Vale: Julie Ryles

Former Young Talent Team member Julie Ryles died last Thursday, aged 53.

She suffered from the rare condition known as progressive subcortical gliosis.

Ryles first appeared on the show as a contestant in a dance trio called Wee Three. Before the act reached the finals, she was offered a regular place on the show as part of the Young Talent Team in October 1971, just in time to shoot the Young Talent Time movie Caravan Holiday which screened Australia-wide in cinemas as a short before the feature film What’s Up Doc?

She remained on the show until March 1976 and then appeared in a number of commercials including one for Cadbury’s Crunchie chocolate bar, directed by Fred Schepisi.

From September 1976 she ran a popular dress shop in Richmond called ‘Julie’s.’ The shop in Lennox Street was just a few doors down from the offices of YTT‘s Lewis-Young Productions.

In 1977 Ryles was cast in A Chorus Line but following the Sydney season she suffered a serious knee injury on the opening night of the Melbourne seasonย  -Friday 13th of January 1978.

After being taken from Her Majesty’s Theatre in an ambulance, she learned the devastating news that she would never dance again.

“It was a fairly good message to me that I needed to find other interests,” she once said.

It led to teaching dance at one of the first Johnny Young Talent Schools.

She later ran Krackerjack Kids, a children’s talent agency, and a public relations company Turning Point in Melbourne.

Her last TV appearance is understood to have been in the nostalgic special Young Talent Time Tells All.

Ryles is now the second member of the YTT Team to have passed away, following a 1993 car accident in which 17 year old Juanita Coco was killed. Musical director Ross Burton also died tragically in an horrific accident at Lake Eildon in the 1990s.

John Young today told TV Tonight, “It’s a very sad loss and far too young. She was a great contributor to Young Talent Time, and a fabulous dancer.

“My family and I all grew up with Julie and she was a pure delight and an extraordinary hard worker.”

Young still views the 42 children who appeared on the show as extended family.

“We’re all family in a way. We all went through some mighty things through the years,” he said.

“I feel very sad for her sister, Jenny. We’re going to miss her.”

Former YTT members have left condolence messages on a Facebook page including Steven Zammit, Beven Addinsall and Debbie Neat (nee Hancock).

She is survived by a daughter and grandaughter.

A funeral will be held tomorrow (February 2nd) at Springvale Botanical Cemetery in the Blair Chapel at 10.45am and the public is welcome to attend.


  1. Hi Samantha, I was sorry to hear about Julie she was my Aunty and I never got to meet her. I am Les Ryles (Mannie’s) daughter. You can contact me via facebook by typing in juliannejean. Would love to hear from you…..Julianne

  2. I only heard of Julie’s passing during the Logies telecast last night. The news came as a major shock. I sent Julie several fan letters during her time on YTT. She always replied, generally within two or three days. I still have those letters. They are now even more precious to me.

  3. Dear Samantha, I have only this minute heard that your lovely mother passed away last week, by watching a youtube clip. I am stocked and saddened to hear the news. My deepest sympathy to you and your family. Please pass on my sympathy to your father also, I met him through work a few years ago. I have great memories of your mother on YTT that I will hold onto. A very special lady we are all proud of.

  4. Samantha, deepest condolences on the sad loss of your much-loved and admired mum. I have such wonderful memories of watching her on YTT and was envious of her talent, that beautiful long hair and dazzling smile! A truly beautiful person inside and out. xx

  5. Samantha, I was so sad to hear about your mums passing. When she first started on YTT her and i wrote letters to each other every week. We had a great relationship and we considered each other friends. I lived in country victoria and never got to Melbourne very much at all but we always thought we would see each other one day. Not to be.
    I actually watched last night just to see her and was so sad to hear she had gone.
    My sincerest condolences, she truly was a remarkable talent. Mandy

  6. Oh my…. I was absolutely shocked to hear of Julie’s passing. Deepest condolences to you and your family Samantha. There was always something about your mum on screen that drew my attention to her whilst she performed. Even just sitting sweetly beside her cast members and Johnny Young. It was obvious she was a very special human being.

  7. Samantha Romano (julies daughter)

    Anne- thanks so much for your post there’s so much about my mum I didn’t know about so that’s one positive about this experience is hearing all the stories etc that I probably would have never known otherwise ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Dear Samantha, I am so sorry for your loss. Your mum and I were good friends through the 70’s and into the 80’s, we went to the same ballet school and maintained our frinedship for long after. We in fact lived together in East Brunswick for some time. There were many parties and fun times, surrounded by good friends. I met you only once as a small girl and your mum was so proud of you. We lost touch over the years, however the memories live on. My deepest condolences to you and family.

  9. Samantha Romano (julies daughter)

    Thankyou kindly Dave ๐Ÿ™‚ yes mum was an amazing person a shining star who’s time here with us was far too short! She always told me as a child that she wasnt going anywhere until she got her letter from the queen! Mum wasn’t a quitter, nothing was too hard, everything was possible it was just a matter of finding a way. This fighting spirit stayed with her right until her last breath thank you all for your kind words and condolences

  10. How very sad. I have fond childhood memories watching Julie along with the rest of YTT team with my whole family (Grandparents included). My sincere condolences to her family and friends.

  11. Samantha Romano (julies daughter)

    Sorry can I just mention mums condition was “progressive subcortical gliosis” very rare and different to altzimers sorry for the correction mum was stil very aware right until the end everyone can feel free to direct any queries to me it’s no trouble at all

  12. Terrible news; a fantastic young talent, as they all were. RIP Julie.

    PS David, Juanita died, I think, in the mid-90s? She wouldn’t have even been in YTT by 1983, more like 86-87.

  13. Wow, that is extremely sad news. I remember Julie (along with Jane and Jamie et al) Her bright eyed, and sweet demeanour on screen helped make the show a huge favourite of the time. Way too young.

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