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Young Mo (Roy Rene)
, 1977

by Martin Sharp

oil on galvanised iron (support: 115.7 cm x 58.0 cm)

Roy Rene and Mo were stage names of the comic Henry van der Sluys (Sluice) (1892-1954). With Nat Phillips, he formed a vaudeville duo known as 'Stiffy and Mo', adopting a distinctive white face and painted black beard and lisping catchphrases such as 'strike me lucky'. Strike Me Lucky (1934) was his only film. During the 1940s he starred in a popular radio series, McCackie Mansions. This work was made to advertise the Steve Spears play Young Mo at Sydney's Nimrod Theatre. The play, directed by Richard Wherrett, starred Garry McDonald AO (b. 1948), then at the height of his Norman Gunston success. Sharp intended the portrait to combine the features of Mo and McDonald in an image resembling a Japanese Kabuki print. As a poster, it became the signature image of the Nimrod company.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of Richard Wherrett 1998
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 1998.6