Performer Rory O’Donoghue, best known for the iconic 70s comedy The Aunty Jack Show, has died, aged 68.
He died in hospital on December 13, daughter Jessica revealed on Facebook.
“Many of you knew Rory as an incredible musician, a great athlete and a wonderful teacher. To us he was the most amazing and precious Dad, Grandpa, partner, son, brother, uncle and friend. We are devastated and will miss him deeply.”
O’Donoghue rose to fame on ABC’s The Aunty Jack Show as Thin Arthur alongside Grahame Bond and Garry McDonald as Kid Eager, under director Maurice Murphy. Bond and O’Donoghue met at Sydney University, performing in revues after O’Donoghue played The Artful Dodger in a Sydney production of the musical Oliver!
Aunty Jack was created as an ABC Radio children’s radio series, to replace the long-running The Argonauts Club, partly inspired by Bond’s overbearing Uncle Jack, his grandfather Ben Doyle and Dot Strong the ABC’s last official tea lady. The cross-dressing, moustachioed, trucker and pantomime dame made her unmistakeable debut in Aunty Jack’s Travelling Show, an episode of The Comedy Game, broadcast in late 1971. It was enough to win a stand-alone series with Bond threatening to “rip yer bloody arms off” and O’Donoghue singing the theme song.
O’Donoghue continued performing after Aunty Jack, releasing albums, performing in stage musicals including Jesus Christ Superstar and Forbidden Planet and writing ad jingles. He played the guitar solo on Kevin Johnson’s biggest hit Rock and Roll I Gave You the Best Years of My Life and won an Australian Film Institute award in 1981 for best movie score for Fatty Finn.
He once did a version of ‘Stairway To Heaven’ for Andrew Denton’s The Money or the Gun.
Only two weeks ago O’Donoghue joined Grahame Bond for his book launch in Sydney, with Doug Mulray, writer Geoffrey Atherden and director Maurice Murphy.