Vale: Lorrae Desmond

Veteran showbiz star, best known for A Country Practice has died.

Veteran showbiz star Lorrae Desmond, best known for A Country Practice has died, aged 91.

Her death on the Gold Coast was announced on social media and confirmed by friends.

Dinah Lee said: “My beautiful friend and a true Australian Legend passed away today. We toured Vietnam together in 1967 and remained friends to this day. My thoughts and love to your family, friends and your many fans. Rest In Peace Lorrae Desmond.”

Desmond enjoyed a vast showbiz career including The Lorrae Desmond Show, Homicide,  Number 96, Arcade, Home & Away, stage musicals and cabaret, entertaining troops in Vietnam from 1967-1971, plus the Middle East, Malaysia, Singapore, Kenya and Somalia.

In January she was honoured with an OAM, for significant service to the performing arts as an actor, entertainer and singer, added to her MBE.

“I don’t know what I did to deserve it. But I am very honoured. It was a big surprise!” she recently told TV Tonight.

“I have many favourite memories: writing Lorrae Desmond Shows on sick bags while flying from London to Australia. Singing for an audience, it’s the best feeling. Entertaining our boys in Vietnam, seeing the smile return to their eyes.”

Desmond was also the first woman to win a Gold Logie for The Lorrae Desmond Show in 1962.

On A Country Practice she played Shirley Dean Gilroy from 1981 – 1992.

“The magic started with the good writers, and good storylines. There were a lot of women in the production team. The cast clicked, we had a great time together,” she said.

She also had roles on Riptide, The Outsiders and made variety appearances on The Jack Benny Show, In Melbourne Tonight, Ted Hamiltons Musical World, The Graham Kennedy Show, Kamahl, Celebrity Squares, Parkinson in Australia.

Seven’s Network Programming Director, Angus Ross, said: “Everyone at Seven is saddened by the news of the passing of Lorrae Desmond. A highly talented, respected and generous actor, she was a vital part of the Seven family for many years. Lorrae was a pioneer in the Australian television industry and she will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends.”

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9 Responses

  1. Lorrae’s years on A Country Practice were part of my TV diet for a decade or so, and her role as Shirley Gilroy as the Wandin Valley Hospital was so full of warmth and heart. As she herself said, the good writing, strong storylines and great characters all added up to make for some iconic TV. She will be fondly remembered.
    Vale Lorrae.

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