Mary Hardy, the tragic clown

Fans of Aussie TV history should check out the profile piece, Artscape: IOU: Mary Hardy, on the ABC next week. Mary Hardy was an irreverant comedienne and presenter, famed for first dropping “the F word” on Australian television. If ever we had a female Graham Kennedy, it was the woman known simply as “Mary.”

Sister to writer Frank Hardy (Power Without Glory), Mary won eight Logies and appeared on shows including In Melbourne Tonight and The Penthouse Club (brother Frank would later pen a biographical play in which she was portrayed by Tania Lacey). She also had a controversial career in radio which saw her fight with management, leading to an on-air walk-out.

She was also sacked by Channel Nine.

Hardy was one of a handful of women who broke a mould in Aussie television. “Before I came on the scene, if you were a woman on television, you were barrel girl, a weather girl or a wheel spinner…” she said.

But Hardy’s personal life was not without tragedy. In 1985 she committed suicide.

This documentary features several personalities reflecting on her distinct career, including writer and Tuesday Book Club panellist, Marieke Hardy, her grand-niece.

It’s great viewing for nostalgics and TV historians.

Artscape: IOU: Mary Hardy airs 10pm Tuesday Feb 12 on ABC.

2 Responses

  1. I have childhood memories of Mary Hardy – every Saturday night on the Penthouse Club with Michael Williamson. She was very ahead of her time and I’m sure if she was “now” she would be starring on shows like the Panel, the Glasshouse etc. She certainly had a “mouth” as they say which was pretty gutsy for a female on tv in those days.

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