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Legendary Performer Vonni Inducted into South Australian Pride Hall of Fame

A person stands, holding a plaque and framed certificate
Vonni poses with her Hall of Fame plaque and frame. Image: Samuel Graves

In a night filled with celebration and pride, Vonni was immortalised when she was inducted into the South Australian Pride Hall of Fame.


The event, held in the Ian and Pamela Wall Gallery at Her Majesty's Theatre, saw Deputy Premier Susan Close deliver a heartfelt speech that highlighted Vonni’s illustrious career and significant contributions to the LGBTQ+ community.


“Tonight, we gather here to honour a truly remarkable individual, a pioneer, an icon in the world of performance, and a beloved friend to many. We are here to induct none other than Vonni into the South Australian Pride Hall of Fame,” said Deputy Premier Close.


Vonni’s journey began on Adelaide’s vibrant stages in 1975, where she quickly became a beloved figure in the cabaret and burlesque scenes. By 1978, her talents were captivating audiences nationwide with the Melbourne touring show of Les Girls All Male Revue, bringing joy and entertainment across Australia and New Zealand.


Her star continued to rise, and in 1983, Vonni received an exclusive invitation to join Sammy Lee's Les Girls in Kings Cross, Sydney. “There, Vonni became the star that would light up the night with her unforgettable performances,” Close noted.


Deputy Premier Susan Close watches as Vonni delivers her acceptance speech from behind a lecturn at the SA Pride Gala
Icon and Trailblazer Vonni delivers her Hall of Fame acceptance speech. Image: Samuel Graves

Vonni's career further expanded when she appeared in Stephen Cummings' pop video in 1984, marking yet another milestone.


One of her most notable roles was as Lola in the Channel 9 TV mini-series "SHOUT," portraying the story of Johnny O'Keefe. Vonni captivated television audiences and continued to enrich the live entertainment scene, managing The Crazy Horse Revue for 17 years and co-writing extensively toured shows. Her role as Bernadette in 'Priscilla Queen of the Desert' epitomised her life's journey, celebrating the vibrant spectrum of humanity with every performance.


“But perhaps one of the most pivotal moments was her role as Lola in the Channel 9 TV mini-series SHOUT, portraying the story of Johnny O'Keefe. Vonni not only captivated television audiences but also continued to enrich the live entertainment scene, managing The Crazy Horse Revue for 17 years, and co-writing shows that toured extensively,” Close recounted.


Beyond the stage, Vonni has been a beacon of hope, an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, and a mentor to many aspiring artists. “Vonni’s influence extends beyond the stage. She has been a beacon of hope, an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, and a mentor to many aspiring artists. Her legacy is not just in the performances she gave but in the lives she touched, the barriers she broke, and the hearts she won,” said Close.


The evening culminated in a standing ovation as Vonni was welcomed into the Hall of Fame, recognising her extraordinary contributions to the world of entertainment and the LGBTQ+ community. “Please join me in welcoming the indomitable, the incomparable, the truly sensational Vonni into the Hall of Fame. Vonni, tonight we celebrate you, your extraordinary contributions, and the indelible mark you have left on the world of entertainment,” Close concluded.


Two people pose side by side each holding a plaque and frame.
Vonni and Stephen Leahy (husband of Ian Purcell AM) at the Hall of Fame ceremony. Image: Samuel Graves

Vonni was inducted alongside the 'godfather' of the Gay Community in South Australia, Ian Purcell AM.

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