I just walked on and screamed out ‘Hello darling’ in my usual way and when the host yelled ‘Hello darling’ straight back at me, I thought, goodness me, isn’t Mike Walsh camp?
From her first appearance on the Mike Walsh show (the host that day was not Walsh, but John-Michael Howson) in September 1974, Jeanne Little has both captivated and polarised audiences across Australia. Whether they love her or are annoyed by her chainsaw voice, viewers take note of Little, her outrageous outfits and her flamboyant personality.
Born in Sydney in 1938, Little grew up with a voice which was the result of a childhood illness and a lack of confidence which resulted in a chronic stutter. Her first foray into television was almost by chance. She had recently opened a dress shop to sell her designs, and was called in by the Mike Walsh show to fill a gap when some guests pulled out. Since that day, however, she has rarely been out of the public eye – having appeared first on that show as a regular and then on a range of other television shows, as well as on stage in a variety of roles.
Hello Darling is a look at both the public and private life of the woman who is Jeanne Little. Filled with quotes from Little, as well as her numerous supporters and some of her detractors, the book provides an intimate insight into the woman an, her life and her influences. You don’t have to be a huge fan of Little’s work to be intrigued by this offering. What is likely, however, is that you will finish this read with a lot more understanding and admiration for this Aussie phenomenon.
Hello Darling! The Jeanne Little Story, by Siobhan O’Brien
Allen & Unwin, 2006
This book is available for online purchase at Fishpond