Biography

MARIA VENUTI AM…. is a vivacious personality - and one of great natural warmth and exuberance. Combined with a dynamic singing voice – these traits have made her career as a performer, actor and entertainer highly successful. As one of this country’s leading performers, Maria has played in every major cabaret venue around Australia, New Zealand, the Far East, Japan as well as entertaining our ‘boys’ in the Sinai Desert

How does one begin to describe this dynamic, remarkable and passionate singer and dedicated Charity Worker ?

This Aussie showbiz icon – was recently decorated as a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for her ‘services to the community as a fundraiser for Charitable Organizations, particularly those involved with medical research and as an entertainer”

Maria is still ‘over the moon’ at being the subject of Ch.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” – Graham Kennedy’s “IMT” – The Mike Walsh Show – Variety Italian Style etc. 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 – Mike Walsh and many others

SBS’s top rating, Logie (Australian Television Awards) nominated comedy series “PIZZA” is into it’s fifth series , and Maria’s popular character is also featured in the box office success of 2003 – the movie “Fat Pizza” – her role of Bobo’s Mama and Pizza shop owner – requires her to be fierce, feisty, volatile, bossy, explosive and physically violent – i.e. a very mean Mama – but of course a very loving Mama to her very successful daughter, who is working in London at Price Waterhouse Coopers – her catch cry being “where did I go right”!!!

Venuti ‘s acting ability has caught the eye of Producers both on Television , stage and feature films – her critically acclaimed one woman Jazz Cabaret ‘Venuti’s Dates’ – her ability to encourage and pass on her knowledge to talented young performers in the Talent Development Project – her busy festive seasons performing her unique “Mama Claus Christmas Cabaret” - Maria thrives on “Variety being the spice of life”

Some of her proudest moments – 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 10th year – being honoured with numerous Entertainment Industry Awards.

Venuti being a vibrant and colourful character… ‘has been painted more often than The Sydney Harbour Bridge’!!!! Twice a subject for the prestigious Archibald Prize….by renowned artists ..Wynne Armstrong and Nafisa Naomi and most recently, May 2005, opened an exhibition of works by internationally acclaimed painter, Eva Hannah, featuring, to Maria’s surprise, a vivacious, rubenesque depiction of the Entertainer herself…..named ‘Maria and The Girls’

After a lifetime in showbusiness – Maria finds herself as busy as ever – her passion and vitality has never waned, singing being her first love … and her dynamic personality says –

LIVE FOR TODAY

AND LET LIFE SURPRISE ME TOMORROW


Maria Venuti is a vivacious personality - and one of great natural warmth and exuberance. Combined with a dynamic singing voice, these traits have made her career as a performer, actor and entertainer highly successful. As one of the country's leading performers, Maria has played in every major cabaret venue around Australia, New Zealand and the Far East, as well as Japan and places as distant as the Sinai Desert.

Each year is a typically exciting, varied and non-stop year for Maria and again saw Venuti's star shining brighter than ever with her cabaret, television, stage and corporate appearances.

The Intercontinental Hotel, Sydney was the venue that secured her hosting and singing talents, to bring in the New Millennium, the Year 2000!

Maria has also completed another busy festive season performing her alter-ego, "Mama Claus" in her successful Christmas Cabaret Spectacular.

A new audience has emerged for Venuti when she starred in ARIA Award winning pop group CUSTARD's Video Clip which was a major hit throughout Australia's young music culture.

Maria recorded a Duet with Australian Rock Legends - Mental as Anything for the Timelines International Music Project to help raise money for charity. They chose the Dean Martin favourite "Memories are made of This".

1998 saw Venuti back on the theatrical stage to great critical acclaim playing a blonde "New York Jewish Neighbour from Hell" in the world premiere of Barry Creyton's new comedy Valentine's Day at the Marion Street Theatre.

Other highlights were appearances at the Australia Day Ball in Australia's 'Red Centre' where Maria fulfilled one of her ambitions to visit Uluru and Alice Springs, "An Australian Christmas" from Darling Harbour that was shown nationally on Channel 10; various Elle McFeast's Specials; Bert Newton's Good Morning Australia; and Stan Zemanek's Beauty and the Beast.

With a strong Italian heritage, it seems Venuti was born to play Maria, the wife of Opera Star, Tito, in the Broadway comedy Lend Me a Tenor which toured nationally in 1991 after an outstanding season at the Theatre Royal in Sydney.

Venuti threw the glamour away in 1996 and relished the role of the tyrannical Miss Hanigan in the musical Annie at the Hills Centre and will treasure forever the theatrical generosity of Jill Perryman sending Maria her "whistle" from the original production.

Her dramatic acting talent caught the eye of television producers and Maria appeared in feature roles in the award winning series A Country Practice and the ABC's GP.

Perhaps Maria's style can best be described by a Canberra Times review - "Maria Venuti provides a night of cabaret entertainment that is as hilariously entertaining as it is unpredictable."

This year will see the return of Maria's critically acclaimed one woman jazz cabaret, Venuti's Dates - as performed many times at the legendary Tilbury Hotel.

Venuti is thrilled to be currently featuring in Australia's newest TV comedy series - SBS' PIZZA which is keeping audiences in laughter every Monday night.

There's been much excitement with Maria's first, well-publicised, Archibald Prize entry by renowned Queensland artist Wynne Armstrong.

Her dynamic personality says 'live for today and let life surprise me tomorrow.'

Maria Venuti - The Total Entertainer

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