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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Reg Livermore, Pitt Street, Sydney

1965 (printed 2020)
Robert McFarlane

inkjet print on paper (sheet: 60 cm x 60.3 cm)

Reg Livermore AO (b. 1938), stage and television entertainer, began performing as a teenager, hiring local venues to mount his own pantomimes. His professional career began in 1957 at the Phillip Street Theatre, where his first job was as understudy for Barry Humphries and Gordon Chater in Around the Loop. A brief time in London was followed by seasons with the Ensemble Theatre in Kirribilli and at Melbourne's Union Theatre Repertory Company. In the mid 1960s he performed with the new South Australian Theatre Company before returning to Sydney for a fifteen-month stint in A Cup of Tea, A Bex and a Good Lie Down with Ruth Cracknell. The show was his entrée into television; he hosted a Saturday night show called I'm Alright Now before appearing regularly on The Mavis Bramston Show. After appearing in Hair in 1969, he was in Jesus Christ Superstar. His big break came with the role of Frank'n'Furter in The Rocky Horror Show in 1974. The following year, his own Betty Blokk Buster Follies played to record crowds in capital cities around the country.

He resurfaced on television in the late 1980s, presenting on Burke's Backyard and later on Our House. He has since performed in his own theatre restaurant show The Thank You Dinner; in Gilbert and Sullivan at the Sydney Opera House and the State Theatre; and in major musical theatre productions including The Producers, My Fair Lady and Wicked. His memoir Stages was published in 2018.

Robert McFarlane has photographed key figures in politics and the performing arts. His portrait of Livermore at the beginning of his career shows him as an urbane young man, and – in the manner of McFarlane's famous 1964 photo of Aboriginal activist Charles Perkins – is very evocative of its place and time. In 1965 Livermore was performing in A Cup of Tea, A Bex and a Good Lie Down with Ruth Cracknell at Phillip Street Theatre.

Purchased 2020
© Robert McFarlane/Copyright Agency, 2021

Artist and subject

Robert McFarlane (age 23 in 1965)

Reg Livermore AO (age 27 in 1965)

Subject professions

Performing arts

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency