EXPIRED: 10/22/09 – Don Lane, 75, a talk show host and singer who, throughout his career, worked alongside such greats as Johnny Carson, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Wayne Newton. He eventually becoming a legend in his own right – although not in the USA. Don Lane was HUGE in Australia.
A natural celebrity, Lane’s career included some tabloid-worthy headlines. In 1968 he was charged with importing marijuana into Australia. He claimed the drugs were planted in his jacket pocket by a former business associate who wanted revenge. Lane was found not guilty.
As the host of the The Don Lane Show, Lane was ready for anything. Celebrities, including Robin Williams, Billy Connolly, Dame Edna, Tony Curtis, Peter Sellers and Kiss all appeared on The Don Lane Show, which became must-see late night entertainment between 1975 and 1983.
During an episode of The Don Lane Show discussing psychic and paranormal themes, Lane told skeptic and debunker James Randi “we’re going for a commercial break and you can piss off.” He followed this by storming off set and sweeping props off a table, forcing a national and personal apology for his behavior.
In 1988, after years of brewing resentment, Lane punched rival talk-show host Ernie Sigley at an awards show.
These stunts left their mark on the panel of judges at the Logie Awards; in 2003, Lane was inducted into the Australian TV Week Logie Awards Hall of Fame. Well, that and the fact that The Don Lane Show remains the highest rated variety program in Australian television history.
Celebrities, including Robin Williams, Billy Connolly, Dame Edna, Tony Curtis, Peter Sellers and Kiss all appeared on The Don Lane Show, which became must-see late night entertainment between 1975 and 1983.
He passed from alzheimer’s and will be missed — especially in Australia.