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Janet Brown enjoyed a long career in the entertainment world.  From the early sixties, she starred in many shows for Bill Orr’s Phillip Theatre in Sydney. Her first professional appearance was in ‘What’s New?’, in 1962, with Maggie Dence, Barry Creyton and Noeline Brown, who would continue their friendship for over half a century.

Barry remembers doing a musical number with Janet, where she was wearing a crinoline and sporting a huge hat. Barry was dressed in full military gear, possibly with a sword by his side. Barry, having two left feet, as he himself confesses, trod on the hem of Janet’s gown and they both fell to the floor, with Janet crying ‘shithouse’, reducing Barry to tears.

Bill Orr always addressed Janet Brown and Noeline Brown as ‘The pretty Miss Brown and the other one’. They were never sure who he meant to insult.

Janet starred alongside a teenage Jacki Weaver in a children’s fantasy production, ‘A Wish is a Dream’ at the same Phillip Theatre, Jacki said she adored Janet, who was the ‘loveliest fairy’. Evidently there were others. Janet Brown and Gerry Gallagher - Gallagher and Brown

In the 70's Janet joined forces with comedian Gerry Gallagher and together they toured the major club circuit in Australia. Janet was a born entertainer and the duo Gallagher & Brown enjoyed enormous success winning a coveted Mo Award. They appeared in many shows produced by Frank Strain at Sydney’s fabulous ‘Bull ‘n’ Bush’ theatre restaurant.  Hosted by Noel Brophy, Gallagher and Brown were regular headliners along with Helen Lorain and June Salter.

She also made appearances in several TV series, among them ‘The True Blue Show’ with Jon English.

Janet left Australia for overseas, as the Australian actor’s necessary rite of passage in those days and worked in London with her friend and colleague from Australia, Beatrice Aston. Music Hall was popular in the UK and Janet and Bea were very successful, touring their act.

In the late 1980s, Janet appeared at the Melbourne Comedy Festival in a show called ‘Hold the Line’.

Janet served on the Board of ABF for may years. She joined the committee at a time when Noeline Brown was Chair, Leo Brown was Secretary and Janet became Treasurer. As her fellow committee member Lynn Rainbow said "It was a Brown takeover"

Janet Brown with Barry Creyton and Reg Gormon in "What's New" in 1962

Janet's second husband was the well known ABC writer/producer/director John Croyston. After his death in 2007 she went to live in England to be near her two children Amanda and Dugald, and her grandchildren. She was much loved by her colleagues and known as a warm, caring and very funny companion. Janet passed away in England on the second of October at the age of 84.

Everyone who ever met Janet or worked with her, repeated the words of Jacki Weaver – ‘We adore her’. 

Janet Brown (Croyston) at tea in London with Lynn Rainbow. Lynn's  heartfelt tribute to her friend is on the Vale page.

06 October 2021
Category: News