Lucky Grills. (OAM)
26 May 1928
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
|Died||27 July 2007 (aged 79)|
Leo Grills (OAM) (26 May 1928 – 27 July 2007) professionally billed as Lucky Grills, was an Australian actor and comedian. His best known acting role was the title role in the crime drama TV series Bluey playing the title role.
Early life and career
Prior to Bluey, he worked as a stand-up comic in the Sydney clubs. He would change his material to suit his audience, stating: "Some people know me as the dirtiest comic in the business... but others know me as a man who never drops even a mild four-letter word."
One time in Adelaide, Grills had done a show and needed to get a taxi. He had put on a big houndstooth-checked sports jacket and carrying a suitcase. The taxi driver looked at him and asked where he had been wrestling. Lucky had to set him straight and let him know he wasn't a wrestler but a comic. For the rest of the journey, Grills had to listen to the cabbie telling old jokes.
He also did three hundred weeks in a migrant education programme called "Say the Word" where he played the owner of a factory. "It was designed to show newcomers to Australia how things were done and to teach them English", he explained.
It was a guest role in one of those shows - Matlock Police - that brought him to the attention of producers for the role of Bluey. He was sent a script page, read it and duly went to the audition. Within ten days he knew he had the part.
Grills also made three in-person appearances on the show, including singing as a member of a Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young parody band and in character as Bluey protesting the last episode of Bargearse.
He was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal in the 2000 Queen's New Year's Honours List for his services to the entertainment industry and the arts. He was also awarded the O.A.M. (Order of Australia Medal) in the 2001 Queen's Birthday Honours List for his services to the entertainment industry through charitable organisations.
Grills died in his sleep in Queensland. On the day prior to his death he was still working and had made two public appearances back to back. His cremated remains were later interred in the Cheltenham Memorial Park (Wangara Road), Melbourne on 19 December 2007.
- People Like Us (1980)