Jeanne Mitchell OAM (born 11 May 1938), professionally known as Jeannie Little, is a retired Gold Logie-award-winning Australian entertainer and TV personality. She was diagnosed with rapid-onset Alzheimer's Disease in 2009, and is now being cared for in a Sydney nursing home, where her late husband Barry Little (1929-2019) also resided.
Little in 2008
|Birth name||Jeanne Mitchell|
|Born||11 May 1938|
|Spouse||Barry Little (1971- his death 2019)|
Little was born in Sydney, Australia. She made her television debut on Network Ten's The Mike Walsh Show in September 1974. Invited on as a guest showcasing designer maternity clothes, Little quickly became a regular, eventually (after a stint at Channel Seven) moving with the Walsh Show to Channel Nine. The Seven Network had attempted two short-lived shows featuring Little's unique talents: Jeanne's Little Show (a variety/chat series) and Cuckoo in the Nest, a situation comedy in which she played a wacky Auntie Mame-type character. As part of The Mike Walsh Show team again, Little wowed and won audiences for the next 15 years.
She was a guest on the Midday with Ray Martin and her appearance on the BBC's Michael Parkinson variety show so startled London critics she had the London Evening News saying: "What a woman! With her in the house you wouldn't want a TV." Among the overseas guests she has appeared with are US actor/comedians Phyllis Diller and George Burns, and British theatre actor Danny La Rue.
In 1976 Little won a Gold Logie for most popular television personality, and subsequently won two other Logies for her work on the Mike Walsh Show. She performed at the Royal Command Bicentennial Concert before the Prince and Princess of Wales. Her stage career took off with Jerry's Girls, in which American director John Frost teamed Little with well known entertainers Marcia Hines, Debra Byrne and Judi Connelli. She then subsequently appeared in Legends with Kerrie Biddell, Toni Lamond, and Nancye Hayes at the Sydney Opera House.
Marlene, Little's one woman tribute to actress and singer Marlene Dietrich, toured Australia and the US to critical acclaim, followed by More of a Little, which was filled with songs, chat, and anecdotes.
In the late 1990s, through to the mid-2000s, Little appeared on the panel discussion show Beauty and the Beast.
In February 2011, it was announced Little was suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, which was initially diagnosed in 2009. In August 2014, family members advised that Little's illness had advanced to the stage that she "no longer knows where she is or what’s going on around her".
Little married interior decorator Barry Little in 1971. Their daughter, Katie Little Poulton, runs her own graphic arts studio One of a Kind with her husband Tim, and is patron of the Jeanne Little Alzheimer's Research Fund, which has been set up in her mother's honour to raise funds for ongoing research into the disease. Katie has written a memoir about her mother titled Catch a Falling Star.
In 2001 Little was awarded the Centenary Medal for service to the community. In the same year she received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
- "Jeanne Little's daughter creates Alzheimer's fund". ABC news. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 8 February 2011. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
- "Jeanne Little no longer knows where she is or what's happening around her". 9 news. Nine Digital. 25 August 2014. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
- Williams, Glen (28 April 2008). "Jeanne's TV Week Logies frocks rock!". Woman's Day. ACP Magazines. Archived from the original on 3 May 2008. Retrieved 5 February 2009.What did winning a Gold Logie in 1976 mean to you? Well daaahling, I was in total shock. Absolute shock, I thought, "What me? Winning a Gold Logie? For Heaven's sake this is ridiculous, there's been a mistake."
- Jeannie Little's Battle Retrieved 6 February 2011.
- Knox, David (26 August 2014). "Jeanne Little's family says her condition has deteriorated". TV Tonight. TV Tonight. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
- O'Brien, Siobhan (2006). Hello Darling! the Jeanne Little story. Sydney, NSW: Allen & Unwin. p. 102. ISBN 978-1-74114-802-2.
- "Australian Honours 2001". Australian Government. Retrieved 3 June 2008.
- "Australia Day 2001 Honours". Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. Special (National : 1977 - 2012). 26 January 2001. p. 1. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
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