Leonard (Lennie) Waldemar Lower (24 September 1903 – 19 July 1947) was an Australian humourist who is still considered by many to be the comic genius of Australian journalism.
Life and career
Lower was born in Dubbo, New South Wales. His father was a pharmacist and his mother was Florence McInerney. Educated in Sydney, Lower joined the army for a brief time before turning to journalism, where his talents as a humorist soon gained him a legion of dedicated fans and a place in Australian history. He wrote up to eight columns each week for a variety of newspapers in Sydney during the Depression and World War II.
Lennie Lower wrote the novel Here's Luck in 1929. This novel deals with the twists and turns of fate befalling Jack Gudgeon and his feckless son Stanley. When Jack's wife Agatha suddenly leaves them, both go it alone on a wild rampage through Sydney's race courses, gambling dens, pubs and cafes. Cyril Pearl, a noted Sydney journalist and Lower's editor, described Here's Luck in the following terms: "It remains pre-eminently Australia's funniest book, as ageless as Pickwick or Tom Sawyer, a work of 'weird genius', as one reviewer put it, written by a 'Chaplin of words'".
Lower's drinking was 'legendary' hence the titles of his two best-known works. 'Here's luck!' is a well-known Australian drinking toast, as is also 'Here's another!'. Lower's piece 'Must Drink Beer' announces that the 'perfect job has been found' – beer tasting for a research institute. Lower's description of the domestic consequences of drunkenness and hangover, have the ring of long experience about them.
Lennie Lower wrote for many Australian newspapers and magazines, including The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, The Labor Daily and Smith's Weekly, until his death from cancer in Sydney in 1947 at the age of 43.
Books by Lennie Lower
- Here's Luck (1930)
- Here's Another (1932)
Other publications were collections of Lower's articles, selected by others, e.g. "Lennie Lower's Annual: a Side-Splitter", published by Smith's Weekly.
- "Biography – Leonard Waldemere (Lennie) Lower – Australian Dictionary of Biography". anu.edu.au. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
- Foreword to 'The Best of Lennie Lower' (see Biblio.)
- See Aust. Dict. Biog. article in Biblio.
- in Here's Another
Here's Lower. (1983). Selected & Introduced By Tom Thompson. Illustrated By Patrick Cook. With Memoir By Cyril Pearl. Hale & Iremonger. ISBN 0-86806-071-2
- Hornadge, Bill (1993). Lennie Lower : He Made a Nation Laugh. Angus and Robertson. ISBN 0-207-18239-6
- Lower, Lennie. (1991). Here's Luck. With cartoons by 'WEP' (Pidgeon W.E.) Angus & Robertson. ISBN 0-207-13482-0.
- Lower, Lennie. (2004). Here's Another. Kessinger Publishing ISBN 1-4191-2349-1
- Lower, Lennie. (1990). The Best of Lennie Lower. Pearl, Cyril (ed.) With cartoons by 'WEP' (Pidgeon W.E.) Arkon/Angus & Robertson. ISBN 0-207-13480-4.
- Sheil, Pat. Sydney Morning Herald, 20/9/03.
- Julian Croft, Keith Willey. 1986. 'Lower, Leonard Waldemere (Lennie) (1903–1947)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, Melbourne University Press. pp 159–160.