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John Newcombe's
Australian Stars in the States

November 1980

Rod Taylor was one of the stars featured on this TV special hosted by Australian tennis champion John Newcombe.

Newcombe was winding down his stellar playing career and was newly under contract to Sydney's Channel 10, which produced and broadcast this program.

A reviewer in the Melbourne newspaper The Age called it an "undemanding hour-long programme" that looks at famous expatriate Australians living in Hollywood.

Newcombe led off the show with a visit to Rod Taylor's house in Beverly Hills. Rod and Newk played billiards and joked over "a few dinki-di beers," one reviewer wrote.

Rod, age 50 at the time, admitted to living in the U.S. more than he'd lived in Australia. During the interview, he pointed out that he lives among other Hollywood notables, gesturing toward neighboring homes belonging to the likes of Rock Hudson, Bette Midler, Charlton Heston and Tina Sinatra.

Newcombe gives a more extensive account of his encounter with Rod in his book, "Newk: Life on and off the Court."

One of my most memorable guests was the Australian actor, Rod Taylor... [who was] quite a character.

We started the day's filming at 10 a.m. on the tennis court of some actor buddy of Rod. I'd been there five minutes when Rod asked, "Hey, Newk, want a beer?"

"Well, Rod," I replied, a bit taken aback, "I don't need a beer at 10 in the morning... but okay."

We hit some tennis balls and chatted while the cameras rolled and Rod sunk beers. About midday he suggested we break for lunch. At the restaurant we drank more beer and then we went back to his place to play billiards ... and drink beer.

Somehow, the filming continued into the evening. Then at 6 p.m. or so, the crew left and Rod asked me to hang around to have, you guessed it, a few more beers. We were still drinking at 10 p.m., 12 hours after we'd started.

The Age reviewer Barbara Hooks, who admits to being cynical, wrote: "Newcombe takes a lighthearted approach to his interviews. ... This program scratches our itching curiosity about wealthy lifestyle in a reasonably painless fashion. It will appeal to a wide audience."

Other stars featured on the show were singers Andy Gibb, Helen Reddy and Lana Cantrell; actress Trisha Noble, screenwriter Colin Higgins; songwriter/entertainer Peter Allen; and songwriter John Farrer and his wife, singer Pat Carroll.





Review from Nov. 6, 1980

Review from Nov. 7, 1980

John Newcombe on Wikipedia

Excerpt from John Newcombe's book




Preview clip on YouTube