Richard Kent

Richard Kent

I really cannot remember when I first met Richard Kent – you know how it is – there are times when one works with people and they are only a voice at the end of the phone….but that must have been about 1981 when this was the first communication with fellow workers…nothing like the texts /emails/social media that we are so familiar with nowadays….

As a “newly-released” Actors’ Agent (and “plunged” into Casting at the Grundy Organization) I just knew that to survive I would have to work closely with Agents.  There was only one “casting platform” -Showcast Publications- at the time and it was through them that I started making contacts.

I think it was about the time “The Young Doctors”  had ceased production and Richard Kent decided to be an Agent….around the same time Kevin Palmer, and then Robyn Gardiner with Ros Spiers, opened their offices.  Over those years between ’81 and ’95  Richard came into his own – running one of the most successful Agencies specialising in actors who specialised in work for the screen. 

Richard  utilised the best photographers , attended theatre and screen events, met with Producers and Directors local and overseas – in fact the ultimate  Screen Actors’ Manager.

On a personal note – in ’91 – on my quick exit from Grundy’s -I rented a room at Richard’s place in Kirribilli in which I spent three weeks sleeping from exhaustion – Richard understood.  I then assisted him in his Agency . At no time would I ever have seen or believed any reason for him to have absconded with any monies belonging to others – in fact to this day I believe  he is still owed a few thousand from some of  the eminent directors and actors he represented.

On Friday 5th September 2014 I was present with his family and friends at his Funeral Service in Matraville NSW- I believe he died of a broken heart- he cared too much. The last time I saw Richard was in late March early April 2014 – we went to the movies, we visited our mutual friend Louise Howitt for a wonderful roast dinner and sang and laughed.

Life goes on ..and I am looking forward to reading his book which he had just finished writing …I think it’s going to be quite an eye-opener!





Team McLeod

On Set

On Set

The Railway Hotel, Freeling, seemed just like any other pub set in a dusty little town north of Adelaide, just beyond Gawler.  On my arrival one afternoon, in March 2001 around drink o’clock,  I was greeted with a beer by Kerry the lady publican. I had gathered the courage to make arrangements to meet up with the regulars who might like to be Extras ( this was a whole new experience for me –  recruiting “real people”)

  Clipboard in hand, I sat and really enjoyed that beer whilst waiting for the excited hordes to arrive. A couple of hours later I was feeling a little unsuccessful as only about five guys fronted. 

One of them was Ian Maxted.  Just this last week I was contacted by his elder daughter Holly to share the news of his death …Ian had committed suicide. During the years between 2001 and early 2008 Ian was the ultimate professional and core Extra: always on time, always with the right clothes, took direction, kept quiet on set.   As a person – always a gentleman, always humble. As the years went by his daughters Holly and Stacey and wife Jan became part of the Mcleod’s team whenever family stories were required.

As a result of Ian’s initial participation the “team” grew into a strong ten or so guys who inhabited the town of  “Gungellan” and from which they too had families involved. Ian was a farrier – I still have his present on show in my home –  a double horseshoe especially crafted for me.

The Railway became the Gungellan …..and on Friday 3rd October 2014  those from Freeling and surrounds will be raising their glasses there …cheers Ian….






AGENTS (take 2)

It is nearly twelve  months since I met, and began mentoring, Karoline Ellis of KEManagement  –  thanks to Lyn Kidd of  The Actors Workshop in Brisbane . Once again The Actors Workshop still  features mostly in my all too few blogs- this is because  I trust Lyn and have worked for her over many years. Karoline Ellis and I had never met but I knew we could work together because of this trust.

What I have found over the now many years in the entertainment industry is that if you do not TRUST  nothing makes sense- does not compute.

One of the first lessons an actor attends to is to trust – and each other-  although this seems to be a total myth once they get into the real world!   Sure actors learn to fall backwards and trust their acting partner will catch them- duh – they have to or else …

So what about trust between Actors and Agents?   ..  What about Casting Directors and Agents?  What about Casting Directors and Producers?   I am now a member of the Casting Guild of Australia…more soon…

Over the years  –  I was an Agent  in Sydney in the late 70’s  and at one point represented Diane Cilento and Ed Devereaux along with some fine young actors cost me heaps more than the 10% to look after them (more on that later in another blog!)   Luckily I got the casting gig for the Grundy Organization.  A great deal of my job was to maintain a trusting work relationship with almost every Agent in Australia – and then again when I was  Casting Associate for “Mcleod’s Daughters” in S.A.

I have worked for Agents too – Joan Gibson and Richard Kent in Sydney, Elaine Holland in Brisbane and Stacey Testro  – now in LA…..all of whom have made their mark in Australian showbiz history… I steered Kevin Palmer into being an Agent….I am introducing Karoline Ellis to him in a couple of weeks so we can discuss  “Agents Now and Then” .I have mentored Ben Parkinson in his initial stages of being a Casting Director. I do understand!

Because of the ever- increasing  leaps  in technology there has been a proliferation  of ” wannabees” who think because they have a camera/ are ardent Facebook writers/ can learn to be an actor in twenty weeks /can be a Producer/Director etc (the  list can go on)   that they have almost instant access to fame and fortune.

I am thankful that I have spent many years learning my all-round craft … I know that times have changed and people can receive information and friends on a continual basis in a much less time-frame.. …let’s hope that trust  still exists.

But then – if we don’t  take a risk is the nature of this ” show-biz ”   – of following our dreams in a wonderful country such as Australia ..what is the point?  We are so very lucky we have choices.

One of those choices is to find an Agent with whom you can trust and work with  – one of the first questions I am asked when giving Workshops is “Can you recommend a good Agent ?”

This blog is the introduction to my chapters on Agents in “The Right Place At The Right Time”  …still writing ….!


….was the text I received from her owner, Kit Fortune, this week.  To the rest of the world this is no real heart-breaking news especially as there has been a large amount of animals dying in floods and fire in Australia recently – those animals who were so much a part of people’s lives and experiences never to be replicated.

Bindi and Kit Fortune

Last pic of "Bindi" with Coral

And so, with “Bindi” a little “red” kelpie of fourteen years old who had been Kit’s shadow-biter  for all that time  – died quietly at the vet’s.  She was already a well- educated  dog when I first met her 2001 in Gawler, South Australia, when Kit came to the “McLeod’s Daughters” production office to personally hand over his CV and photo so he could be cast in the first series -and on which both Kit , and his mother Coral, were to work on as various members of the local “Gungellan” community right through to the last series in 2008.

As the Casting Associate I was initially wary, like all Casting people,  of the wonderful talents told of “Bindi” (let alone any human actor’s self-praise) to become an Extra,  until I saw how she was one of the most natural performers – she took direction, did not pee just anywhere, didn’t complain about the long waits, the catering, the heat, the cold – and kept her mouth shut. ((in fact it was Kit who always did all the talking and he soon learned to tell his stories  far away from the set)


Kit with "Bindi" and "Jasmin"

“Bindi” worked only on public land because the McLeod’s property at Kingsford was quarantined to “outside” animals.  If you don’t blink you can see her  running about the town in manyl episodes …

“McLeod’s Daughters” is still playing on screens throughout the world and of course you can buy your very own videos of the whole eight series to watch all the animals and their stories interacting with the humans!


Last November I attended a Book Launch of a friend of mine, Judi Young , had organised at the Coffee Club, Paddington (Qld) for the public recognition of having written her book, and despite the fact that Judi had a couple of Publishers willing to take on all that effort of getting the book out there,  Judi decided to self-publish.

I never thought that self- publishing was such a big a mine-field as  much as making anything for the screen or setting up a theatre company ( It must be easier to work for the Government ?)  Passion, commitment and natural talent are the ingredients required to give one a  life start – in anything.

At a very young age Judi was determined to be a ballet dancer – with dire consequences to her health and her family relationships.  Judi has found she has natural skills in public speaking and radio interviewing – she tried acting – and has the courage to say she is not really an actor!

Courage, self -honesty and a sense of fun , combined with hard work , helped Judi to rid herself of her tumour the size of …well …see the photo at the end of her book.  As a  tv junkie Judi quotes Oprah and Dr Phil  as being effective in her successful recovery …the inspiration they give….and hopes that in some way her book will help others to fight hard for their own health and happiness.

By late last December, the Acting Schools had graduated their latest bunch into the ever- overcrowding, underpaid, non-paid,  Entertainment Industry :  but once each person realises their potential might not be hitting Hollywood Heights and that they can teach by working  as mentors for disabled people, scriptwriters, documentary filmmakers, devising their own work etc etc, they will realise that their very special education has been worthwhile.

Those who have been accepted into the various Acting Schools for 2011 will be faced with the task of  upholding their dreams despite rejection, self-doubt , and everybody else – for starters.  All the very best for the New Year and beyond.

In the meantime  -Casting-wise it would be good if Cameron Diaz or Reese Witherspoon were interested in the screen version of “The Girl In the Picture” but then any suggestions for a New Zealand or Australian actor to be considered?


I first met Don after I had been summoned to Bruce Gyngell’s office at Ch9 in Willoughby.  I had been working as a production Assistant for Bob Raymond on the early morning  “The Today Show” with Diana Ward fronting in Sydney and Mike Walsh in Melbourne – and it just received its marching orders.

Bruce Gyngell quietly asked me if I would like to work on “The Don Lane Show” and of course I was thrilled – work on a live top rating programme – yes please! He then mentioned that Don tended to lose his temper and and swear at his staff, and could I cope with that?  Could I cope?! I had arrived in Sydney in 1968 as a “ten- pound- pom”,  married an Aussie, so this was no time to turn down work.


I have just received my first real rejection …yes…on my arrival in Bali. I asked Deborah Gabinetti, casting  person from the Bali Film Center,  if I could be an “Extra” on the Julia Roberts’ film “Eat, Pray, Love” being filmed somewhere nearby – either Padangbai or Ubud.  Deb expressed surprise..

”Why, you know what film sets are like!”

“Yes” I said lamely “ but I’m in another country” even more lamely.






The Xmas season here in Ubud, Bali – stifling hot one minute, pouring with rain the next was stress –free, no shopping or cooking! The Hindus do not utilize our Holidays- Xmas Day was like any other -and yet several shook hands with me to wish me a Happy Xmas.

This time of year traditionally makes us all the more intensely aware of people who are in poverty, have no choice of where they live, what they eat, and what their survival occupation is. To me poverty is lacking fresh water, sanitation, some form of shelter and food every day, and the choice to get a job or move to another country.