TV legend Jeanne Little in class of own

·3-min read

Colourful daytime TV personality Jeanne Little thought it was a mistake when she took home the Gold Logie in 1977. It was no mistake.

Little was in a class of her own in her prime, to the point where she was a massive hit when she appeared as a special guest on Michael Parkinson's variety show in England.

The critic for the London Evening News wrote: "What a woman! With her in the house you wouldn't want a TV."

Jeanne Little was born Jeanne Mitchell in Sydney on May 11, 1938. She died aged 82, her daughter Katie confirmed on Saturday night.

"My mother has left the earthly plane," she posted on Facebook.

"This is a huge shock - but I'm so grateful.

"Love you all my friends."

Little made her TV debut in 1974, appearing on the high-rating daytime program The Mike Walsh Show, which was then airing on Network Ten.

Her trademark was flamboyant outfits, an over-the-top personality and her drawling speech which included greeting everyone as "daaahling".

Three years after making her first appearance on television, Little won the Gold Logie for Most Popular (Female) Australian entertainer and TV personality.

In what was one of her last interviews, just before the 2008 Logie awards, she recalled her thoughts to a TV Week reporter who asked what it meant to win the Gold Logie.

"Well daaahling, I was in total shock. Absolute shock, I thought, "What me? Winning a Gold Logie? For heaven's sake this is ridiculous, there's been a mistake."

At the height of her TV career, Little even released a single titled after her famous catchcry, "Dahling, Are You Paying Attention?".

Besides being a hit with viewers Little also excelled on stage.

She appeared in Jerry's Girls alongside Marcia Hines, Debra Byrne and Judi Connelli worked with Kerrie Biddell, Toni Lamond and Nancye Hayes at the Sydney Opera House on Legends.

Little toured for years with her one-woman tribute show to Marlene Dietrich, called Marlene.

Little's TV career started to wind down in the 1990s, but she remained a regular panellist on discussion show Beauty And The Beast until the mid-2000s.

In 2009 she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. The following year she told New Idea magazine: "My memory isn't what it used to be."

She added: "I've got a voice that's been peeling paint and cracking plaster for way too many years. It's been a wonderful run, every moment has been a dream and a scream; I've had an absolute ball. But, honestly, I don't want to be one of those tired old stars who never knows when to bow out gracefully."

Soon afterwards her condition deteriorated to the point where her husband Barry was forced to place the "love of his life" in a nursing home.

"I tried looking after her but soon I couldn't cope anymore," Mr Little told 9 Stories in 2014.