/ Word for Word / Arts / The Two Frank Thrings – Author Peter Fitzpatrick

 

The Two Frank ThringsThey 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 (1926–1994) 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 “The Two Frank Thrings” tells the story of two remarkable characters. It’s a kind of detective story, following the lives of two men who did all they could to cover their tracks, and to conceal ‘the self’: Frank the father used secrecy and sleight-of-hand as strategies for self-protection; Frank the son masked a thoroughly reclusive personality with flamboyant self-parody. It’s also the tale of a lost relationship — and of the power a father may have had, even over a son who hardly knew him.

Winner of the National Biography Award In 2013, “The Two Frank Thrings” has just been re-released in paperback by Monash University Publishing.  To mark the occasion, Dean Beck is joined by author Peter Fitzpatrick.

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About the author: Dean

 

Producer. Broadcaster. Community Advocate. ENUF Ambassador.
Dean Beck has over 5 years experience as a broadcaster and radio producer. Dean is the founder and original presenter of community radio’s most popular show about sex, sexuality and self, Hide And Seek. He presents the nationally syndicated interview program Word For Word, heard each week on JOY 94.9 and across the Community Radio Network. He also presents a weekly news and current affairs program, On The Line. A tireless advocate for people living with HIV and ENUF Ambassador, Dean coordinated and hosted JOY 94.9’s groundbreaking radio and video web streaming broadcast, World AIDS Day Worldwide, a global 24 hour conversation held on December 1 2013, World AIDS Day. In 2013 JOY 94.9 presented Dean with the Addam Stobbs Broadcast Excellence Award and Living Positive Victoria presented him with their coveted Community Endeavour Award. Dean's work in promoting gay men’s health saw Hide And Seek receive the HIV Awareness Media Award from Living Positive Victoria in 2013.

 

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