One of Australia’s greatest and most loved comedians, ‘Roy Rene’ was born Harry van der Sluys (or Sluice) in Hindley Street, Adelaide. The comic adopted the stage name Roy Rene after a famous French clown.
As one of seven children, Rene displayed a passion for performing from a young age making his stage debut at the Theatre Royal in Hindley Street and later performed around Australia and New Zealand, eventually moving to Sydney where he joined the Vaudeville circuit.
Famous for his superb timing, gestures and distinctive make-up — a painted white face and black beard — Rene later became known as ‘Mo,’ teaming up with comedian Nat (‘Stiffy’) Phillips to become the ‘Stiffy and Mo’ comedy act.
Some of ‘Mo’s’ favourite catchphrases are still part of Australian vernacular. For example:
Strike Me Lucky
Don’t Come the Raw Prawn With Me
Fair Suck of the Sav
The Australian entertainment industry’s annual Mo Award, for excellence in live performance, is named after him.
Artist: Robert ‘Alfie’ Hannaford
Words courtesy of the Adelaide City Council
Image Helen Page