HMT ARTIST PROFILE – Toni Lamond
Toni Lamond has been “in the business” for 75 years! She learned to tap when she was 8, and made her theatre debut aged 10. Her career in theatre, television, cabaret and film has spanned three continents, with a string of successes in the United Kingdom, United States and of course, Australia.
Born into a showbiz family, the daughter of Stella Lamond and Joe Lawman, Toni spent her early years in Melbourne and was seven when her parents divorced. Stella then married comedian Max Reddy – Toni prayed for a little sister…and along came Helen.
Toni took up the family tradition and followed in Stella and Max’s footsteps when she trod the same boards at The Tivoli in 1952 after being offered a twelve-month contract to appear with English comedian Tommy Trinder.
In 1957 Toni and an all-Australian company made theatre history by being cast in “The Pyjama Game”, At that time, the leads of new Broadway and West End musicals were imported from overseas. “The Pyjama Game” ran for two and a half years paving the way for future Australian theatre stars.
Again, carrying on the family tradition, her son (and star of “Priscilla Queen of The Desert”) Tony Sheldon, has written and appeared with Toni in several successful shows.
Toni takes her well-deserved place as one of the immortal caricatures in The Maj Cafe having appeared at HMT in “Oliver”, “Gypsy”, “Pirates of Penzance”, “42 Street” and of course “The Pyjama Game” and believes Her Majesty’s is “one of the easiest theatres to work in. From the back-stage to front of house, it was one of the happiest, most professional of atmospheres”.
Toni has won two Logies; a Variety Club Award; an A.M. ; a J.C.Williamson Award; a Mo Award; a Lifetime Achievement Award; and in 1993 was awarded The Key To The City of Melbourne. On top of this, Toni was the first woman in the world to compere a night-time television show.
Not content to confine her talents to the stage, Toni has also written three books: “Toni Lamond’s Cooking When You’re Broke” (HMT’s very own Mike Walsh and other celebrities have submitted their favourite recipes); “First Half”; and “Still A Gypsy”. If you are lucky and look online you might just find one. They are well worth the read!