Mary Fitzgerald (née Parker), who was the first woman to appear on TV in Melbourne, has died.
She passed away in hospital over the weekend after a short illness surrounded by her large and loving family, watchful and witty to the last, her son-in-law Tim Lee wrote for ABC.
When television arrived in Australia in 1956, Mary Parker became an overnight star and a household name. She had already made a name for herself in England, where from the age of 21 she had appeared on the stages of London’s West End and in feature films and television dramas, alongside actors such as Douglas Fairbanks Junior, Boris Karloff and Lloyd Bridges.
The studios compared her star quality to Debbie Reynolds and she had received offers from Hollywood. But nostalgia for Australia, she resisted.
In July 1956, the fledgling HSV-7 network, Melbourne’s first television station, began test broadcasts. Soon after, he offered her a hosting role, alongside Eric Pearce and Danny Webb.
On November 4, 1956, the opening night of HSV-7, Parker broke the news with Pearce, a groundbreaking achievement.
As a host, Parker’s “top and tailed” shows include Beauty is my business, Eric and Mary (co-hosted with Pearce) e Guest of the week.
Soon after, he co-hosted Melbourne Olympic Games with Tony Charlton.
You can read more at ABC.