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Study for portrait of Bob Ellis
, 1999

by David Naseby

charcoal on paper

Bob Ellis (b. 1942) is a journalist, columnist, screenwriter, film director and playwright. His screenwriting credits, Newsfront, Goodbye Paradise, Maybe This Time, Fatty Finn, Top Kid and The Paper Boy all won major prizes, as did his collaborations with Paul Cox, Man of Flowers and My First Wife. For the stage, he collaborated with Michael Boddy on The Legend of King O'Malley. Ellis was answerable for the sensational 'Abbott and Costello' defamation case in March 1999. Finding assertions made in a short passage of his 1997 book Goodbye Jerusalem: Night Thoughts of a Labor Outsider false and defamatory, the judge ruled that his publisher pay compensation of $277 500 to Liberal politicians Peter Costello and Tony Abbott and their wives. Ellis capped the annus horribilus of 1999 with a farcical paternity dispute.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of David Naseby 2001
Accession number: 2001.13