Tricia Walsh-Smith

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Tricia Walsh-Smith
Tricia Walsh-Smith.jpg
Born (1956-03-24) 24 March 1956 (age 62)
Gütersloh, North Rhine-Westphalia, West Germany
Education Italia Conti Performing Arts School
Occupation Actress, writer, lyricist, singer
John Obertelli
(m. 1981; div. 1989)

Jerrold Arnold (m. 1992–1992)

Philip Smith
(m. 1999; div. 2008)
Children Jamie Obertelli (b. 1982)

Tricia Walsh-Smith (born 24 March 1956) is an English playwright and actress. Her plays include Bonkers, Addictions, The Last Journey and musical Change The Day.

Early life[edit]

Born in RAF Gütersloh, Germany, Walsh-Smith was part of a military family which travelled the world until her RAF father's death when she was twelve.[1] She then settled briefly in her mother's hometown of Beverley in East Yorkshire, England .[1] Walsh-Smith attended the Italia Conti Academy from the age of fifteen.[1]


Walsh-Smith appeared in over five hundred commercials on British and European television, including her infamous schoolgirl in the commercial for Hellmann's Mayonnaise.[1] Her television and film roles include the British horror film, Terror (1978),[2] Kenny Everett Video Show, Constant Hot Water,[3]Dick Emery[4] The Best Years of Your Life,[5] and the children's television drama, Grange Hill.[1][6]

She has written the play Bonkers which premiered in London in 1987.[1][7][8]

Walsh-Smith's play, Addictions, has been used at a number of benefit readings to raise awareness and generate charitable giving for addicts.[9] In 2007 she cancelled one production of the play after learning that Smirnoff Vodka had become a sponsor.[10] She explained: "I was absolutely stunned. I couldn't believe it. The idea of having Smirnoff sponsoring this play, which is about addiction – what were they thinking? ... If we had gone ahead, I would have been looked at as a total hypocrite."[10]

In December 2008 Walsh-Smith released the song "I'm Going Bonkers" on iTunes. Its video featured her in bondage gear and dancing around London.[11] The video went viral and quickly became YouTube's number one entertainment video.[11][12]

Walsh-Smith has previewed many of her comedy songs at nightclubs in London and at the O2 Arena and some of the songs were featured in the 12-part television series "Pineapple Dance Studios", which aired in 2010 on Sky1 in the UK. The series was a huge hit and after initially indicating that a second series would be produced, Sky1 reverted this decision due to failing to come to terms with studio owner Debbie Moore.[13] In 2011 Walsh Smith appeared in "Louie Spence's Showbusiness", also on Sky1. For this series she made two music videos: Stuff Ding Dong Merrily On High! for the Christmas Special; and "Should I Go In The Jungle?", which was reportedly a tongue in cheek lampooning of the ITV1 series, "I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!". Episode Ten featured a workshop of her musical, Change The Day. Pineapple Dance Studios was sold around the world and aired on the US network Ovation. in 2014.[14]

Walsh-Smith has appeared as a guest on The Insider (CBS), Good Morning America, (ABC), Inside Edition, (CBS) Geraldo, (Fox), Extra,( NBC) The Jeff Probst Show, (CBS) Sunrise (Channel 7) Access Hollywood (NBC), World Ranking (NTV), Harry Hill's TV Burp,( ITV), The Noughties, (BBC Three), and On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.[1][15][16]

Personal life[edit]

She met her first husband John Obertelli in 1975 and married him in 1981. They had a son, Jamie.They divorced in 1989. She then had a brief second marriage to American businessman Jerald Arnold.[6] She met her third husband, Philip J. Smith (CEO of The Shubert Organization), at a Park Avenue wedding reception in 1995. The two married in New York City in 1999, and divorced in 2008.[1]

Divorce from Philip Smith[edit]

In April 2008 she made history and attracted international attention for posting a YouTube video of herself discussing her divorce from her husband, CEO and then president of the Shubert Organization,[17] Philip J. Smith.[1][18][19] In the video she stated that she was going to be unfairly evicted from her house and called her husband's secretary on speakerphone saying that she had found, "Condoms, viagra and porn – what should she do with them"?[7][20][21] Some legal experts consider this the first known case where a spouse has used YouTube in an attempt to gain leverage over the other in a divorce case.[22] Fox News named the initial video one of "The Top 5 Viral Videos of 2008."[23]

Walsh-Smith's case generated scrutiny and debate by legal and psychology experts on the implications of broadcasting personal issues using media like YouTube.[20] Psychologist Keith Ablow said, "We're at a critical moment where people are turning to public broadcasts to express private thoughts. But I don't think it's connecting people necessarily. I think it's disconnecting them from their own life stories."[20] As for the legal implications in Walsh's divorce case, MSNBC's senior legal analyst Susan Filan told the show, "A judge isn't really going to care. In the end, a divorce, as upsetting and emotional as it is, is just a financial transaction. You're doing backwards math. You're trying to make one household go into two. Somebody's going to have to give something to somebody else."[20]

On 21 July 2008 a Manhattan judge awarded Philip Smith a divorce from Tricia Walsh-Smith. The judge, Harold Beeler, criticised Walsh-Smith for her YouTube video. "She has attempted to turn the life of her husband into a soap opera by directing, writing, acting in and producing a melodrama."[7][21][24] Walsh-Smith was unimpressed with the judge's decision, saying that she'd be better off in Baghdad.[25]

Fleeced by international fraudster Giovanni Di Stefano[edit]

Four of the fraud counts against bogus lawyer Giovanni Di Stefano related to Walsh-Smith. Di Stefano claimed that he could overturn the Walsh-Smith pre-nuptial agreement, and persuaded Walsh-Smith to invest in News of the World online as Walsh-Smith had been a contributor with a weekly column, "Livin' an' Lovin' with Tricia Walsh-Smith".[26] On 23 March 2012, News International, the paper's former publisher, sued Di Stefano for violating its trademark.[27][28]

On learning that she had been conned, Walsh-Smith set up a fake TV interview with Di Stefano outside the Royal Courts of Justice, in order to challenge him on his fraudulent behavior, and uploaded the video on YouTube.[29][30] The Scottish Sunday Mail ran a piece headlined; "The Devil's Advocate Took me for a Mug." In the article Walsh-Smith said that Di Stefano duped her into handing over more than 100,000 pounds; "He got me to invest in an online version of the News of the World after the paper was shut down. He told me Rupert Murdoch was involved but the cash disappeared."[31][unreliable source?] Subsequently, Di Stefano complained to the Press Complaints Commission about the article [29][31] the Sunday Mail then agreed to print a statement stating, "Giovanni Di Stefano has denied ripping off Tricia Walsh-Smith."[32][33]

On 27 March 2013 Di Stefano was found guilty on all four counts relating to Walsh-Smith; nine counts of obtaining a money transfer by deception, eight counts of fraud, three counts of acquiring criminal property, two counts of using a false instrument, one count of attempting to obtain a money transfer by deception, one count of obtaining property by deception and one count of using criminal property.[34] He subsequently pleaded guilty to two additional counts: defrauding a couple out of £160,000, including a woman's life savings of £75,000, and stealing £150,000 from a man who had been in a car accident and lost a limb.[35] He was sentenced to fourteen years in prison.[35]

On 4 April 2014, eight and a half years were added to Di Stefano's fourteen-year sentence, unless he compensated his victims immediately. The judge who jailed him last March at Southwark Crown Court, Alistair McCreath, told him to "pay back £1.4million forthwith or serve the extra time." He said Di Stefano had no intention of paying and had "stuck up two fingers to the court".[36][unreliable source?]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Eaton, Phoebe (1 June 2008). "The YouTube Divorcée". New York Magazine.
  2. ^ Terror (1978) on IMDb
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b Hendry, Sharon (22 May 2008). "Don't get mad get even". The Sun. London.
  7. ^ a b c Leonard, Tom (27 June 2008). "Tricia Walsh-Smith in court after YouTube rants". London: The Daily Telegraph.
  8. ^ Thompson, Paul (14 April 2008). "The playwright who took to YouTube with sex and porn allegations against her husband". London: The Daily Mail.
  9. ^ Adams, Cindy (24 August 2007). "Real-Life Broadway Tragedy". New York Post.
  10. ^ a b "Playwright Pulls Smirnoff-Sponsored Addiction Play". 31 January 2007. Retrieved November 22, 2011.
  11. ^ a b Steele, Francesca (8 December 2008). "The Web Watcher: Tricia Walsh-Smith Does It Again". London: The Times.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Pineapple Dance Sudios cancelled but Louie Spence signs Sky Deal". 10 June 2010. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  14. ^ "Ovation-to-Air-US-Premiere-of-PINEAPPLE-DANCE-STUDIOS". 28 September 2013. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 29 September 2014.
  15. ^ "Angry YouTube Divorcee Speaks Out (transcript)". Fox News Channel / On the Record. 28 May 2008.
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Bryony Gordon (16 April 2008). ""Tricia Walsh-Smith: is revenge now a dish best served online?", Telegraph, 16 April 2008". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2011-11-22.
  19. ^ Honan, Edith (27 June 2008). "Spurned wife defends tell-all YouTube videos". News Limited (Australia).
  20. ^ a b c d Celizic, Mike (17 April 2008). "YouTube divorce rant has experts talking". MSNBC / The Today Show.
  21. ^ a b "Tricia Walsh-Smith loses Philip Smith divorce case". Melbourne Herald Sun. 22 July 2008. Archived from the original on 26 July 2008.
  22. ^ staff (16 April 2008). "YouTube divorce video released by Tricia Walsh Smith". Chicago Tribune.
  23. ^ Wagenseil, Paul (1 January 2009). "The Top 5 Viral Videos of 2008". Fox News.
  24. ^ P, A (22 July 2008). "Husband wins divorce from angry wife in YouTube video". CNN.
  25. ^ Gammel, Carolinel (22 July 2008). "'Callous' YouTube rant divorcee criticises £350,000 settlement".
  26. ^ Alan Carson (24 July 2011), "'Devil's advocate' Giovanni di Stefano sets up online version of the News of the World", Sunday Mail
  27. ^ Larson, Erik (27 March 2012), "News Corp. Sues Saddam's Lawyer Over News of the World Site", Bloomberg
  28. ^ Mark Sweney (30 March 2012). "News International sues 'News of the World Online' website. News Group files claim against lawyer Giovanni Di Stefano and company using News of the World name". The Guardian. London.
  29. ^ a b
  30. ^ |date=11 March 2012|
  31. ^ a b Russell Findlay (11 March 2012). "The Devil's Advocate Took Me for a Mug; Exclusive Actress Rages at di Stefano". Sunday Mail. (needs registration)
  32. ^ "Mr Giovanni Di Stefano v Sunday Mail". Press Complaints Commission. 4 May 2012. Archived from the original on 15 May 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  33. ^ "For the record.(News)(Correction notice)". Sunday Mail. 29 April 2012.
  34. ^ "Bogus Italian lawyer Giovanni di Stefano found guilty". BBC News. 27 March 2013. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  35. ^ a b Cheston, Paul (28 March 2013). "Jailed: Bogus lawyer who conned £1m from clients". Evening Standard. London.
  36. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 30 September 2014. |first=Eamon| last= Dillon |date= 4 April 2014

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