Toni Lamond AM 1932
Patricia Lamond Lawman, the daughter of comedian Joe Lawman and soubrette Stella Lamond, was born in Sydney in 1932 into a legendary show biz family.
Toni started on radio, but soon became part of her parents’ touring variety show.
Toni lived and worked in the USA from 1976 to 1988, appearing in major musicals and in featured roles in TV drama.
In 2006 she was selected as one of the Variety Club’s Entertainers of the Century.
‘It is not difficult for anyone to fall under the spell of Toni Lamond,’ says Bert Newton. ‘Millions of Australians have been doing it for years. We know Toni and she knows us – and what a partnership it has been and continues to be for us all.’
Patricia Lamond Lawman, the daughter of comedian Joe Lawman and soubrette Stella Lamond, was born in Sydney in 1932 into a legendary show biz family. Her maternal grandmother, her aunt, her stepfather, Max Reddy, and her husband, Frank Sheldon, were entertainers, her half-sister, singer Helen Reddy, had an international career, and her son, Tony Sheldon is starring on Broadway.
Toni started on radio, but soon became part of her parents’ touring variety show. In 1951 she was featured in revue and pantomime at the Theatre Royal in Adelaide. This led to a stint on the Tivoli Circuit. There she worked in pantomime with the great British comic Tommy Trinder, who called her the ‘best Principal Boy in the business’. In 1956 J.C. Williamson’s cast her in a leading role in The Pajama Game.
Toni and her husband became familiar figures on early TV. For eight years Toni was a regular on IMT; she also guest-hosted the show, making her the first woman in the world to front a ‘Tonight’ show. She went on to win two TV Week Logies. In 1963 Garnet H. Carroll gave her the lead in the musical Wildcat. Three years later she was a heartbreaking Nancy in Oliver! and in 1975 she was a breathtaking Momma Rose in Gypsy.
Toni lived and worked in the USA from 1976 to 1988, appearing in major musicals and in featured roles in TV drama. On her return to Australia she toured with her son, Tony Sheldon, in Madonna and Child, written by Tony. Other autobiographical shows followed, including A Life in Show Business (1993), Woman on the Move (1995), Full of Life (2001), Still Full of Life (2007) and Times of My Life (2007).
Toni’s local musical theatre credits include For Amusement Only, Expresso Bongo, Cabaret, 42nd Street, The Full Monty, Shout!, Follies in Concert, High Society, The Pirates of Penzance, My Fair Lady and Beauty and the Beast. In 2009 she was featured in Finucane and Smith’s The Burlesque Hour – Legends! at fortyfivedownstairs in Melbourne. She has also lent her talents to the development of new Australian musicals such as Better Known as Bee (1992) and Careful He Might Hear You (1999) and has participated in the OzMade Musicals presentations in Melbourne.
Toni has published two volumes of autobiography – First Half (1990) and Still a Gypsy (2002) – as well as the sadly practical Cooking When You’re Broke (1976).
In 2006 she was selected as one of the Variety Club’s Entertainers of the Century. She has received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Green Room Awards Association, the Sydney Theatre Awards and the Sydney Glugs.
In 2003 Toni’s ‘service to the entertainment industry and to the community through fundraising for a range of organisations’ was recognised when she was made a Member of the Order of Australia.