The wonder and heartbreak of Jeanne Little

From the first time, audiences heard her say “Darrrrling” on Network Ten’s Mike Walsh Show in 1974 they knew they

From the first time, audiences heard her say “Darrrrling” on Network Ten’s Mike Walsh Show in 1974 they knew they had found the next big star in Jeanne Little.

Jeanne was originally invited on the show to promote her designer maternity clothes, but it was her charisma and comedic timing that had her become a regular. When Mike moved his show from Ten to Channel Nine, Jeanne didn’t hesitate to pack her bags and go with him.

Network Seven did try twice to give Jeanne her own program with Jeanne’s Little Show and Cuckoo in the Nest, but both were short lived as Jeanne worked best when she could bounce off a character as large as hers. It was her work with Mike Walsh that made her a favourite with audiences and securing her a Gold Logie award in 1976. It was one of three Logies she would win for being part of the multi-Logie winning program.

Outside of working with Mike, Jeanne held her own with some of the biggest stars in television as she was a guest on Midday with Ray Martin and part of a Michael Parkinson variety show on the BBC. There she got to work alongside people like George Burns and Phyllis Diller.

Jeanne also conquered the stage first appearing in Jerry’s Girls where she worked with Marcia Hines. However, it was her one woman show Marlene which garnered her cirtical acclaim in Australia and the US. Marlene was a tribute to actress and singer Marlene Dietrich.

Her return to TV was herald as she signed on to be a regular panellist on the talk show Beauty and the Beast where her on-air battles of wit with Stan Zemanek were the stuff of legends.

Sadly, in 2011, Jeanne’s family went public with her battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. Currently, Jeanne is still with us, but she being cared for in a nursing home and has advanced to a stage where she no longer knows who anyone is or where she is.

She is being cared for by her husband of 45 years, Barry, and her daughter Katie. They have also set up the Jeanne Little Alzheimer’s Research Fund in Jeanne’s honour to help fun research into the horrible disease.

Jeanne’s contribution to Australian entertainment will never be outshone by her tragic circumstances, and she will be celebrated for many years to come.

  1. Andrea patrick  

    Bless you Jeanne I hope you don’t suffer for too long, although I know your husband and daughter are suffering alongside you. I thank you making me laugh sooo hard that I’d practically wet my knickers, a gorgeous funny lady. xxx

  2. Gai A  

    Sending lots of love to Jeanne & her family 💕💕

    This horrible disease is so hard on the family, my dad suffered from it for 12 years It was heartbreaking to watch him gradually slipping away from us 😢

  3. karen zanini  

    Jeanne you brought to me such fun & laughter bless you for all the joy you gave me. Such a talented lady to your husband & daughter feel so proud of what she gave us stay at home mothers some of the funniest moments that made our days bearable xx

  4. Jeanne you were my favourite person on the mick walsh show you have been missed I wish you and the family all the best I know you must be going through hell now you are sick I just wish I could make you better

  5. Diana Hockley  

    So sorry to hear that Jeanne is suffering from the appalling disease. At least she doesn’t know what is going on, so myu heart goes out to her husband and daughter who are looking after her. So sad for them.

  6. Sheila lakeman  

    Jeannie was such good clean fun,
    Very talented lady with her clothes designs.
    So sorry for her family, it is a terrible desease, and a terrible time for them, only good thing is that Jeannie doesn’t know anything about it .
    Thanks for the good times Jeannie

    • Susan  

      Dear Katie, I know exactly what you are going through and your dear Mother. We lost our Mother, Sister and Cousin to this dreadful disease and in honour of them I too raise funds in WA for Alzheimer’s research. I think your Mum would have loved to come to our Bogun Bingo tomorrow night, I can just see her dressed up now !! Your Mother was a larger than life character who made so many people laugh and enjoy their days. God Bless you all along this journey.
      Love Susan xx

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