WHO WAS THE BOY FROM OZ?
Peter Allen was born Peter Woolnough in 1944 in the country NSW town of Tenterfield, where his grandfather, George, was the local saddler — a fact immortalised in one of his most famous ballads.
Moving to nearby Armidale with his family, the talented boy found confidence in music, a refuge from his alcoholic father, who
took his own life. He would change his name when paired with another singer, Chris, the duo performing as the Allen Brothers.
Discovered by Judy Garland when on tour in Hong Kong, the showbiz icon took Allen under her wing, managing his international career as a singer and songwriter for big-name musical stars including Patti Labelle, Melissa Manchester and Olivia Newton-John.
She also introduced him to her daughter, Liza Minnelli, who he married in 1967. They divorced in 1974 and Allen later came out as gay. His long-term partner, Greg Connell, a Texan fashion model who worked with Allen as a sound and light designer for his shows, died of an AIDS-related illness in 1984.
Allen succumbed to the disease in 1992, leaving a legacy of hits including I Still Call Australia Home, I
Honestly Love You and I Go To Rio. His life story was turned into a hit stage musical, The Boy From Oz.