Graham Kennedy: The King’s other side
Graham Kennedy was Australian television’s first superstar - The King. He named the TV Week Awards ‘The Logies’, then won eight of them, for iconic programs like In Melbourne Tonight, Blankety Blanks and Coast To Coast. He was also a serious film actor and ‘it plagued Graham that he was characterised as a television clown, a TV funny man … he had more strings to his bow’ (TV writer Mike McColl Jones).
To complement the NFSA’s online exhibition (opening May 2017) of collection items, props, written materials and film and television footage of ‘The King’ of Australian television, we present a short season featuring some of Graham’s Kennedy’s memorable cinema roles.
Kennedy eased himself into a place on the big screen – playing himself in the 1966 film They’re a Weird Mob, but it was Bruce Beresford’s Don’s Party, from the David Williamson play, that allowed Kennedy to demonstrate depth as the deserted husband, his performance singled out by critics for praise. Kennedy played in two more Williamson adaptations, The Club and Travelling North, but his most fondly remembered big screen role came with Tom Jeffrey’s The Odd Angry Shot. Jeffrey cast Kennedy based on his performance in Don’s Party, calling his comic timing ‘superlative'. Not much of his performance in Roland Joffe’s Oscar-winning The Killing Fields found its way past the editing room – ‘Only eighteen frames’, he is quoted as joking.
Screening sessions: double features