Wednesday, January 11, 2012
On a night like this/Weekend in New England/Every little thing/Even the nights are better/It's almost like being in love/I have dreamed/A day in the life of a fool/You make me feel like dancing/The rainbow connection/Night and day/Didn't we
Born in Melbourne in 1951, Daryl Somers first appeared on TV as a contestant
on the talent show New Faces in 1968, aged just 16.
The teenage drummer sang with the band he'd formed at school and made the finals
but came second to now famous singer John Williamson.
Undeterred, Daryl continued voice lessons with Diane Dubarry and Evie Hayes.
Two years later, in 1970, the 19 year-old won the New Faces final as a solo
vocalist. Daryl made his professional TV debut as the host of the afternoon
kids' show Cartoon Corner on July 14, 1971 each weekday for the next six and
a half years.
October 9, 1971 saw the birth of Hey, Hey It's Saturday, which Daryl co-hosted
with Collingwood footballer Peter McKenna. Eight weeks in, McKenna was replaced
with a stuffed pink ostrich named Ossie, giving birth to one of the most famous
partnerships in Australian TV history. Over the next 28 years, Daryl and Ossie
became household names. The program gradually evolved from an early morning
kid's cartoon show to an adult's evening variety show. The duo released two
LP's going gold many times over and won a multitude of Logies along the way.
In 1976 Daryl hosted the revived music program Bandstand which made him a teen
idol. He hosted the King of Pop Awards in 1976 and 1977, and was himself a
regular singer on the Graham Kennedy, Don Lane and Mike Walsh shows in the
seventies and eighties.
In 1980 Daryl replaced Tony Barber on quiz show Family Feud, hosting the program
for the next three years – and 713 episodes! In June 1982, he was given his
own night time TV variety show – minus Ossie – aptly named The Daryl Somers
Show, which ran for 18 months. The hard work paid off with Daryl winning his
first Gold Logie Award for Most Popular Personality on Australian TV in 1983
and also being crowned King of Moomba – a Melbourne festival. The Daryl Somers
Show had exposed him to an older audience, and – in February 1984 – TV executives
moved Hey Hey from 8.00am to 9.30pm where it gained a new adult following.
The following year, in June 1985, it was moved to 6.30pm where it stayed for
the next 14 years.
No longer hosting Family Feud and with The Daryl Somers Show finished, 1985
saw Daryl free for a new challenge – the revived Blankety Blanks. Hosting the
early evening quiz show each weeknight put him back in the popularity stakes,
with Daryl winning his second Gold Logie in 1986. In 1987, he sang Waltzing
Matilda and Advance Australia Fair at the then VFL Grand Final at the Melbourne
Cricket Ground – performing to 120 million people worldwide, his biggest audience
ever! He also sang at the 1996 AFL Grand Final.
In 1988 he hosted the TV Week Logie Awards for the first of five times. He
was invited back in 1991, 1996, 1997 and 1998. His third Gold Logie came in
1989, marking his place in Australian showbiz history. Ironically, New Faces
– the very show he appeared on in 1968 – returned to TV in 1989 with Daryl
as host and producer!
Over the years, Daryl has continued to play drums, often thrilling Hey Hey
audiences with impromptu jam sessions with guest pop stars including Stevie
Wonder. Tom Jones and John Farnham.
He sang in many pantomimes in the seventies and, in 1988, played Sancho Panza
in the Melbourne and Brisbane run of the George Fairfax Graeme Murphy production
Man of La Mancha. The following year he appeared as the Billiard Marker in
Mike Batt's The Hunting of the Snark.
An astute businessman, Daryl grew from musician to TV presenter and then producer,
forming his own company with Ernie Carroll – the voice of Ossie Ostrich. Somers
Carroll Pty Ltd went on to own and produce Hey Hey as well many Hey Hey specials
and later the comedy series The Russell Gilbert Show and Gonged But Not Forgotten.
November 21, 1999, marked the final episode of Hey, Hey It's Saturday which
won a record amount of Logies; 12 awards in the comedy flight entertainment
category, and Daryl's 17 other individual awards – including the three prestigious
He is a patron of many worthy causes including; Camp Quality, The Lost Dogs'
Home, the West Australia Youth Jazz Orchestra (WAYJO), Generations in Jazz,
Kids Under Cover, and Yarrabah Special School. From 1994- 1999, he fronted
the Northern Territory's international award winning tourism campaign with
the memorable catch cry "You'll never, never know if you never, never go."
In 2000, he was appointed deputy chair of the Council of ScreenSound Australia,
the national screen and sound archive. He is also chair of the Federal Government's
Contemporary Music Touring Program. In 2002, he was appointed the # 1 ticket
holder at his beloved Geelong Football Club.
He returned to the stage in July 2003, playing Harry MacAfee in the 1960s musical
Bye Bye Birdie and in 2004 he produced "Once In A Lyall", an album featuring
his good friend and renowned saxophonist Graeme Lyall. He is married to Julie
da Costa, a former senior artist with the Australian Ballet. They have performed
together twice – in the 2002 and 2003 Australian Ballet School production of
The Nutcracker at Melbourne's Myer Music Bowl as Clara's parents.
Daryl became an ambassador for the Alice Springs Masters Games in 2002. In
the January 2004 Australia Day Honours List, Daryl was awarded Medal of the
Order of Australia for service to the television and entertainment industries,
to charitable organisations and to the community.
Hosting series one of Dancing with the Stars in late 2004 for the Seven Network
marked his return to television after a five year absence. It's unprecedented
ratings success led the resurgence of Seven as Australia's top network.
In November 2005, he released a CD Songlines on his own label called "Now Hear