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Tribute to Veronica Overton-Low

Posted by ken On September - 26 - 2010


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Veronica Overton-Low
(1944-2010)

Today, Dr Peter Harries conveyed the sad news of the passing of his long time friend Veronica Overton-Low. Her sister Jacquie said that she suffered a fatal heart attack this morning. Peter reports that they remained very close over the years and that Veronica was his wife Patricia May’s best friend.

Veronica Overton was a young actress when she appeared in Coralie Condon’s television production of ‘The Good Oil’. A musical comedy directed by Max Bostock in which she performed as a singer and dancer for TVW Channel 7.


The Good Oil – “Don’t Quote Me”

WA TV History
Veronica Overton was in the cast of TVW Channel 7’s 1965 production of ‘The Good Oil’ before going on to be a popular personality on STW Channel 9.

The show starred: Jill Perryman, Kevan Johnston, Margot Robertson, Vic Hawkins, Bill McPherson, John Chalton, Neville Teede, Philip Porter, Joan Bruce, Danni Harford and the Channel 7 Dancers Jennifer Hayden, Karen Obbs, Janet Ladner, Adrienne O’Meara, Gay Chandler and Clarice Page.

Produced, story, music and lyrics by Coralie Condon, Directed by Max Bostock, Set Design by Brian Lever, Technical Direction by Alex Stewart, Lighting Direction by Pat Cahill and the Floor Manager was John Easton, who also made a brief appearance in the Western Australian produced show.


In 1966, Veronica became a regular face on STW Channel 9 and a household name. Dr Peter Harries explains that Veronica was working in a Melbourne Advertising Agency when her Mother coaxed her back to Perth and audition for STW9 Production Manager Denzil Howson. Soon Veronica was appearing on the Channel Niners Club children’s program with Peter Harries, Peter Piccini, Useless Eustance (Alan Graham the station Newsreader), Ron Blaskett and Gerry Gee.

Audrey Long (Barnaby) recalls how she and Veronica would co-host Roundabout with Lloyd Lawson.


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The Channel Niners Club Team in September 1966. Peter Piccini, Veronica Overton, Peter Harries, Useless Eustance (Alan Graham the station Newsreader), Ron Blaskett and Gerry Gee



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Veronica Overton and Peter Harries in a Christmas pantomime on STW9 in 1966



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Jeff Newman, Veronica Overton and Peter Harries frolicking in STW’s pool



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Jeff Newman, Alan Graham, Pat Newman, Eddie Townsend, Peter Harries, Veronica Overton, Keith Bales


Peter points out that Veronica would…

“…start work in the office at 9 a.m., preparing invitations for the Women’s and Children’s ‘live’ shows and keeping the records for the Australian Performing Rights Association returns. As well, she presented the ‘Weather’ each week-night and consequently was at the studios until 7 p.m.; did voice-over presentations in the announcer’s booth when required and acted as an interviewer of the weekly religious programme Seek the Truth.”

“She objected to having to wear a feathered head-dress during the Big Chief Channel Nine era but to no avail. Added to these duties were regular appearances representing STW9 at outside events, for which she received no remuneration for the first two years.”

“STW9 produced Tom’s Money Machine (sponsored by Tom the Cheap Grocer) with Lloyd Lawson as compere and Penny Vandenberg as the hostess. She was replaced by Veronica Overton, to save on costs as she was ‘on staff’.”

“As well as performing the already described duties Veronica became the female ‘do it all’ on the afternoon women’s programmes, The Jeff Newman Show a night variety show in 1967 and The Tonight Shows in 1969. She also produced the Breakfast Show with Tim Connor in that year which meant arriving at the studios at 6 a.m., then being there till after the nightly ‘Weather’!”

“When Veronica Overton resigned from STW9 in 1970, her position was taken by Jenny Clemesha [now Seaton] who had previously been the ‘fill-in’ while Veronica was on holidays.”


Veronica hosted the SAS Channel 10 Adelaide version of Early Birds in the early 1970s. The show was presented by Veronica and Fat Cat and was a mix of cartoons, competitions and music clips. During one telecast, Veronica resigned on camera, saying “Goodbye children. Fat Cat will be back on Monday, but I won’t”. Which was an interesting predicament as Fat Cat didn’t talk. Didi James took over the show for a short while and later Jane Reilly became host.

Veronica and her late husband John Low also managed a talent agency for radio and TV.

Audrey said Veronica was a gorgeous person, very bright and vivacious and a wonderful person to have a conversation with. Audrey last spoke to Veronica about 18 months ago at the ABC Shop in Carousel.

Veronica will surely be missed after reaching the relatively young age of 66.

Zyg Woltersdorf, the President of The Roleystone Theatre, has kindly providing the following insight to Veronica’s recent times with the theatre company.

Veronica a very lovely lady whose love of Theatre was unbelievable. She would help any budding actor and director to improve their craft.

Her directoral debut at Roleystone was the musical “The Fantastics”, She also directed a One Act play written by her sister Jackie called “The Chair”.

She appeared in 2 pantomimes “Jack and the Hasbeans” and “Mother Goose” as our beloved fairy where she showed her tremendous ability and talent to take on any role and make it her own. She assisted on numerous occasions to run our Junior Workshops where she assisted in choreography, diction and stage movement.

Her previous experience at Channel Nine in Children’s Television came to the fore many times.

She will be sadly missed by all members of Roleystone Theatre not only “On Stage” but Front Of House, and all aspects of theatre life.

Rest In Peace LOVELY LADY!


June Holmes of STW Publicity and Programs (1965-70 & 1972-92) expressed the following heartfelt comments…

I last saw Ronnie in July when we met for lunch with Nola Smith, who in 1965 to 1967 was STW9’s Make-up artist. I have enclosed a photo taken on our last happy day together.

Ronnie has always been a wonderful friend these past 45 years and I will miss her dearly.


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June Holmes, Nola Smith and Veronica Overton-Low in July 2010


Photographs from “MY FAIR LADY” with Veronica Overton-Low performing at the Roleystone Theatre just months ago. Courtesy of Zyg Woltersdorf Roleystone Theatre President.


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22 Responses to “Tribute to Veronica Overton-Low”

  1. pixi burke says:

    morning,

    so sad to hear of veronica, i have many wonderful memories!
    cheers
    pixi

  2. Alan Graham says:

    I am so sorry to hear of Veronica’s early passing. She had the most musical voice and extraordinary artistry. Amazing to think she and sister Jacquie’s parents came out from the U.K. (and India) to settle and raise their children in Laverton and Leonora! Quite the young English ladies.
    Veronica inspired many and will be remembered most fondly and forever.
    Much love,
    Alan XX

  3. Doctor Peter Harries says:

    As always, well done Ken!
    Thank you,
    The Ace of Klubs

  4. Navi Blight says:

    Dear Ronnie will be so missed. She was a wonderful, vivacious, loving warm friend. Farewell Veronica.

  5. Clinton Voss says:

    Veronica always will be a bright beautiful person – she was my agent, mentor and friend. Without her I would not have had such wonderful memories of my time working in Australian television. Be it her careful advice as an agent, a kind word as a coach or bloody good glass of wine as a friend, Ill miss her.

    Glad she gets to see John again.

    Best,

    Clinton

  6. Clyde Selby says:

    I have innumerable memories of Veronica stretching back for thirty years. They involve her parents and sister Jacqui, her wedding to John… Some are absurd ones from our teaching days together and others are equally hilarious or alternatively sad.
    Just one of them is meeting up with her before a theatrical production in which John was appearing on stage. She was wearing a splendidly elaborate and exotic necklace – made from what appeared to be terracotta. “Is it Byzantine?” I asked admiringly. “Actually it’s made of dog biscuits!” Veronica replied with a giggle. She went on to tell of how she was fretting that day over having nothing suitable to wear with her dress and wished to do John proud when her eyes began to focus on the diamond-shaped biscuits she was absent-mindedly feeding her Great Dane: Virgil. A quick check of the packet assured her that they were odourless and so in a few minutes she was experimenting with the hand drill and before long threading them with fishing line. “Just in case and so as to not be reeking of dog biscuits in the theatre I’ve saturated them with perfume.”
    Over the 25 years since that night I have often cited the dog biscuit necklace as an example of ingenuity and creativity. Living now as I do in Tasmania, I will miss the particular voice tone that infused her greeting when she knew it was me on the telephone…and I miss it now.

  7. Vikky Trewick says:

    Hello Avocado it’s me Vik. I have known Veronica for probably 30yrs. We have happy times in many shows together and one that stands out is ‘I Remember Mama’. John and Veronica directed it and also played in it at the Mosman Park Little Theatre. Veronica lived down the road from me in Fremantle and now in Kelmscott. We have read alot together, performed alot together, gone to movies and ballet together, discussed ‘the meaning of life’ and never found an answer!One morning Veronica was a little sad and on my way to work I left an avocado in her letter box, I wrote on it ‘don’t be sad, have an avocado’. I love you Avocado, you are my soul sister,we will always be together, kiss John for me.

  8. Martin Bergeron says:

    I will miss you terribly, Dearheart.

  9. Michelle Harris says:

    I will always remember Veronica as Mrs Higgins in Roleystone Theatre’s My Fair Lady. I played along side such an incredible talent. All the while having no idea the depth of her experience.
    It was Veronica who showed me that i have the strength to get through it no matter what. It was Veronica who read lines with me untill i got them right. Veronica who did my hair before every performance.Veronica who amazed me with her talent every night. It is Veronica who shall inspire me always in times of struggle, to be strong and always gracious. Thank you Veronica for your friendship.
    You and I will have tea at Ascot again.
    Untill then,I will miss you xx

  10. mike harris(eagleye) says:

    My Heartfelt thoughts go to all the family members at the loss of such an amazing woman for her example of living to others in their live’s as she trod the boards, in her journey through life. May her legacy remain with everyone who knew her and one day we can meet up with her again when its our turn to reach for the stars in the sky of which she is one now and forever more. rest in the joy VERONICA of knowing that you were loved and now are sadly missed by those who knew you.

  11. Albert & Jean Chambers says:

    We will miss you more than can be imagined. You were an inspiration to all the budding thespians that attended Roleystone Theatre’s junior workshop. The lights on our stage will be dimmed with your passing XXXX

  12. Paul Presbury says:

    I shall miss you Veronica. I am a better person for having known you.

    “Come away, oh human child, to the waters and the wild, with a faerie hand in hand, for the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand”

  13. Judith Congrene says:

    I first knew Veronica as her Avon lady in Kelmscott – I can picture Veronica and Jazz greeting me at the front gate as I arrived to deliver the Avon and have a chat. I remember the beautiful bond between Veronica and her gorgeous dog. Veronica’s recent performance in My Fair Lady was amazing and delightful – an honour to have been part of the audience watching this wonderful production. The news of Veronica’s passing shocked and saddened me when I received a phone call from Jacquie this morning. It is a comfort to know there will be joyous happy reunions at Rainbow bridge. Rest in peace together Veronica with your beloved animals.

  14. Rory Cornelius says:

    Although your scene has ended and the stage lights are now faded, you will always be a character that thespians remember fondly. Though shocked and saddened by your sudden exit, the show was a success and your audience is proud to have watched you tread the boards of this life, and some have even felt the honour of treading them alongside you.

    You will be missed and stories will be recounted with loving remembrance.

    Great love and admiration from one of your Fantastiks.

  15. Jennie Slee says:

    Wonderful memories of Veronica and the Overton’s from Walter Street/ Smith Street days. A vibrant and larger than life personality.

  16. kathy hetzel says:

    Bye dear sister-in-law.
    Fond memories.
    Kath

  17. william hetzel says:

    Auntie Veronica i will never forget the awesome trip to perth i made as a young teenager with my friend john franco and will miss you very much. Wish i had found time to write more often

    love billy

  18. Sue Found says:

    Farewell Veronica…I remember you well from the Channel niners club and the weather reports…you are very much a part of my childhood memories. Gone too soon

  19. Viv Rintoul-Atkins says:

    I have only just found out of the Loss of such A beautiful person in Veronica Overton-Lowe And I for one am so at a loss for words , as how can we lose one such wonderful person from our lives. I had the most amazing pleasure of sharing her knowledge and wisdom on from the Arts to history, love and loss, Ronnie will be forever cherished in my Heart forever.Farewell for now and do say hi to John for me give him a bear hug for me ,I love you as a friend ,mentor, and more than anything you and Jacqui will always be my two sisters,I will look out for her for you love Viv

  20. Graham Shaw says:

    I had the pleasure of working with Veronica at the Patch Theatre (then in William Street) Perth in the late 60’s. Saddened to hear of her passing. I played alongside her in the King and I, about the Thai king. Ironicly today I am a missionary in Thailand. God bless Veronica.

  21. Clive Robertson says:

    I thought I should “Google” Veronica, having not spoken to her for years, but I was too late.
    Living (?) in Sydney, I was unaware of her passing.
    I worked with her at Channel Nine in the late 60s, and she was always jolly company. I NEED jolly company.
    Depending where you are, Veronica, I will probably see you soon.
    Clive A Robertson (recentlt at 2UE)

    bye

  22. cheryl ween says:

    I was watching The Logies tonight when I saw displayed a photo in memory of Veronica Overton-Low.I googled her name and discovered she is the same Veronica I saw on Fat Cat and Friends in Adelaide.I felt sad as I remember her with good memories from my primary school days.I am now 46 years old.

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