Mary Hardy was an Australian television and radio presenter, actor and comedian. She was best known for her caustic wit, indifference to authority and tireless ability to ad lib.
Mary Veronica Hardy was born in Warrnambool and brought up in Bacchus Marsh. She was the youngest of eight children; her parents were Winifred Mary and Thomas John Hardy; the author Frank Hardy was her brother. Her professional acting career began in 1950, when she was noticed by J. C. Williamson, where she worked for several years in various productions. In 1957, as Peter in the J. C. Williamson production of Peter Pan, Mary first became known as a star, proving to be a huge success.
The following year, after her nomination for Actress of the Year for her role as Frankie in A Member of the Wedding, the recently formed Union Theatre Company offered Mary a permanent position joining actors such as Noel Ferrier, Frank Thring, Toni Lamond and Fred Parslow. She first appeared with UTC as the cabin boy Pip in Moby Dickâ€”Rehearsed.
The move from theatre to television came via the late night satirical revues she helped write. Initially these were at the Arlen Theatre in St. Kilda with, amongst others, Noel Tovey. Later she would perform at the Phillip Theatre in Sydney with Jill Perryman, Gordon Chater and Judi Farr. In 1964 Noel Ferrier asked Mary if she would return to Melbourne to join him on television in In Melbourne Tonight. At the same time she also began co-hosting a morning radio program on 3UZ which was to become the most popular afternoon radio program for five years.