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