Denise Anne Christina Drysdale (born 5 December 1948) is an Australian twice-awarded Gold Logie winning television presenter, variety entertainer, actress, singer, dancer and comedian. She is often affectionately known as Ding Dong, a nickname invented by fellow performer Ernie Sigley. She is currently a co-host of the morning show Studio 10.
5 December 1948
Moorabbin, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
|Residence||Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia|
|Other names||Ding Dong|
|Known for||Studio 10|
|Awards||2x Gold Logie|
Born in the Melbourne suburb of Moorabbin, Drysdale and her family moved to Port Melbourne when she was three and a half, where her parents ran the Fountain Inn Hotel. They lived there for eleven years, during which time Drysdale attended Kilbride Ladies Convent, South Melbourne.
Drysdale's career began soon after the move to Port Melbourne. Referring to the (then) regulations for public bars to cease serving alcohol at 6pm, she observed:
"During that time it was the 6 o'clock swill, and Mum didn't want her little girl seeing all that drinking, so she sent me to dancing, to May Downs. May Downs was an amazing woman. She taught us 150% is what you gave in any performance, or don't bother. And of course, that's got me into strife over the years."
"We'd been there about a year and a bit, and on the holidays I had put on weight, but not much, and as you know, if you put someone in a nice tutu, they don't have bosoms – they have very flat chests. Pete Smith always said, "You grew boobs, they had to get rid of you." They couldn't do it today. And I've suffered to this day. I still stand on the scales six times a day to check whether I've put on half a pound or a pound."
Drysdale was invited to tour Australia with Ray Brown & The Whispers. She was then offered a recording contract and appeared in 26 episodes of the ABC's Dig We Must.
In the 1960s, Drysdale appeared as a dancer on In Melbourne Tonight. In 1966, she performed on the GO! show, and was voted third most popular female vocalist by the readers of Go set. This popularity led to an invitation to perform for the troops in Vietnam for three weeks in 1967, along with Patti Newton, the Strangers, and Doug Owen. In 1969, she went to the Far East to entertain American troops.
In 1974, she became Ernie Sigley's barrel girl on The Ernie Sigley Show. It was here she gained the nickname Ding Dong. In 1975, Drysdale and Sigley released a single "Paula" as a duet, which reached #1 on the charts, Later that year she won the TV Week Gold Logie for the Most Popular Female Personality on Australian TV, and won her second Gold Logie the following year. In the same period, she also won consecutive Silver Logies.
Drysdale has appeared on numerous television shows, including The Norman Gunston Show, Celebrity Squares, Young Talent Time, Countdown, Division 4, Homicide, Bellbird and Celebrity Name Game. She has also worked in regional television in Victoria including guest appearances on BTV-6 Ballarat and hosting a morning magazine show on GLV-8 in the 1980s. As an actress, she has appeared in the movies The Last of the Knucklemen, Snapshot, and Blowing Hot and Cold.
On stage, she has appeared in plays and musicals, including Salad Days, Grease, The Barry Crocker Show, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Hello, Dolly! in 1994. She also spent two years in Sydney appearing on television shows Weekend Magazine and Beauty and the Beast.
In 1989, Drysdale joined Ernie Sigley to host In Melbourne Today, and in 1991 began a Sydney version of the show In Sydney Today. The two programs later merged to a single program: Ernie And Denise. Also in 1989, she was asked to fill in on Hey Hey it's Saturday due to Jacki McDonald being ill and subsequently leaving. Drysdale stayed with the show for over a year before leaving due to ongoing rumours of a feud between her and host Daryl Somers. Over the years both have denied such rumours. In 1992, Drysdale returned to host an episode of Hey Hey It's Saturday in Somers' absence. She also returned for one of the reunion shows in 2009.
In the late 1990s Drysdale appeared in the reboot of IMT on the Nine Network.
In 2008, she released an album entitled What A Wonderful World. The album contains a remake of the single "Hey Paula". The new version features Mark Trevorrow.
On 7 October 2009 she made an appearance in the second of the Hey Hey It's Saturday reunion specials.
In 2010, Drysdale joined Network Ten's new morning show The Circle alongside Yumi Stynes, Chrissie Swan and Gorgi Coghlan as host. She remained on the show for two seasons, leaving at the end of the 2011 season. She reappeared as a special guest on the final episode in 2013.
In June 2018, Drysdale joined the cast of Neighbours as Nance Sluggett. She made her first appearance on 3 October 2018.
Awards and honours
In January 2008, Drysdale was awarded the 'Australia Day Citizen of the Year' award by Baw Baw Shire.
In 2018, Drysdale was honoured by Australia Post with her portrait featuring on a special collection of post stamps issued as part of "The Legends of Television" series.
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