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 season -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.