Australian Story: Oct 18

On Monday ABC will profile legendary comedian / actor Max Gillies.

On Monday Australian Story will profile legendary comedian / actor Max Gillies who reveals a most personal story.

This episode is introduced by Eddie Perfect and features interview with David Williamson and Tracey Harvey.

Funnyman Max Gillies has been making people laugh all his life. As the star of 1980s hit comedy show ‘The Gillies Report’, he became famous for his outrageous political satire that made fun of Australian politicians. His take on Bob Hawke was legendary.

Now at almost 80, he reveals the family grief that he has carried with him all his life. Max tells Australian Story that comic acting became a welcome escape from his troubles at home as a child.

“When I was playing a role, the role took over. Just about every character I played was far less inhibited than I am myself…” he says.

“I think it goes with the territory being shy and being a performer. Isn’t that the central contradiction, particularly for comic actors?” says Max Gillies’ wife, publisher Louise Adler.

All his life, Max has kept his cards close to his chest. Playwright and friend David Williamson says Max never revealed his personal story to him.

“Unlike me, who put a lot of my private life on stage, Max covered his up and he didn’t want his private life known about. That was his private life and that was it,” he says.

Tracey Harvey, who starred with Max on ‘The Gillies Report’ says Max never gave away much but she “sensed there were deeper waters there”.

“My instincts told me he had a thick protective layer,'” she says.

Max Gillies talks candidly for the first time about his mother’s mental illness and the mystery of his absent father. And how he found some surprising answers when he got a phone call out of the blue from trucking magnate Lindsay Fox.

8pm Monday on ABC.

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