Maria Venuti has carved out a unique and fascinating career that she says will ‘go on forever’. She has played in major venues in Australia and internationally including the prestigious Hotel circuit throughout Asia, performing in Paris, Rome, Cairo and New York as well as entertaining our ‘boys’ from the Multinational Forces in the first Australian concert party to go to The Sinai Desert.
Singing is Maria’s first love, but her acting ability caught the eye of producers both on stage, television and feature films. ‘Big Mama’s Boy’ and ‘Bathing Franky’ are her current movies and now with her best seller autobiography memoir, ‘Maria Venuti.. A Whole Load of Front’, Venuti is now on the speaker circuit with her celebration of fifty successful years in showbiz and her inspirational life stories.
How does on begin to describe the dynamic, remarkable and passionate singer/actress and dedicated Charity Worker?
This Aussie showbiz icon was recently decorated as a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queens Birthday Honours List for her “services to the community as a fundraiser for Charitable Organisations, particularly those involved with medical research and as an entertainer”.
Venuti was surprised and honoured to be the subject of Channel 9’s ‘This Is Your Life’ – paying tribute to her outstanding and interesting career and her years of charitable works. From starting in television on Brian Henderson’s ‘Bandstand’, Graeme Kennedy’s ‘IMT’ then to the Don Lane Show, the Mike Walsh Show and hosting Variety Italian Style and many others.
Many well known stars paid homage to her incredible personality and talents. Rolf Harris declared Venuti a ‘true character and talent of Australia’, Barry Creyton and Noeline Brown called her a ‘National Treasure’, Bert Newton filmed a five minute tribute. Others include Mike Walsh, her mates from the cast of SBS’s top rated Logie (Australian Television Awards) nominated series ‘Pizza’ and other Australian icons.
Maria’s popular character is also featured in the box office success. In the movie ‘Fat Pizza’ she starred as Bobo’s Mama and the Pizza shop owner, which required her to be fierce, feisty, volatile, bossy, explosive and physically violent, i.e a very mean Mama.
Her critically acclaimed one woman cabaret shows, ‘Venuti Dates’ and ‘I’m still Standing’ are in demand. With her ability to encourage and pass on her knowledge to talented young performers, Venuti donates her time as a Consultant for the Talent Development Project. Her festive seasons are busy performing her unique ‘Mama Clause is Coming to Town’ Christmas Cabaret.
Maria thrives on “variety being the spice of life”. Some of her proudest moments have been:
Accepting the ‘Heart of Variety Award’ for her outstanding work with Variety the Children’s Charity
Being asked to be an Australia Day Ambassador, and now in her 19th year!
Honoured with numerous Entertainment Industry Awards.
Being a vibrant and colourful character, she “has been painted more often than the Sydney Harbour Bridge”! Twice a subject for the prestigious Archibald Prize by renowned artist Wynne Armstrong and Nafisa Naomi and most recently opened an exhibition of works by internationally acclaimed painter Eva Hannah featuring, to Maria’s surprise, a vivacious, rubenesque depiction of the Entertainer herself, titled ‘Maria and the Girls’.
After a lifetime in show business Maria finds herself as busy as ever, her passion and vitality has never waned, and with her dynamic personality she says: LIVE FOR TODAY AND LET LIFE SURPRISE ,E TOMORROW.