Steve J. Spears

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Steve J. Spears
Born Steven John Peter Spears
22 January 1951
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Died 16 October 2007
Aldinga, South Australia
Occupation Playwright, writer, actor, singer

Steven John Peter Spears (22 January 1951 – 16 October 2007) professionally Steve J. Spears was an Australian playwright, actor, writer and singer. His most famous work was The Elocution of Benjamin Franklin (1976). He was cited as "one of Australia's most celebrated playwrights".[1]


Early life[edit]

Spears was born in Adelaide, South Australia in 1951 and, after his parents separated when he was very young,[2] grew up with relatives in the suburb of Mile End.[3] He studied Law at the University of Adelaide, but through writing and performing student revues, was distracted into a career in the theatre.[2][3]


Spears moved to Sydney in the 1970s. In his own words, he was a "born-again Sydney-sider".[4]

Later life[edit]

Spears died in Aldinga, South Australia from brain cancer in 2007, aged only 56.[5]


Spears' theatrical works include:

  • Africa: A Savage Musical (1974)
  • People Keep Giving Me Things (1975)
  • Roaring Boy (1975)
  • There Were Giants In Those Days (1975)
  • Young Mo (full title "The Resuscitation of the Little Prince Who Couldn't Laugh as Performed by Young Mo at the Height of the Great Depression of 1929") (1975), about the Australian comedian Roy "Mo" Rene
  • The Elocution of Benjamin Franklin (1976), closely identified with the career of the actor Gordon Chater.
  • When They Send Me Three and Fourpence (1976)
  • The Death of George Reeves (1978)
  • King Richard (1978)
  • The Time of the Bodgie (1980)
  • Froggie (1983)
  • Glory (1988)
  • Namatjira Park (1992)
  • A Little Theatre (1995)

His final theatre work was The Dance Angelic (1995).[6]

Acting work[edit]


Spears appeared in A Country Practice (1981), Hey Dad! (1988), G.P. (1989), Heartbreak High (2004).[2][7]


Among other roles, Spears played the lead in Temperament Unsuited and "The Mechanic", a wheelchair-using paraplegic, in Mad Max 2.[4][7]

Voice work[edit]

Spears also supplied the voice of Lion in the popular children's TV series Magic Mountain for ABC TV, Southern Star Entertainment and China Central Television.


Spears played "Eddie" and "Doctor Scott" in a 1981 Sydney production of Jim Sharman's The Rocky Horror Show.[4][8]


Over his career, Spears wrote prolifically for television. His credits include:

  • episodes of:
A Country Practice
Hey Dad..!
All Together Now
E Street
Heartbreak High
the children's series The Genie From Down Under[9] (including the first episode Wishing and Hoping) for the Australian Children's Television Foundation, ABC and BBC.
the children's animated series The Greatest Tune on Earth for the Australian Children's Television Foundation and Seven Network.
the children's animated series Fairy Tale Police Department for Yoram Gross-EM.TV and Seven Network.
the children's animated series Gloria's House for Energee and Seven Network.
which, with co-writer John Hepworth was published by Puffin (1990) ISBN 0140144625

Spears wrote an "anti-memoir"[4] "In Search of the Bodgie", published in 1989

In 2004, Spears' detective novel "Murder at the Fortnight" was published. It was planned as the first of a thirteen part series, "The Pentangeli Papers", but only the second, "Innocent Murders" (2006) was published before his death.[10]


  1. ^ Hornery, Andrew; Ben Wyld (2002-11-24). "Theatre yarn starts to unravel". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2009-02-07. 
  2. ^ a b c George, Rob (2008-11-28). "Steve J Spears 1951–2007 An Excellent Obit.". Retrieved 2009-02-07. 
  3. ^ a b "AustLit Agent". Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  4. ^ a b c d Spears, Steve (1989). In Search of the Bodgie. Sydney: Imprint (Collins Publishers Australia). p. 162. ISBN 0-7322-2524-8. 
  5. ^ Morgan, Clare (2007-10-17). "Playwright loses his cancer struggle". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  6. ^ "STEVE J SPEARS"., The Playwrights Database. Retrieved 2009-01-20. 
  7. ^ a b "Steve J. Spears". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  8. ^ "The Rocky Horror Show (Australian Cast) (1981)". Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  9. ^ IMDb filmography for "Steve J. Spears" accessed 20 March 2011
  10. ^ "Books by Steve J. Spears". Retrieved 2009-01-25. 

External links[edit]