Person - Nan Vernon

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NANCY MAY VERNON (1927 - 2005)

Of interest to ASIO, Nan Davies, born on 25 August 1927, came to Sydney from Newcastle. She played the lead in The Lion on the Square 1949, its cast including Keith Gow whom she married in 1950 at New Lambton. Nan performed in the revue Press the Point 1950, followed by We, the People 1950, The Good Hope 1950, How I Wonder 1951, Circling Dove 1951 (an audience member said she wore too much make up), Sky Without Birds 1952, and played Agnes (it was said the character didn’t work) in Moliere's School for Wives 1952.

In 1953 she co-directed Merry-Go-Round with her husband Keith, acted in Home Brew 1954, directed Rocket Range 1954 (winner of a Challenge drama contest), played the maid in Arms and the Man 1956, made costumes for TV or Not TV 1957, directed Our ‘Dear’ Relations 1963, performed in the revue Fission Chips 1959, was in the cast of All My Sons 1960, played Mum in The One Day of the Year 1964, acted in The World of Sholem Aleichem 1964, and was assistant director on Purlie Victorious 1964. Her last show at NT was Nuts 1991.

She also helped out in the office, organised Workshop and performed Contact street theatre, taught beginners acting, was Assistant Secretary 1958 and a delegate to the 1960 NT National Conference.

Nan worked as a shearers’ cook, window dresser and petrol station attendant at Rushcutters Bay and studied art at East Sydney Tech. She had a bit part in the 1959 film Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, her scene shot at Luna Park.

After splitting with Keith Gow she married Howard Vernon. In 1966 Nan and Howard Vernon were on tour with J C Williamson’s The Great Waltz, Howard performing, Nan backstage hairdressing. In 1982 she was well reviewed in Beckett’s Happy Days at the Australian Theatre Workshop in Canberra. In 1988 Howard and Nan Vernon were in Barry Dickins’ comedy Roy Boys about the Fitzroy football club, a Eureka production in Canberra.

Both Howard and Nan were described as ex vaudevillians. They moved to Melbourne when Nan began showing first signs of dementia.

ASIO described Nan Gow as a very attractive brunette, nicely proportioned with large expressive hazel eyes, friendly, witty, always cheerful, popular and tireless, a strong stage presence.



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