RON PARRY – BIOGRAPHY

TALENTED & HILARIOUSLY FUNNY COMEDIAN, ACTOR, ENTERTAINER, VENTRILOQUIST, TEACHER & WRITER

Born 28th October, 1921 in Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Passed away 20th June, 2013 in Adelaide, Australia
[91 years old]
Ron was born as Frederick Ronald Parry in Scarborough, Yorkshire, England in 1921. He much preferred the name Ron Parry, as people generally knew him. Ron was a fine comedian, entertainer, actor, compere, ventriloquist, drama & acting teacher and a writer. No matter what character or role Ron played in his life, one of his biggest assets was his instinctive ability to make people laugh. [Not to mention making his wife, Ochita  laugh on so, so many occasions.]
Ron admired many comic actors. By memory, some were Jacques Tati, Faulty Towers, Spike Milligan, Monty Python and Victor Borge. Their humor seemed embedded in Ron’s own personality.
 

Ron as a young boy

Ron spent the better part of his childhood living in England from one ‘dig’ (lodgings) to another, whilst his unflappable mother strove to better their lives by being a very creative Sales Manager. She was so successful that she ended up ultimately ‘sorting out’ and managing various stores for her employees.

Ron with his mother in the UK

His father, originally a ship owner, lost his position due to unfortunate circumstances that occurred upon one of his yachts and then, promptly disappeared. At the time, Ron was only 2 years old. It wasn’t until Ron was 12 years old that his father reappeared adding spice to Ron’s childhood by popping in and out of his life with some harebrained scheme or another.

Ron once said “I think I had more Aunties and Uncles” than any boy alive those days. Some of which I have since worked with in Variety Shows and TV. The Houston Sisters, Sir Harry Lauder, Dave Poole, Arthur Askey, The Mills Brothers, George Formby and many, many more. Quite a few of them like Renee Houston of the Houston sisters were still very active in show biz.”

Ron with his friend

His most memorable and greatest love was always anything to do with the Stage or Theatre. When he was 11 years old Ron’s earliest jobs was working at The Bear Paw Restaurant and he would often serve meals backstage at the Grand Theatre to famous people like Gracie Fields with whom he developed a warm friendship. Or whenever a Circus was nearby, he and a friend would go and find work there. They loved it. It was a similar field, so not surprising. Show business was like a magnet to Ron even then.

Father’s humour entered everyone’s lives all the time. It was not deliberate or otherwise, it just was who he was. He never failed to amaze me – his humor never stopped no matter what. [Carina – daughter]

Magnet or not, his earlier jobs after leaving school were funnily enough nothing to do with show biz. They consisted of….

A) Switchboard operator, tea maker, errand boy 

B) Apprentice warehouse man of a clothing manufacturer and woolen merchants in Bury,

C) Department store salesman 

D) Junior assistant  to his mother who was manager of a high-class furriers in Darlinghurst Street, Wolverhampton.

Ron dressed in R.A.F. attire

In 1940 at the tender age of 18, Ron joined the R.A.F. in the Second World War and became a bomber pilot. The War was certainly not one of his happier memories but, there were certainly some lighter moments, and some… self-imposed.  After being given an honorable discharge, Ron went on to serve as an entertainer to the troops as their panacea. After World War II had ended, he went on to a theatrical tour with his soon to be wife, Ochita.

Ron outside one of the many shows he performed in, in the UK

Prior to going to Australia in 1964 Ron had a plethora of shows, variety, pantomime and theatre under his belt in the UK and even had his own TV show called “Sunday Night from the Prince of Wales”.

Ron worked and toured with a colourful array of talent over time and some being Harry Secombe, Tommy Cooper, Johnny Ray, Tony Bennett, Shirley Bassey, Frankie Vaughan, Howard Keel, Sammy Davis Junior, etc, to name a few. Ron also performed with Eartha Kitt for a season in Glasgow whereby Eartha often cooked Sunday dinners for Ron and Des O’Conner.

Ron with Cliff Richard having a bit of fun

A 7 month season saw Ron at the London Palladium in Cliff Richard’s first London show and they had such a great bond of friendship. Ron even joined in Cliff’s 21 birthday party.

Ron with the Queen – London Palladium

One of the many highlights in his career was performing before Her Majesty, The Queen at the Royal Command Performance [four times]. Touring in South Africa with Frank Ifield was yet another highlight and he had very fond memories of Africa.

Ron with Frank Ifield [left]

After his family [wife, Ochita and his two daughters] followed him to Australia in 1963, Ron toured Queensland with the World famous Australian magician, “The Great Levant”.                 

Some years later Ron again toured Queensland as compere & comedian for the ‘The Bare Touch of Paris.” It was a variety show with nubile topless dancers; as well as Carlotta’s “Les Girls”.

Ron playing the part as King Pellinor in Camelot

In the musical, “Camelot” of which had much acclaim, Ron played King Pellinore.

Ron also worked the Sydney circuit as a stand-up comic including performances at ‘The Rocks Push’ Sydney.

In Australia Ron first toured the Tivoli circuit as a comedian & ventriloquist with his wife, Ochita [Spanish dancer] for Michael Edgely and Dawe.

Upon his second visit in 1963 he realised the benefits for his family to be living in Australia, so Ron’s wife and two daughters flew from the UK to join him. Ochita and Ron were immediately booked for a three month tour of Queensland with world famous Australian magician, The Great Levant.

Ron hosting his ADS 7 show, Here’s Parry”, Adelaide

Prior to his arrival in Australia, Ron compered his own TV show and toured with many stars such as Harry Secombe, Tommy Cooper, Johnny Ray, Tony Bennett, Shirley Bassey and Howard Keel, etc.

In the UK, Ron performed in a Brighton season with Frankie Vaughan.

…acclaimed in England as the “TOMMY TRINDER” of the 1950s… he is a first class ventriloquist. [Program Review]

Ron and Des O’Connor worked in Eartha Kitt’s Glasgow show. She loved cooking Sunday meals for them

Ron did some film work with Mai Zetterling and acted in Repertory Theatre.

Ron and Ochita signing their marriage registry

Then Ron married, but that marriage didn’t work out. He remarried in 1955 to Ochita. Ron’s father was an inventor, but that’s another story.

Ron’s uncle was J.B. Priestly the author. A relative had investigated the family tree and found out that Captain Cook was his ancestor.

Ron has also compered many of Ochita’s flamenco shows combined with his, always successful ventriloquist & comedy routines.

Ron with Charlie, one of his favorite Ventriloquist dolls

 Also in his earlier TV days, Ron appeared in Australian television police drama series such as the Crawford Production‘s  ‘Division 4’,  ‘Hunter’ and ‘Homicide’. Ron worked alongside people like Leonard Teale, Terry McDermott, George Mallaby, Norman Yemm, Gerard Kennedy and Ted Hamilton, etc.

Division 4, a drama/homicide TV series

Ron appeared in some Australian productions such as, “For the Term of His Natural Life,” as the ship’s surgeon and the ship’s master in “Sara Dane”.

Ron in the movie, Sara Dane

Ron also hosted his own TV Show, “Here’s Parry” on Channel 7 in Adelaide which aired for 2.5 years.  There were no scriptwriters or ideas man. Ron created his own sketches, interviews, stories, etc -who does that now? This tall, blonde, Englishman usually had a little Chihuahua tucked somewhere, hidden away under his clothing. He called the Chihuahua his ‘Signature’ but his real name was ‘Ziggy.’

A most versatile entertainer, an excellent dancer with a fund of wit, and a fast style of humour that quickly establishes him no matter where he may be appearing. [Review]

Don Lane, known as, the ‘Lanky Yank‘ and Ron, used to race each other through the Channel 7 Studios. It was all part of Don Lane’s first promo introduction to the Australian Public. They were good friends.

Ron in one of his classic vent acts with his imaginary parrot

There are many other celebrities Ron has worked with and he made many friends a long the way as well.  Ron has worked with countless people over his life including: Buster Fiddess, Frankie Howard, Billy Baxter, Jimmy Edwards, Bert Newton, Bobby Limb, Dawn Lake, Rex Harrison, Graeme Kennedy, Billy Dainty, Des O’Connor, Charlie Drake, Pat Boone, David Whitfield, Bruce Forsyth, Max Bygraves, Norman Wisdom, David Whitfield, Barry Crocker, Sammy Davis Junior, Lonnie Donegan, Bobby Donovan, Charlie Drake, Ted Durante, Terry Bartlett, Harry Secombe, Ronnie Corbett, Russ Conway, Joan Regan, Arthur Askey, Kenneth More, David Nixon, Max Russell, Frankie Vaughan, Pat Boone, Morecambe and Wise, Eartha Kitt, Matt Monro, Max Bygraves, Pat O’Brien, Freddie Frinton, Winifred Atwell … and many more, really too many to mention here.

 

Ron’s drama classes fulfilled his later years

In the later years Ron concentrated on passing on his talents by teaching Drama and Comedy to budding artists through his Drama School, ‘The Stage Door Centre’ whilst working on his  autobiography. This still did not stop him from taking up offers to perform in shows across Adelaide, Australia and performing in his wife’s shows too.

Ron in later years when he taught drama classes

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Ron is remembered as, not only a true English gentleman but a man who created laughter within everyone around him.
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