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GLORIA DAWNS ANEW
Theatregoers realised recently that the actress they haye accepted tor years as a good trouper is now truly worthy of the title "star."
THE REAL GLORIA DAWN (aboye) and (Mt) the stage Gloria of "Hail Gloria Fitzpatrick."
would bc one of the most seasoned troupers on j the Australian show ¡ business scene.
Bom figuratively in a dressing-room - her parents, Billy and Zilla Andros, had
their own act - the smell of greasepaint, the glow of the footlights have been part of her life for most of I the time since.
At four she was hailed as
Australia's Shirley Temple; \ she has danced in the chorus i line, has been a' comic feed, I juggler's assistant, circus
performer, soubrette, TV personality, actress, singer,
She had never been a big name, although well known all over Australia. But Syd- ney theatregoers sat up and \ opened their eyes when she
bounced out on stage in the j lead of the revue "A Cup
of Tea, a Bex, and a Good Lie Down" and stole the show.
It was her first revue, and 1 the critics glowed with praise. "Her clowning is a delight," they wrote. "Her personality is all-embracing." "She has a true, strong voice." "She is an unquali fled triumph." "There's nc
one like Gloria Dawn."
They set up another paear of praise early this year when Gloria, with her twc daughters playing her sisters was Annie in "Annie Gel Your Gun," the musical ai the Warringah Mall Musk Theatre Festival at Brook
i The success of "Bex,'
which was written by John McKellar, one of Australia's top playwrights, was so im- pressive that the Phillip Theatre management com- missioned him to write a musical, or revuskal as they term it, specially ipr their
Opening on March ll, and named "Hail Gloria Fitzpatrick," it is the hie, in revue form, of an Aus- tralian-born Irish girl who goes from good to bad and back to being good again.
It will certainly be a chal- lenge of strength.
With the exception of two breaks, one of five minutes, one of three, Gloria will be on stage for the entire show, about three hours, and will sing 16 of its 18 numbers.
It could be a heady flat- tery for most women - but
not for Gloria.
"I never become excited," she told me as we drank coffee together during a re- hearsal break in the darkened Phillip Theatre.
She is certainly a different personality off-stage.
Gone is the- hoydenish madcap, the raucous voice, the clowning. Instead, you meet a quiet, composed, diminutive woman with a wealth of blonde hair, whose most striking feature is a pair of expressive, intelligent
Her yoice is soft with no touch of the theatre in it. You feel she would much rather talk about her home at Rosebery which she and her husband, Frank Cleary, arc doing up, and about her two schoolgirl daughters and son Peter, who works
in a bank.
But now, pressed for her reaction to a show written expressly for her, about her sudden burst back into the limelight, she bit reflectively into her egg sandwich before answering:
"I . don't consider a lot
of things terribly important, really.
"I just hope that I am going to be capable of ful- filling what they want and
that the show is the success they are anticipating.
"When people rush up and tell me things which, in their eyes, are tremendous, I just listen and think about
"You see, I am always sceptical and I never approach any show thinking it will be good. I just hope I can do it in the right way. That is important to me."
Another bite into the sandwich, another pause:
"Personally, I don't feel any great thing about it. To me it is my job, and a job I know I must do to the best of my ability.
"It's the same as any other job. You work set hours and you finish and go home -- to another life, your family.
"You could say, I sup- pose, that I lead two com- pletely different lives, but that is what makes me happy.
"Ours is a quiet family life. We don't go out very much. In fact, I can't remember when I last went to a film.
"Why people think actors are different from others I just don't know. Everyone talks about the glamorous life we lead - but what about the sweat? They never
think of that.
"Certainly this new show will be strenuous, but you be-
come accustomed to it after
the first couple of real run- through rehearsals, and after that it just becomes routine."
You believe her when, with a twinkle in her eye, she tells you her neighbors, with whom she has shared the same street for the past 12 months, took a long time to find out she was
in the theatre.
"They all know me as Mrs. Cleary. And if you would see me some mornings, my hair in a mess, dressed in an old brunch - coat hosing the garden, you would think me the most unlikely candidate
for the theatre.
"I hate to disillusion you, but theatricals are really no different from anyone else - only those who deliberately
make themselves so."
Gloria had worked mostly at the Tivoli until she met and married her husband, a compere - comedian - juggler,
after the war.
She dropped out of the spotlight for a while after that and then, with Frank, spent many years touring country
Her first consideration has always been for her family. When her children arrived, they travelled with their parents by caravan.
Every now and then Gloria would do a stint in city and suburban clubs, but she wasn't appearing before a big public - "and they have very short memories."
Then came roles in "The Pajama Gam e," "Once Upon a Mattress," "The Amorous Prawn," and "The Sentimental Bloke."
- By - GLORIA NEWTON
IWhile appearing :
latter she caught the »ion of producer Bil who offered her a p the Miriam Karlin she Australia Really Neces
Illness prevented accepting the offer, but the casting began for ' she was again appro; and offered the lead.
Gloria has tried to courage her children
entering the theatrical w
She succeeded, she
me, with her son, Peter, and with ten-year-old J Ann. (When asked what wants to do when she le school, Julie Ann invaria replies, "Work in a pk factory.")
"She enjoyed herself
'Annie,' but she really is « anxious to repeat the-J* fonnance," said Gloria.
"But Donna Lee, who 15, is determined to go * show business, and I re"' there is no talking her «
"However, I made « stipulation. I told her* had to take a cominera» course first so that, if °* going is tough, she will ha« something to fall back on.
"Show-business life disappointing in so
ways. There are so w unkind things done to and it is uncertain.
"It is all a matter of JJ
tinuity of work. I«
regard I have been "07
lucky - but there are nj
who haven't shared