HE was due to appear at the Orange Civic Theatre on April 15, but British-born rocker and musical theatre legend Jon English died at the age of 66 after suffering complications while undergoing surgery on Wednesday.
English migrated to Australia with his parents at the age of 12 and rose to fame in the early ‘70s after starring in Harry M Miller’s first production of Jesus Christ Superstar.
He released dozens of chart-topping singles in the ‘70s and ‘80s including Words Are Not Enough, Handbags and Gladrags, Turn the Page and Hollywood Seven.
His 1979 song Six Ribbons topped the charts in Europe and he received a Logie Award for best new talent for his acting in the series Against the Wind.
In 1980 a very young Peter Young remembers English arriving by helicopter at his primary school, Castle Hill Public School, but it was many years later that he would get to speak to him.
“He turned up at the fete in the helicopter, which was crazy because he only lived just up the road, but they wanted to do something big,” he said.
“I finally got to meet him at the CAT awards in Canberra in 2009 and several other times since then.”
Mr Young said English was an energetic performer who loved theatre of all kinds.
“He was still gigging and appearing in musical theatre, he was a tremendous supporter of amateur theatre,” he said.
Orange Civic Theatre manager Michelle Pearce said English had regularly toured regional venues.
“One sign of his popularity was that around 350 people had already booked for his planned show at the Civic Theatre on 15 April,” she said.
“The theatre received the sad news from his family that the Orange show, part of a national tour won’t be going ahead. In due course, people who’ve booked tickets should contact the theatre for a full refund.”