A slap but no tickle for Nicole
BY SHIRLEY BROUN
DEE Donavan was the envy of cast and crew involved in the making of the movie Moulin Rouge, so much so that he was offered $50 to trade places.
“It was all a bit of fun really,” said the debonaire Sydney-based actor. “Johnny Lockwood and I were playing the role of stage door Johnnies and – being cast as a major flirt with all the girls in the movie I got the job of slapping Nicole Kidman’s bottom.”
“Nicole told me not to hold back so I didn’t, but it sure got chins wagging on set,” said Dee with a huge smile on his face.
A drama student in his youth, Dee has graced our screens in The Day of the Roses, Babe 2, Passion, the ABC’s A Difficult Woman and the final episode of the Science Fiction series Farscape.
Affectionately known in the industry as `The Silver Baron’ because of his silver hair and sophisticated presentation on stage his 51 years under the bright lights has seen him star in a host of television and radio commercials. These have included the KO Hairspray commercials and ads for Phillips Lights and Aussie stalwart Holden Cars.
He has been seen sipping a scotch or dry martini on a Qantas or British Airway’s inflight screen and on a Billboard in New Delhi advertising Van Heusen Shirts. His voice is even behind the series of Irish Tourist Board and Olde Sydney Town TV and Radio commercials.
But there is much more to this much loved performer’s impressive show business repertoire for the Dublin, Ireland-born entertainer is also a highly polished variety performer and recording artist.
Early in his career Dee’s talents saw him become a regular drawcard on London’s famous West End cabaret circuit and for several years he played to U.S.Forces in Germany, France, Italy, North Africa and the Philippines and eventually, in 1967, to Australian and American forces in Vietnam. He was recently honoured with a citation from the Prime Minister of Australia for his work in Vietnam.
“I moved to Australia soon after, landed a five year recording contact with EMI and I’m still here,” said Dee.
A true gentleman of the stage, Dee recorded six albums with EMI and also recorded with New Zealand-based Gemini Records. He had a series of top 10 hits, a number of which were self-written.
“One of my singles was `I Love Country Music’ and I had a hit in New Zealand with `Sunday Morning Christian’. There was also an album called `14 Tracks to Travel’,” he said.
Dee, the winner of two Australian Entertainment MO Awards for Compere of the Year, says he is working better than ever these days and next month will embark on a country tour of NSW with Marina Pryor and David Hobson.