Don Crosby

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Don Crosby
Merlin (Don Crosby) by Douglas Baulch 1963.JPG
Don Crosby - Portrait by Douglas Baulch - 1963
Born 29 October 1924
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Died 3 December 1985(1985-12-03)
Potts Point, New South Wales, Australia
Nationality Australian
Education Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, London
Occupation Actor, radio producer
Partner(s) Elizabeth Teresa Glover
Parent(s) Joseph Alexander (Marshall) Crosby and Teresa King

Don Crosby, OAM[1] (29 October 1924 – 3 December 1985), born George Wallace Donald Crosby, the fifth child of actor Joseph Alexander (Marshall) Crosby and Theresa King. He was named after his father's friend, the actor and comedian George Wallace Stevenson. At the age of one, he was taken on stage by his father in a production of the operetta His Royal Highness. At age 12, he started producing radio sketches at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC, then known as the Australian Broadcasting Commission).

After leaving school, he continued acting and worked in insurance. After World War II broke out, he served as an air gunner in the Royal Australian Air Force. In 1945, aged 21, he travelled to London and worked as an assistant stage manager in the West End, when he was offered a scholarship to study at the Royal Academy, after which he worked throughout England in repertory. In 1949 he returned to Sydney and married Elizabeth Teresa Glover. He appeared in Doris Fitton's production of Dark of Night, and numerous other productions in Sydney and Melbourne. Entering radio in 1949, he had a successful career not only as an actor but also as a producer.

When television arrived in Australia in 1956, he easily made the transition to the new medium, featuring in plays, again at the ABC, after which he moved to commercial television, appearing in serials made by Crawford Productions, such as Ryan, Division 4, Matlock Police and Homicide. In 1968, he played the role of Mervyn in Tony Hancock's doomed Australian series, which was shelved upon Hancock's suicide and later released as a TV movie in 1972.

With his craggy features, Crosby was often compared to British superstar Sir John Mills. In radio, another popular role was in the long-running Gwen Meredith drama serial Blue Hills. More stage roles followed and he was celebrated for his appearances in works by Steele Rudd. In film, his credits include Newsfront, Little Boy Lost, The Picture Show Man and the indigenous rights film The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith. His later television work included roles in The Young Doctors and A Country Practice.

He was one of Australia's most distinguished actors and radio producers, with a career spanning all genres including stage, film, radio and television. He urged the use of Australian actors where possible and spoke out against cuts in ABC funding. In 1980, he was awarded an OAM, and in 1985 he received the Australian Film Institute's Longford Lyell Award for services to the industry. He was a trade unionist and was president of Actors Equity of Australia from 1976 until his death from a myocardial infarction in 1985 in the Sydney suburb of Potts Point. He was survived by his wife, threes sons and a daughter. He was 61.[2][1][3]


  1. ^ a b "The Australian Dictionary of Biography". Australian National University. 2007. Retrieved 15 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "Don Crosby, stage and film actor and union activist". The Sydney Morning Herald, p. 23. Dec 4, 1985. 
  3. ^ "Don Crosby (I) (1924–1985)". Internet Movie Database. May 2013.