RENE, ROY


RENE, ROY (known by his stage name, "Mo"; 1891–1954), Australian comedian. Born Henry Vande Sluice in Adelaide, South Australia, the son of a Dutch-born Jewish cigar maker, Rene (the name he adopted from about 1910) became one of the best-known Australian comedians of his day. He originally worked as part of a vaudeville duo, "Stiffy and Mo," which toured the Australian theatrical circuit from about 1916 until 1933. Universally known as Mo, he continued on the stage alone thereafter and became a star on Australian radio in the 1940s and early 1950s in a famous series, MacCackie Mansions. He also starred in a film, Strike Me Lucky (1934).

Probably the most popular Australian comedian of his time, Mo spoke in an exaggerated "Jewish" lisp and was famous for his risqué material which often sailed close to the wind of Australia's strict laws. Many visiting celebrities, including Jack *Benny, said that he was among the best comedians they had ever seen, and urged Mo to try his luck in Hollywood, but he never left Australia. In private life, plagued by ill health, he was often a sad figure. He wrote an autobiography, Mo's Memoirs (1945).

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

F.H. Parsons, A Man Called Mo (1973); ADB, 11, 360–61.

[William D. Rubinstein (2nd ed.)]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.