Family, friends and showbiz colleagues paid tribute to TV legend Jeanne Little in a 2 hr. memorial yesterday.
The 100 person event was held at the Mike Walsh-owned Hayden Orpheum theatre in Cremorne. Walsh did not speak but sent a video of Jeanne Little singing on the show that had made her an accidental star.
Craig Bennett regaled her colourful career, before memories from Mark Trevorrow, Wendy Harmer, Christine Dunstan, videos from Mike Williams, Patti Newton and messages from John Frost, Denise Drysdale, Maggie Kirkpatrick, Hazel Phillips. Performers included Trevor Ashley, Margi de Ferranti and Angela Ayers.
Jeanne’s grandchildren also took part in the celebration of her life before daughter Katie Little, who had spent so much time preparing the event, finally took to the stage.
“Mum loved a party and so in saying goodbye to her, I still keep pinching myself to think ‘Has this really happened?'” she said. “But Mum didn’t want everyone sitting around being depressed and sad. She would have wanted a terrific send-off and a party.
“So all you people are the most special people, who understood what she represented, and what a fabulous person she was.
“Scanning in all these images and watching them here today I just once again was sort of awestruck. I was just a little kid, kind of the magician’s helper…. I was the one zipping up mum’s dress backstage and pulling off the old eyelash glue.
“I think Dad and I always sort of felt we were the serious ones who were put in charge of looking after mum, because she was so special. Everyone wanted a piece of her time, because she was just so full of life, energy, inspiration and vitality.
“How could you not want to be around that?”
Professor Peter Schofield CEO of Neuroscience Research Australia also spoke on dementia, with the family asking for donations to a research fund in her name instead of flowers.
The final video was of Jeanne singing Jerry Herman’s “I’ll Be Here Tomorrow” from the Jerry’s Girls tour.
You can watch the full memorial here.