Description Two Frank Thrings de Peter Fitzpatrick:
They shared a name, of course, and their physical resemblance was startling. And both Frank Thrings were huge figures in the landscape of twentieth-century Australian theatre and film. But in many ways they could hardly have been more different. Frank Thring the father (1882-1936) began his career as a sideshow conjuror, and he wheeled, dealed and occasionally married his way into becoming the legendary F T impresario, speculator and owner of Efftee Films, Australia's first talkies studio. He built for himself an image of grand patriarchal respectability, a sizeable fortune, and all the makings of a dynasty. Frank Thring the son (19261994) squandered the fortune and derailed the dynasty in the course of creating his own persona a unique presence that could make most stages and foyers seem small. He won fame playing tyrants in togas in Hollywood blockbusters, then, suddenly, came home to Melbourne to play perhaps his finest role that of Frank Thring, actor and personality extraordinaire. Central to this role was that Frank the son was unapologetically and outrageously gay. Peter Fitzpatrick's compelling dual biography tells the story of two remarkable characters.
Peter Fitzpatrick is Honorary Professor of Performing Arts at Monash University, where he held a Personal Chair until 2007. His first venture into biography was entitled Pioneer Players: The Lives of Louis and Hilda Esson (1995), which was nominated for a Victorian Premiers Prize and four national awards. He has published two novels (the football whodunit tale Death in the Back Pocket, in collaboration with Barbara Wenzel, and Promontory), three non-fiction books and more than sixty articles on Australian theatre. He has written two major feature-film screenplays, Hotel Sorrento (for which he and director Richard Franklin won AFI Awards for Best Adapted Screenplay), and Brilliant Lies. In theatre, Peter is the author of the book for Anthony Costanzos musical Lifes a Circus (nominated for a Green Room Award for best new musical). He devised and wrote Flowerchildren: the Mamas and Papas Story, and directed more than thirty plays and musicals at Monash University, including five works by Stephen Sondheim and the world premiere seasons of Martin and Gina and The White Rose (Melbourne and Singapore). His other professional directing credits include Paris and Rent at Melbournes National Theatre.