Lew Pryme Profile

Graham Reid
Published: 20 May 2013
Updated: 13 Jun 2018

It’s a measure of the popularity of singer Lew Pryme in the mid 1960s that he should appear in the John O’Shea directed music/comedy movie Don’t Let It Get You alongside Howard Morrison, the young Kiri Te Kanawa, the Quin Tikis, Herma Keil and then-hot Australian singer Normie Rowe.

Pryme – with his chiselled looks, wide smile and bleached-silver hair swished back – was every inch a teen heartthrob. But he was also someone with secret life, a gay man in a ruthless heterosexual culture. Yet after his short pop career – all over by 1970 – Pryme successfully turned his hand to management. Tina Cross, Rob Guest and Mark Williams were among many on his roster, and in the early 1980s he became the much respected executive director of an organisation hardly known for its acceptance of gay men: the Auckland Rugby Union.

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The late Lew Pryme on an unknown TV show
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A Fullers publicity shot of Lew Pryme
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Lew Pryme - Gracious Lady (1968)
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Watch Lew Pryme's scene in Don't Let It Get You, 1966
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Lew Pryme signing a contract in November 1964 with promoter Bruce Warwick
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Gracious Lady
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Watch the 1990 documentary about Lew Pryme, Welcome To My World
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Lew Pryme (right) and broadcaster Pete Sinclair flank Wellington promoter Ken Cooper, c. 1965. 
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Lew Pryme covers The Heartbreakers in the 8 O'Clock, November 1975
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NZ Herald, 14 May, 1965
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Lew Pryme meeting royalty in 1970. Behind him are The Hi-Revving Tongues.
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Lew Pryme's 1969 single 'The Feat of Fantastic Fergie' celebrated the abilities of Fergie McCormick, a late 1960s All Black with a reliable boot. It was a parody written to the tune of ‘Sink the Bismarck’.
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Lew Pryme lounging in a mid-1960s Octagon Records publicity shot
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Lew in 1966
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An extraordinary meeting of 60s pop talent. Taken in 1966 on the Tom Jones tour (promoted by Phil Warren):(front) Lew Pryme, Larry Morris, (rear) Ray Columbus and Tom Jones.
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Lew Pryme backed by The Soundells at The Downtown Club, Wellington, circa 1966
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At the Pines, Wellington, early 1960s. From left: Slim Dorward, Garth Young, Bernie Gamet (a resident singer at the Pines), Bruce Warwick and Hymie Levin. In front, Lew Pryme, Rochelle Vinsen, Craig Bauld. The occasion was a celebration for the Dobbs Wiggins advertising company; Vinsen and Pryme had worked on an Apple and Pear Marketing Board campaign. 
Photo credit: Don Peat
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Tina Cross with Rob Guest (at left) and manager Lew Pryme at the 1978 NEOA awards - Cross was given the "rising star award". 
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Trivia:

Lew Pryme had a deep love of rugby, playing fourth grade for University. His sexuality was largely unknown at the Auckland Rugby Union although he complained in the 1960s of repeated 'late tackles'.

Lew Pryme was co-owner of Backstage, one of Auckland's first gay nightclubs, in the basement of what is now the Q Theatre in Queen Street.

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Labels:

Octagon


Pye


Impact


Festival

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