Women in radio: Amber Mae Cecil

BY CARLA TEIXEIRA

Amber Mae Cecil was born in 1938 to two of Australia’s best known radio figures: actress Rosalind Kennerdale and senior producer for the ABC, Lawrence H Cecil. At an early age, Cecil acquired reading and performing skills at her mother’s radio school.

She made her debut aged 12 in the Grace Gibson production Night Beat. She then acted in ABC-produced programs for children in her after-school time. At 13, Amber Mae Cecil was cast in a lead role in an ABC radio play, Lace on Her Petticoat. Also in the play was Queenie Ashton, who took Amber Mae Cecil under her wing.

In 1953, at the age of 15, Cecil left school to co-star as the daughter, Janie, in the popular family comedy, Life with Dexter, with Ray Hartley as the son, Ashley. The show was recorded live each week before an audience at 2GB and Cecil continued in the role for 11 years.

Amber Mae Cecil (as Janie) in the 2GB comedy Life with Dexter
NFSA title no. 215732

 

During the 1950s, Cecil played two roles for Grace Gibson Productions, appearing as the female lead with Roger Climpson and Lou Vernon in the serial Life Can be Beautiful, and in the role of Leota in Dr Paul.

Amber Mae Cecil stars as Chichi in the serial Life Can be Beautiful
NFSA title no. 415768

 

Together with Lola Brooks, Cecil played one of the Macarthur twins in Blue Hills until its final year of production, when she replaced Gwen Plumb as Emmie. Towards the end of her career Cecil starred in several Shakespeare radio plays broadcast by ABC radio.

References

Lane, Richard and National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, 1994, The Golden Age of Australian Radio Drama 1923-1960: A History Through Biography, Melbourne University Press, Carlton South, Vic