Take a bow Toni Stevens

July 8, 2018

Entertainers, Latest news

MARK KRISTIAN PAYS TRIBUTE

TO HIS `SHOWBIZ MUM'

IN HEARTFELT FB POST

 

THE AMAZING TALENTS, inspirational leadership qualities and huge heart of all-round performer Toni Stevens have long been admired by ON WITH THE SHOW Managing Editor Shirley Broun who first met this beautiful lady in the 1980s. So ... when she saw the following `tribute' by Mark Kristian on Facebook Shirley was quick to secure permission to share it with our readers. Enjoy!

By MARK KRISTIAN

I SPENT the most magnificent afternoon recently with the woman whom I have always referred to as my 'Showbiz Mum' - Toni Stevens. 

Toni Stevens

She didn't give me my first professional job in showbiz (you can blame Robyn Wade for that!! LOL!) ... but Toni came a close second.

Toni has been one of the greatest influences of my life - both personally and professionally.

Her own career path has been pretty incredible. A woman who left the UK in the late 60's bound for unknown destinations in her early 20's; finding herself unmarried and pregnant (at a time when that was frowned upon), she survived it all.

She eventually arrived in Australia via Germany, South Africa, Rhodesia, and a few other far-flung places.

Along the way, she worked with stars like Bill Haley and the Comets, Tom Jones, Billy Eckstine, Morecambe and Wise and more. She arrived in Australia in 1972, and with her newborn baby girl (Sarah) in tow created a unique career and professional legacy that few will ever replicate.

There aren't many performers of the period who broke ground as Toni did. She was a trailblazer, especially as a female performer - a comedienne.

If you look up the definition of the word 'chutzpah' in the dictionary - it's probable that you'll find a photograph of Toni Stevens. She epitomises the term.

At the end of our interview (4 hours!) I asked her what she considered her greatest legacy might be?

She told me that she felt proud that she had 'discovered'/'mentored' and introduced a few people to the business (in Australia) who have gone on to achieve success.

I am proud that she considers me one of them. Our lives collided in 1986. For me, it was clearly an important and good year!

Toni also suggested that another great reason for pride is that she is the FOUNDER of ALVA - The Australian Ladies Variety Association - which is, without doubt, the most successful Australian show-business charity in history.

ALVA will soon celebrate 40 years since its inception, During that time the amazing women (i.e. members) of ALVA (and their supporters) have raised millions of dollars for charity due to the endless hard work, dedication and personal commitment of many wonderful people.

It all started thanks to Toni Stevens.

What a woman. What an incredible career. What an remarkable person. What a treasured friend.

I am proud to call her my 'mate'. Prouder still (if I may be so bold to suggest this) to be her 'protege'.

Some of the best lessons I learned about being a performer...I learned from her.

So...it's all your fault, Toni! LOL! 😉

I love and respect you more than words can ever say.</p> 

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