Performing Arts Collection
Fitzgibbon, Maggie
Fitzgibbon, Maggie

Biography

Maggie Fitzgibbon is an Australian actress and singer who established a successful career in the United Kingdom. She began her theatrical career in 1946, initially billed as Margaret Fitzgibbon, performing as a soprano and in principal boy roles in pantomimes for the Tivoli Circuit. By the early 1950s she was also working in radio and cabaret, before being cast as in the role of Bianca in J. C. Williamson's 1952 production of Kiss Me Kate.

In 1953 Maggie Fitzgibbon travelled to England where she again began performing in pantomimes and cabaret. Roles in musical theatre productions followed including the Australian-themed Kookaburra (1959), Rose Marie (1960), Do Re Mi (1961) with Max Bygraves, and The Boys from Syracuse (1963) opposite Ronnie Corbett. In 1963, Maggie also returned to Australia to star in Noel Coward's musical Sail Away.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Maggie Fitzgibbon performed in plays and musicals throughout the UK, as well as working extensively in television. She became a household name playing a central character in the long running BBC television series The Newcomers, and also had her own variety programme called Maggie's Place. She starred alongside Harry Secombe in the film Sunstruck which was shot in Australia in 1970. In the mid-1970s, Maggie Fitzgibbon performed in the London production of Side By Side By Sondheim, and toured to South Africa in A Little Night Music and to Canada in Cowardy Custard.

Maggie Fitzgibbon returned to live in Australia in 1979, undertaking only occasional performances such as Follies in Concert in 1993. For over 20 years she ran a cattle farm in regional Victoria and became involved in youth rehabilitation. In 2002 she was awarded an OAM for services to the community.

Collection Holdings

The 2011 acquisition complements material donated by Maggie Fitzgibbon to the Performing Arts Collection in 1997. This second donation includes additional paper-based and photographic material documenting her career both in Australia and the UK. Notable items include a scrapbook and series of telegrams recording to her early performances for the Tivoli Circuit of Australia in revues and pantomimes during the 1940s and 1950s, and a scrapbook relating to the musical "Sail Away".

Of particular significance is a series of cards and letters from Noel Coward, along with correspondence from composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, playwright Garson Kanin, composer Richard Rodgers, BBC Television executive Huw Wheldon, and actors Alec McCowen, Laurence Olivier and Gordon Chater.

Also included in the acquisition is small amount of material relating to Maggie's farm and community work, and to her mother, entertainer Minnie Fitzgibbon, and brother, jazz musician Graham 'Smacka' Fitzgibbon.

Correspondence, journals, news clippings, photographs, programmes, publicity, scrapbooks.

Musical 1950s - 1980s