (1958). She also appeared in several of Thomas's television specials.

While still living in the UK Desmond was offered her own show by the Australian Broadcasting Commission This meant returning home on a regular basis. In 1962, she made Australian television history by being the first woman to win the Gold Logie (for The Lorrae Desmond Show). Interestingly the Gold Logie that year was shared between Desmond and Tommy Hanlon Jr. Desmond returned to Australia sometime around the mid-1960s.

In 1971 Desmond collaborated with Enzo and Peggy Toppano on the religious rock opera, The Jesus Christ Revolution for Harry Wren. When the producer heard that Jesus Christ Superstar was imminent he pushed the trio to complete the libretto (which they did in six weeks). Competition in Australia from Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell meant that the musical was unable to gain traction in Melbourne and Sydney (where the title was changed to Man of Sorrows). It nevertheless became popular in New Zealand and also won the award for best new musical at the 1972 Edinburgh Festival. In 2000 Desmond wrote and toured with her 3rd one-woman show Archival Revival, and six years later co-wrote Honey with Gael Ballantyne. Based on Bryce Courtenay's Smoky Joe's Cafe) and adapted into a musical, it won the 2008 Glugs award for Best New Australian Play.

As an dramatic actress Desmond was best known to Australians during the 1980s as Shirley Gilroy in A Country Practice. Her other Australian roles were in such series as Homicide, Number 96, Riptide, and Home and Away. Her first film appearance was in 1955 when she was cast as a singer in the UK production, Stock Car.

Most Referenced Works


  • Film and TV credits incl.

    1955: Stock Car [UK]

    1956: Hancock's Half Hour [UK] • Strictly T-T [UK]

    1957: Mostly Maynard [UK] • Sheep's Clothing [UK]

    1968: Homicide [1]

    1969: Riptide [1]

    1972: Number 96

    1975: Shannon's Mob [1]

    1976: The Outsiders [1]

    1980: Arcade [1]

    1981-92: A Country Practice

    1997: Home and Away [16]

    1999: Tom's Funeral (film)

    NB: All entries are for television series (unless otherwise noted). Brackets [ ] indicate no of episodes.

Last amended 17 Apr 2015 12:01:01
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