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Roy `Mo` Rene Print Page Print this page

23-September-2020
23-September-2020

Photographs supplied by Stephen Warren

The sculpture commemorates comedian Roy Rene (1891 - 1954) who was one of Australia`s most loved performers from the Depression of the 1930`s until the early 1950`s. The statue was commissioned by the South Australian Government to recognise Mo`s significant contribution to Australian Art and Entertainment.

One of Australia’s greatest and most loved comedians, ‘Roy Rene’ was born Harry van der Sluys (or Sluice) in Hindley Street, Adelaide. The comic adopted the stage name Roy Rene after a famous French clown.  As one of seven children, Rene displayed a passion for performing from a young age making his stage debut at the Theatre Royal in Hindley Street and later performed around Australia and New Zealand, eventually moving to Sydney where he joined the Vaudeville circuit.

As the bawdy character "Mo McCackie", Rene was one of the most well-known and successful Australian comedians of the 20th century. Famous for his superb timing, gestures and distinctive make-up — a painted white face and black beard — Rene later became known as ‘Mo,’ teaming up with comedian Nat (‘Stiffy’) Phillips to become the ‘Stiffy and Mo’ comedy act.

In 1934, he starred in the film Strike me lucky, the title of which comes from one of his many catchphrases. Many of Rene’s favorite catchphrases are still part of the Australian vernacular. Other catchphrases included 'Don't come the raw prawn with me' (to tell someone not to try and deceive you or misrepresent the situation) and 'Fair suck of the sav' (to indicate incredulity or to let someone know they are not giving others a fair go).

The memory of Rene lives on in the Mo Awards, presented annually for excellence in live performance. The statuette presented to the recipients is in the form of Rene in his Mo McCackie persona.

 

Location

Address:Hindley Street, near Leigh Street, Adelaide, 5000
State:SA
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -34.923101
Long: 138.597741
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:People
Sub-Theme:Arts
Artist:Robert Hannaford
Link:http://adb.anu.edu.au/

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Thursday 4th March, 2010
Front Inscription

Roy `Mo` Rene

Strike me lucky         You beaut !

1891 - 1954

Fair suck of the sav   Don't come the raw prawn with me

One of Australia`s greatest and most loved comedians `Roy Rene` was born Harry van der Sluys in Hindley Street, Adelaide.

The son of a Dutch cigar merchant and one of seven children he liked to perform from a young age.  His first professional job was at the Adelaide markets and his stage debut was as a singer at the Theatre Royal in Hindley Street.

The young Roy moved to Melbourne with his family to continue his acting career.  He performed around Australia and New Zealand, eventually moving to Sydney where he joined the vaudeville circuit.

Roy Rene became famous for his superb timing and funny gestures and for his distinctive make-up - a painted white face and black beard.  Later, by then known as ‘Mo,’ teamed with comedian Nat (‘Stiffy’) Phillips and the duo became the ‘Stiffy and Mo’ comedy act.

In the 1940s he turned to radio and his show McCackie Mansion was a huge success.  Some of `Mo`s` favourite catch phrases are still part of the Australian vernacular.  For example :

`Strike me lucky`
`Don't come the raw prawn with me`
`Fair suck of the sav`
`You beaut`

The Australian entertainment industry`s annual `Mo Award` for excellence in live performance is named after him.

Sculpture by Robert Hannaford February 2010

Commissioned by Adelaide City Council

 

 

 

Source: MA, ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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