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[Top] Pat Gregory and husband Hal Downey, 1951. Australian Women's Weekly, Sat 5 May 1951. [Beneath] On reverse: 'Miss Television from the number Cavalcade of Show Business featuring Pat Gregory ', 1957 - Holiday On Ice Skating Program. The program features 22 numbers including Jolly Jokers, Festival of Bacchus, It Happened In Haiti, Geronimo!, The Fleet's In (Again), The Nutcracker, Holiday In The Alps, Swing Street and Cavalcade of Show Business. Stars include Bobby Blake, The Percelly Family, Tommy Collins and Kay Servatius. Produced by George and Ruth Tyson.


CAREER SUMMARY

Birth
abt 1929
Sydney Australia

International contributions
Holiday On Ice (Chicago), London: Holiday On Ice (Winter Wonderland), Dick Whittington On Ice, Rose Marie On Ice, Ice Cascades, BBC TV.

Australian contributions
Ice Follie, Hot Ice, Rose Marie On Ice, Ectasy On Ice, Frosty Follies, Ice Follies, Ice Follies of 1962, Pat Gregory's Ice Follies, Robin Hood


NISA Gold Medallist 1947

BORN IN SYDNEY AUSTRALIAon the 5th of July, perhaps in 1929, her first coach was Mireyless Reid, daughter of H Newman Reid. Others included Cubby Lyons, Felix Kaspar, Percy Wilson, Jacques Gerschwiler OBE and Gustav Lussi, three of whom were inducted to the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame. She started skating at the age of 10 on her doctor's recommendation, one Saturday morning in Sydney at the end of 1939. She won her first competition after only four months, the 'Chandler Cup for Novice Girls 14 years-and-under. She quickly progressed to skating instructor at Sydney Glaciarium from the age of 15, earning her Bronze, Silver and Gold medals there. When in 1947 she was awarded her international Gold medal for figure and free skating, she joined the illustrious company of the few skater's with a NISA Gold Medal, such as ice hockey's Jimmy Brown. It was the most demanding benchmark of skating proficiency in the world.

The end-of-year carnivals in Melbourne and Sydney were the biggest skating events in Australia during the 1940s. She starred in both cities in 1947 and 1948, then went to London to ‘try her luck’ in show skating. There she was selected for an International Ice Carnival; an Earls Court Rangers vs. Switzerland hockey match; and skating exhibitions with British Champion, Celia Colledge, and Swedish Champion, Marg Britton. She did seven ice shows and became the first Australian skater on live BBC TV in the few years until her brief return in 1951. She has said: "From the moment I went out on to the ice in England, someone told some-one who told somebody else and I was offered first solo spots, then good billing and finally top billing above the title!"

She was invited to perform in an exhibition tour of the English Ice Hockey Circuit: Wembley Arena, Empress Hall (Earl's Court), Harringay Arena, Streatham Ice Arena, Sports Stadium Brighton and Nottingham Ice Stadium; the first and only Australian to be invited to do the whole circuit. She signed a two-year contract with Tom Arnold, Europe’s biggest ice show producer, and became the first Australian skater to sign a Solo Principal contract with a major ice show anywhere. She began her first tour in the mid-1940s with Ice Cascades, which had been playing at Stoll Theatre in London for over a year. It was a truly international show, comprised mostly of Americans, including some all-time greats, several European skaters and an English Ballet. She was the only female soloist, taking the place of a top US skater who had returned to New York. The tour visited the main UK cities and successfully ran for over one year.

In 1950, she was second female lead to the 1948 Olympic Champion, Barbara Ann Scott, in the huge production of ‘Rose Marie on Ice’ at Harringay Arena. She was hailed as the “finest actress in the country”, and as ”Australia’s Wondergirl on the Ice”. At the age of 21 she played the principal boy in "Dick Whittington on Ice" at Wembley, London in 1950-1. Back in Australia she performed in a long line of ice shows including Armand Perren's Ice Follie in late-1952 at the Tivoli, Sydney, through to Robin Hood at the same theatre a decade later. In 1956, she was offered a 4-year contract to perform in the American ice show Holiday on Ice touring the USA and Europe. She was the first Australian skater to be invited to the USA on a Principal Contract by any of the big three; Holiday, Capades or Follies. The American press referred to her as “Australia’s Sonja Henie”, “Australia’s Ambassadoress of charm” and “that pert Aussie redhead.”

From 1972, she presented ice shows all around Australasia on her portable rink until she retired in 1980 at the age of 51. She was honoured on ‘This is Your Life’, filmed for the first time anywhere in the world on ice. "It was a marvellous farewell ... 1980 was a very good year ... When I was 19, I gave myself till 28. But when I was 28 I was in Chicago, in the biggest all-star show in the United States (Holiday On Ice). Then I decided to retire when Hal, who is out front every night, felt I wasn't looking good." She applied for amateur status to judge competitions and coach promising youngsters: "Now, after 31 years in show business, it is my turn to give something back to the profession which has given me such marvellous opportunities."

She was the consummate professional, but perhaps it was Bunty Turner of The Weekly who summed it up best: "Elvis Presley toasted her in champagne. She was photographed with three young kids called the Bee Gees. Royalty and cabinet ministers and movie stars once called backstage to offer congratulations". In December 1997, she was nominated as one of 65 leading Australian sports people for the Sports Australia Hall of Fame. She was one of 22 inaugural inductees to Ice Skating Australia's Hall of Fame in August 2004. She still lives in Sydney in regular contact with her extraordinary network of international colleagues.

01. Ice Show Contributions

Australian contributions:
Robin Hood, Tivoli Theatre (1932-1966), Sydney, NSW, 27 December 1965
Pat Gregory's Ice Follies, Her Majesty's Theatre, Sydney, NSW, 24 Jan 1964

Ice Follies of 1962, Tivoli Theatre (1932-1966), Sydney, NSW, 26 December 1962
Ice Follies of 1962, Theatre Royal, Adelaide, SA, 22 February 1962
Ice Follies, Tivoli Theatre (1932-1966), Sydney, NSW, 26 December 1961
Frosty Follies, Tivoli Theatre, Melbourne, VIC, 13 September 1961
Ecstasy on Ice, His Majesty's Theatre, Perth, WA, 8 July 1960
Ecstasy on Ice, Theatre Royal, Adelaide, SA, 27 May 1960
Ecstasy on Ice, Tivoli Theatre (1932-1966), Sydney, NSW, 17 February 1960
Ecstacy on Ice, Her Majesty's Theatre, Brisbane, QLD, 1960
Ecstasy on Ice, Tivoli Theatre, Melbourne, VIC, 9 December 1959
Rose Marie on Ice, Capitol Theatre, Perth, WA, 9 December 1955
Rose Marie on Ice, Kalgoorlie, Kalgoorlie, WA, 29 November 1955
Puss in Boots on Ice, His Majesty's Theatre, Auckland, New Zealand, 9 April 1955
Puss in Boots on Ice, Empire Theatre, Sydney, NSW, 27 December 1954
Rose Marie on Ice, Empire Theatre, Sydney, NSW, 27 December 1954
Rose Marie on Ice, Theatre Royal, Adelaide, SA, 22 October 1954
Rose Marie on Ice, Her Majesty's Theatre, Melbourne, VIC, 20 August 1954
Hot Ice, Her Majesty's Theatre, Melbourne, VIC, 12 June 1954
Hot Ice, Empire Theatre, Sydney, NSW, 29 January 1954
Hot Ice, Theatre Royal, Adelaide, SA, 14 November 1953
Hot Ice, His Majesty's Theatre, Brisbane, QLD, 24 September 1953
Ice Follie, Tivoli Theatre (1932-1966), Sydney, NSW, 26 December 1952

International Contributions:
Ice Cascades, Stoll Theatre, London, touring UK, mid-1940s
Rose Marie On Ice, Harringay Arena, London, c 1950
Dick Whittington On Ice, Empire Pool, Wembley, 1950–1
Holiday On Ice (Winter Wonderland), Empire Pool, Wembley, 26 December 1957

Holiday On Ice (1943-1980), Chicago, touring America and Europe, 1956–6 Happy Holiday, Casa Carioca Ice Revue,

02. Historical Notes

[1] Alison "Cubby" Lyons died on March 24th, 2000 at age 90. She was the 1936 Australian Pair Skating Champion with Ron Chambers. She may have represented Australia in the 1940 Olympics if war had not intervened. She was a renowned and highly respected coach who trained many champions including Gloria Pracey, Gretchen Doolan, Trevor Bussey, Jackie Kendall-Baker, Mervin Bower, Wendy Langton and Don McKnight.

02. Citation Details

Ross Carpenter, 'Argue, Patricia Dawn (abt 1929 - )', Legends of Australian Ice, Melbourne, Australia, http://icelegendsaustralia.com/legends-2/bio-gregory.html, accessed online .

03. Select Bibliography

04. Citations
Citations | 1 - 280 | 281-on |
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Ice Cascades' program cover

Mid-1940s (Ron Blakely Archive)

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Professional Instructor

1947 Glaci ad

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With Hazel Edwards

Do's and Dont's demonstrated by Pat Gregory and Hazel Edwards

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London debut

1949

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Rose Marie on Ice

Program cover, c1950

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Rose Marie on Ice

Half program centrefold, Pat Gregory as Wanda, 1950

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Rose Marie on Ice

London production of Rose Marie on Ice article, Australian Women's Weekly, 1950

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Rose Marie on Ice

Pat Gregory as Wanda at Harringay Arena.

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Dick Whittington on Ice.

London production

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Dick Whittington On Ice

Morroccan Scene, London, 1950. Image courtesy Julie Lansdown, Bristol, UK.

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Dick Whittington on Ice.

1950. Image courtesy Julie Lansdown, Bristol, UK.

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Rose Marie on Ice

Adelaide, 1954

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Dick Whittington On Ice

Poster, 1950-1

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Dick Whittington On Ice

Program, 1950-1. Image courtesy Julie Lansdown, Bristol, UK.

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Pat Gregory's wardrobe

Australian Women's Weekly, 1951

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150-pound a Week Skating Star

Australian Women's Weekly, 1951

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Ice Follie Ad

Sydney, 1952

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Ice Follie

Sydney, 1953

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Ice Follie

Sydney, 1953

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Hot Ice

Adelaide, 1953

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Holiday On Ice (USA)

Program cover, 1957

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Holiday On Ice (USA)

1957 [from a studio photo]

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Holiday On Ice (USA)

1957 [from a studio photo]

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Holiday On Ice (USA)

"Pat Gregory with Bobby Blake, 1957. On back: 'Holiday on Ice's rythm pair Bobby Blake + Pat Gregory in a number called It Happened in Haiti

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Holiday On Ice (USA)

1957. On back: 'Scene from the number It Happened in Haiti starring Pat Gregory + Bobby Blake'

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Winter Wonderland (Britain)

Winter Wonderland program, Empire Pool Wembley, Opened Boxing Day 1957

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Winter Wonderland (Britain)

Winter Wonderland program, Empire Pool Wembley, Opened Boxing Day 1957

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Winter Wonderland (Britain)

Winter Wonderland program, Empire Pool Wembley, Opened Boxing Day 1957

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Winter Wonderland (Britain)

Winter Wonderland program, Empire Pool Wembley, Opened Boxing Day 1957

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Winter Wonderland (Britain)

Winter Wonderland program, Empire Pool Wembley, Opened Boxing Day 1957

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Winter Wonderland (Britain)

Winter Wonderland program, Empire Pool Wembley, Opened Boxing Day 1957

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Winter Wonderland (Britain)

Winter Wonderland program, Empire Pool Wembley, Opened Boxing Day 1957

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Winter Wonderland (Britain)

Winter Wonderland program, Empire Pool Wembley, Opened Boxing Day 1957

G A L L E R YArrows at right scroll the images
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Chicago Life + Chicago Daily News

22 Oct 1960. The caption read: Pat learned to skate in the frigid northland of her native Canada, where she says 'you either learn to skate or freeze to death'. In fact, Pat Gregory learned to skate at Sydney Glaciarium in Australia from the age of 10.

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Ecstasy On Ice

1959-60

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Ice Follies of 1962

1962

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Pat Gregory Interview

1972

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Pat Gregory's Ice Follies

Her Majesty's Theatre, Sydney, 1964. Photo by McPhedran, Don, Australian Photographic Agency.

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Pat Gregory's Ice Follies

Her Majesty's Theatre, Sydney, 1964. Photo by McPhedran, Don, Australian Photographic Agency.

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Pat Gregory's Ice Follies

Her Majesty's Theatre, Sydney, 1964. Photo by McPhedran, Don, Australian Photographic Agency.

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Pat Gregory's Ice Follies

Her Majesty's Theatre, Sydney, 1964. Photo by McPhedran, Don, Australian Photographic Agency.

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Pat Gregory's Ice Follies

Her Majesty's Theatre, Sydney, 1964. Photo by McPhedran, Don, Australian Photographic Agency.

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Pat Gregory's Ice Follies

Her Majesty's Theatre, Sydney, 1964. Photo by McPhedran, Don, Australian Photographic Agency.

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Pat Gregory's Ice Follies

Her Majesty's Theatre, Sydney, 1964. Photo by McPhedran, Don, Australian Photographic Agency.

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Pat Gregory's Ice Follies

Her Majesty's Theatre, Sydney, 1964. Photo by McPhedran, Don, Australian Photographic Agency.

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Pat Gregory's Ice Follies

Her Majesty's Theatre, Sydney, 1964. Photo by McPhedran, Don, Australian Photographic Agency.

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Pat Gregory's Ice Follies

Her Majesty's Theatre, Sydney, 1964. Photo by McPhedran, Don, Australian Photographic Agency.