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Australian Biography -

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(generated from captions) who are so complex You've got two characters and I think their flaws are... are kind of hopefully... and thrilling to watch. really exciting of ending my days alone. I've such a dread who are on their own, I know a lot of people like that really to love have not had anybody or to look after or to care about. and completely ridiculous I knew it was wrong and immoral but... I don't know. I just allowed it to happen.

I think there's a real problem in... but certainly in cinema not in theatre and likeable and sympathetic. where women are meant to be lovable if you don't promise. I can't help you I promise. as a woman I think it's a constant struggle to allow characters as men are in cinema. to be wonderfully flawed You promised to end it. Don't go! Because I... Why didn't you? What? You're in love? a thousand ways, you know. We could have done all these scenes Never went the same each time. I gave you EXACTLY what you wanted. without me! You'd be stuck in that marriage You can't accept it yet. What? to be here with you? You think I wanted You need me, I'm your friend! Then you see the film that button and not that one?" and think "Why did I press ever quite watch myself. That's why I can't is the last entry point. Often the character It's about the project as a whole in this character?" rather than... "What can I express I'm not naturally... exhibitionistic I think that's probably because to get to a performance. so it takes time for me Captions (c) SBS Australia 2007 Food tastes better on a Friday. on Fridays. People dress differently helping local communities Australia Post is celebrate art, promote health, people could never talk to. I've never been a person that I've never been stand-offish. Feet firmly on the ground. about that And I'm really pleased

been a great help all my life because that common touch has and it does attract people They feel they can talk to you. could ever say, I don't think anybody that stuck-up bitch." (Laughs) "Oh, that Noeline Brown, for many years. Stanmore was our home In fact, my parents both died into just before I was born, in the house that they moved for the time being." and said, "It'll do I had two brothers. But it was a very happy house. very happy themselves. Our parents were relationship between them, It was very much a loving and that rubbed off on us. and very secure and that... We felt very loved being back in my own bedroom Even now, I dream about that I experienced. and the happiness

manage for money? How did your parents Mum was a fabulous seamstress... clothes, absolutely glorious. ..and could make glorious a fashionable woman. She was quite any money behind her She didn't ever have with the Travelling Post Office. and Dad just had this one job of money he made from overtime And, of course, any sort them living well was the difference between or living poorly, I suppose.

So he was a great union man better conditions and pay and he fought for of his work that he did and I was quite proud when he was with the union. between the men was huge. And union business to the kitchen And women would retire matters in the living room. and the men would discuss union memory of performing? What is your earliest

concerts we used to do Probably just the little in the backyard, we'd have a penny admission. and we'd have seating, My brothers would do the money the thing. and I used to actually direct I have to say. And I'd do the comedy bits,

on being the star in my shows. I was never really keen But it sounds like, at 10, you had full creative control. in my life, and the only time. That's right. For the first time (Laughs) get on at school? How did you I loved English. I loved art. I loved history, invent it on many occasions. although I was told not to the French teacher. And I can remember Miss Kent-Hughes. with her French 'R's. And she'd spit all over you a really dull teacher. And she was And I remember wearing a... Because she spat so much, to her class one day I wore a yellow shower cap of trouble for being cheeky. and got into all sorts

I didn't think she'd notice. But I just thought it was... she spat over people. (Laughs) I didn't know she knew and most girls did. I left school at 15, But I couldn't wait to go and do stuff. and join the real world and I wanted to be glamorous. I wanted to make some money And I wanted to go to town and the high heels and the hats, with the gloves which you did in those days. ambitions for you? What were your parents' probably would have been My parents' ambitions and have a family and be happy. for me to marry a nice bloke most girls did in those days. And that's really what And when I was 15, who was much older than I, I met a very nice man and they were happy with that. And our plans were for marriage. we became engaged then. But by the time I turned 18, and I was starting to grow up And 18 and a half to the theatre and I was starting to go in my eyes. and I was getting stars I joined a theatre group, And at 19, the end of marriage and that was really my parents had planned for me. and the end of anything that when you left school at 15, Going back to

for a living then? what did you actually do I had to have a proper job, so I saw an ad in the newspaper for a librarian with Marrickville Council. And I thought, "Oh, that sounds good." And the family said, "Yes, it's a perfect job. "She's never got her nose out of a book." And I was a very nervous little girl on that first day, but I was taken under the wing

of the assistant librarian who was... Frances Chartress was her name. And she was, oh, a young, attractive woman

who had a keen interest in the arts, and we became really good friends and she was a mentor to me. And she really encouraged my theatrical career because she started a little theatre group. What took you from those amateur beginnings to bigger things? The biggest show that I did at that time was all... ..an accident, really.

I went to the Pocket Playhouse because Frances Chartress said I should. And they gave me a couple of pages of a script to read, and I read them. And then they gave me a couple more, and I read those. And they said, "Well, we'd like you to be the leading lady." 'The Prince and the Showgirl' was the title of the film of this play. And usually you've got to carry a few spears

before this sort of thing happens. But we got very well reviewed. And, in those days, because we didn't really have a star system or, you know, theatres where people went to see Australian actors, they used to go to these little theatres and so did the critics. So it was the beginning of a love affair with the theatre, obviously. Nothing like being in a hit. And out of that hit came work in the Phillip Theatre revues, and then the Music Hall Theatre Restaurant. BURLESQUE PIANO MUSIC PLAYS (Sings) # I'm free and easy # My life's my own # I come and go as I choose # Just look me over... # What was it like for an actor working in a theatre restaurant? It was a very good training ground for audience participation and how to manage an audience, because they were encouraged to be part of the show. And men used to leap up onto the stage and toast us and things like that. It was fabulous. Barry Creyton would always just take his cigarette and just tap it into the food of the people in the front row. The very first time I walked out on the stage

was a very, very odd experience because I had been rehearsing a couple of musical numbers, quite a few musical numbers, trying to get them absolutely right. And I had a wonderful piano player. And when I was rehearsing, she was really helpful to me, because I had difficulty with the singing. So, got everything down perfectly pat. And the very first night, I walked out on stage and there was all of this NOISE coming from the audience. It might've been because I was wearing a corset and net stockings and high boots and things. But I thought, "What's going on?!" So I opened my mouth and Sophie Tucker walked out, you know, giving a big performance. But the audience actually created that. And that's how I played the character from that moment on. Sort of... I don't know what happened. This other person walked out. # How do you do? Hello # Don't do your block It's nine o'clock # It's 'The Mavis Bramston Show'. # LAUGHTER How did your role in the first 'Mavis Bramston Show' come about? It was going to be a send-up of the fact that, in Australia, you couldn't be a star, that they would import this appalling person called 'Mavis Bramston'

to Australia, and she'd be so bad, she couldn't sing, she couldn't dance, she couldn't tell a joke. And suddenly, all eyes were on me. And I said, "What do you mean? Thanks a lot. "'Can't sing, can't dance, can't tell a joke.'" They said, "It's nothing to do with that. "You've just started in your career "and you're not well known. "We'll disguise you and it's only for the one show."

So I said OK. (Sings) # I could've danced... # LAUGHTER # Danced, danced, danced... # LAUGHTER CONTINUES # All night. # At this time, like most of your generation, you took off for London to see what it had to offer, but you came back after only a year. Why did you do that? The pull of Australia was enormous for me... ..as it is with any Australian. But, for me, I thought, "I don't want to be in England "pretending to be an English person "and affecting an English accent

"and putting English people out of work. "I want to go home and speak in my own tongue "with my own accent and...and... "I don't know, blaze a bit of a trail, I suppose." But apart from that, I had offers of better work here. And that drew me home. You came back to be a regular in 'The Mavis Bramston Show'. (Noeline drawls) Here I just laze around the palace all day. There are always lots of other ladies to talk to. Relations? Oh, now and again. We're all on the roster... No, no, no. I mean, um... what about your social life? Oh, it's a veritable whirl. Always seem to be going to weddings. Oh, and who gets married? Usually, my husband. Now, everyone who was alive in Australia in the '60s remembers that show. It was hugely popular. How was it to experience that level of popularity? There was a downside because... ..the downside being celebrity, and that's hard to escape. And it is sometimes a very uncomfortable thing. And I remember going into a shopping centre - they were quite new at the time - and I was coming down the escalator and a couple of women were going up. And as they passed me,

this woman screamed, as she was going up, "Are you Noeline Brown?!" And I said 'yes' rather thinly through thin lips of string. And she got to the top, she screamed down, "I wouldn't know you from Adam! My friend wants to know!" So, uh, people were, uh... They would talk about you, you know,

like, "Oh, I can't stand that woman," as if you were deaf. So I hated all of that sort of stuff. Why did you leave 'Mavis Bramston'? You left it before it had finished. I left 'Mavis Bramston' because I was asked to go into 'My Name's McGooley - What's Yours?'

Probably the first sitcom. If not the first, the first good one. WOMAN: Would anyone like a nice cup of tea? NOELINE: No, thanks, Rite. It's no trouble. The kettle's on. She's had enough liquid to float her all the way back to Catawirra. It's Cabawirra. I'll get the rest of your rotten thing. Um...what were you doing up there at, uh...? Cabawirra? Yeah, that place. Oh, working in the Royal Hotel there. Oh, in the office? No, in the bar. Oh. That must've been nice. Well, it was pretty swinging in the shearing season. (Laughs nervously) Yes, I suppose it would be.

The character that you played, Possum... Possum. ..this was one of a long train, from the Music Hall through, of...warm-hearted barmaid types that you've been cast as, Noeline. Yes. Why do you think that was? Well, I think, uh... ..it's a criticism I have of directors of television shows. They see you do one part and you do it for the rest of your life. I did get cast, from that time on, as a tart with a heart, a tart with no heart, you know, names like Trixie O'Toole. And I started to lose interest in television because I was getting the same part offered to me all the time. So I decided I didn't want to do any more, that I'd take myself away and do some theatre work and get to play decent roles. So that's what I did. I sort of turned my back on television. I always thought that it would come back to me and I'd get better offers, but the same old parts kept coming up. But I was fortunate that I had the background of theatre and contacts

and was able to resume my life on the stage. There was a time when you were registered with an agency, a theatrical agency, that folded, owing you a lot of money, all of which you lost.

What did you do? That was when I had to find another job, which was not in the theatre, and it was probably the first time I had done a job that wasn't connected with show business for many years. And it was, oddly enough,

working for a drug and alcohol clinic as a sort of, well, pretend nurse. Now, this was shortly after I'd been in everybody's living room and a very...well, a famous face, let me say. So a lot of the people who were recovering alcoholics did quite a double take. And, one night, I was looking after somebody who was suffering from the DTs, a really bad case. He looked at me through this bloodshot eye and he said, "What's your name, girly?" And I said, "Noeline Brown." He said, "Ha-ha, I suppose Bobby Limb's doing the operations." (Laughs) Pretty soon, you were back in show business, and you bought yourself a house. Now, given the financial insecurity of your profession, was that difficult? In those days, you couldn't get a loan as a woman, a single woman, from a bank. It was ridiculous. But I went to the bank, anyway. And I said, "I've seen a house that I'd like to buy." "Oh, yes," he said. And he said, "Are you married?" I said, "No, I'm single." "Oh," he said. "Do you work?" I said, "Yes. As a matter of fact, I do." And he said, "What sort of work do you do?" And I said, "I'm an actress." "Oh, really?" he said. "And what are you in at the moment?" I said, "I'm playing Fay Fondle "in 'Chuck Chunder of the Space Patrol'." (American accent) Oh, Chuck, if only you'd say the word. If only I could count on you. MAN: You can always count on me, Fay. Can I, Chuck? Can I? Between us, Fay, there is something special, something deep. A bond of love and devotion. And that bond, Fay, cannot be broken! We were meant to be together! NOELINE: He said, "Oh, I love that show," and gave me the money. So I took every bit of work that I possibly could after that because I had a house to pay off. What was your next major television role? 'The Naked Vicar Show', which was a very happy experience. Got me hair caught in the Kenwood again. LAUGHTER Bloody planetary action. Looks really good, but. You're not wrong, Narelle. I walked away with the Coif of the Night Award at the ball Saturday. What ball? The Victor Owners' Club ball. This is RS Productions, Gary Reilly and Tony Sattler. And I didn't know that one day I'd marry one of them. For the very first couple of days, I didn't know which one, because I didn't know who was who.

I had to call them both 'darling'. Then I found out that Tony Sattler was the one that I would marry. You knew that right away? Pretty soon after, I have to say.

Even though I had actually married somebody... ..which I promised I promised myself I would never do - but in a moment... I married a...a friend, an old friend, who'd been asking me to marry him for years. And I'd always said no or laughed. And then, one day, I said yes, and did. And it was very short-lived. But I was still married.

Tony was actually married,

so it was quite a difficult time for both of us because we could see that we would be hurting other people. So, uh...we couldn't seem to do anything about it, so we finished up... He took me out to lunch and didn't go home...one day, and we've been together ever since. Super! Another service from Industry Super Funds. you moved to the country. And people thought you'd dropped out altogether. Why did you make that move? I just decided that I would stay at home and be a housewife in our new place that we'd bought in the Southern Highlands. But everybody sort of predicted that I'd retire soon. But that really wasn't the plan. We did other things. Shortly after that, I did a show called 'Blankety Blanks' with Graham Kennedy. And the uni student said, "In Professor Smith's class, "when I want his attention, "I don't raise my hand - oh, no - I raise my blank." Leg. "My leg"? (Audience giggles) Her leg. She was a German shepherd.

(Audience laughs) I think she was. NOELINE: And it was on every night of the week. It was five... well, five nights a week. But the real reason was that Tony and I had decided that we were going to have a family. And, uh, we...kept thinking we were going to have a family and kept thinking, and nothing seemed to be happening. So I...I was very upset, and I said to Tony, "I think, you know, you should think twice about our marriage." And I'd always been a bit concerned because I was older than Tony. And the fact that I was also now unable to have children - I was 37 and, uh, just probably a bit too late. So, in one way, we're, you know... ..we feel that it's a very, very sad thing. In another, we feel quite comfortable with the way we are. When you said to Tony that it was OK by you if he felt he couldn't stay, that was a big risk for you to take. Why did you take it? I think it was important to say

that I would release you if you wanted.

I think people really do want to have children. They want to go on. They want their genes to go on. It just wasn't so important to Tony. It mustn't have been or he would've...he would've gone. I mean, I know people who have made that stipulation. You know, "I'll only marry you if we can have children." So, uh, it... our relationship was important and it overcame that difficulty. And Tony was your campaign manager when you decided to stand as a candidate

in the NSW State election. Now, the seat of the Southern Highlands is a very safe conservative seat. Why did you decide to stand for Labor? I mean, I was always going to be attracted to the Labor Party because of my background, because of my father's interest in politics and my mother's... everybody around me

leant that way. I never once had... 'candidate's disease'. I never thought I would win till I was miked, on air, from my own living room. waiting to go on hang on, there's a cliffhanger Kerry O'Brien said, "Oh, "in the Southern Highlands." My heart froze." I went, "Huh! My God!" I thought, "What do I do now? in politics." "Oh, I'm really going to be Just for a moment, I thought it.

to my head. I had this sudden rush of blood by the end of the night, And, of course, wasn't enough to carry us over. we could see that the swing Well, there you go, Noeline. KERRY O'BRIEN: some comfort in a swing, I suppose you can take but clearly not enough. I've been on a swing before. It's the first time (All laugh) was successful My campaign, our campaign, because people in the community it was OK to vote Labor. could say that It was really... We'd almost got in. To me, that was a win. an interesting new way You've picked to, uh...to hit the stage. Yes, I guess I have, a one-night-only performance. but I guess this is

of your friends surprised Were any

to go in this direction? that you'd decided said that I was nuts. A lot of my friends want to be a politician?" "You're nuts! Why would you it was a dirty word. And they said it as if And, in fact, after a while, from icon to arsehole, I felt I'd gone somebody everybody liked, because one minute I was to wipe me off their shoe. the next day they were trying is it to you, Noeline, How important to be liked? at a personal level, I do like to be liked. It's probably a failing of mine. the little doggy thing I...I don't sort of do and plead for it, but I do like to be liked. person that people want to know. I like to be regarded as a Uh... a bit pitiful, I think it might sound but, yes, I do like to be liked. politics behind you Since you put in the Southern Highlands, and you've been living here

in the theatre? are you still able to work to work in the theatre I'm lucky people still ask me because it is my first love. was actually a tour, And the last one in 30 years or more, the first time I'd toured and this was 'Wallflowering', of Peg and Cliff Small, the story a very ordinary family. the Small family, of the ordinary" "The celebration by a reviewer, was how it was described and I think that's perfect. out of bookshops! I wanted to keep my children I can tell you. just walk into these places I had no idea that people could

in their homes. and buy them and read them around Australia, NOELINE: So we did a progression a terrific experience. and it was

You seem always to have to life, Noeline. a lovely light approach What's the trick? The trick is happiness. and it's because of my parents. And I was born a happy child, and it takes a lot But I was just happy, from somebody, to take that happiness because if you're having strife, "Well, I'm alright. you know, you can always think, it's something else." "It's that person or that thing, or that something else And the thing that that person can't take away from you and smile and enjoy yourself. is your ability to laugh an overseas trip every year Hey, I don't need to have or a contract with Hollywood. or a mansion I'm just a happy person. that is a gift from my parents, And I'm so grateful because I could have ever received. and it's the best one a couple of Calwell cuties SONG: # 'Cause we're where the loot is # And Canberra's a Labor victory # That's why we want the sitting members all at sea # We will have # If we smile at John McEwen # And treat him tenderly on his constituency # We might exert a strain # A couple of Calwell charmers # We're hoping it won't harm us

to win the vote # Employing all our sex