professional historians australia (south australia)
Home > On this day > February > 15 February 1892 Roy Rene

15 February 1892 Roy Rene

 15 February 1892   Roy Rene

Roy Rene, whose real name was Harry van de Sluys, or sometimes just Harry Sluice, was born on 15 February 1892 in Hindley Street, Adelaide, right opposite the Theatre Royal. He began performing at an early age, charging the local kids to come and watch his backyard circus. At eight years of age, without his parent's knowledge, he won a part as a duck in the pantomime 'Sinbad the Sailor'. For his enterprise he received a thrashing from his father and was put to work after school sweeping out the family cigar factory.

The van de Sluys moved to Melbourne where Harry, or 'Boy Roy', as he called himself, appeared on stage again as a boy soprano, until his voice broke when he took up comedy. Later in Sydney he broke into the vaudeville circuit and it was here that his famous act as the Jewish comedian began to evolve. With the demise of vaudeville Roy switched to radio where his show 'McCackie Mansions' held top ratings. He suffered from ill health for years and by 1952 was too ill to work. He died of heart disease on 22 November 1954.

Patricia Johnson, 'Roy Rene "Mo"',100 Famous Australian Lives,   Paul Hamlyn, Sydney, 1969, pp. 366-372.

Tags: Rene Roy