I was very sorry to learn that Joy Hruby, a veteran of the Australian entertainment industry, has died at the age of 89.
Joy was born in Dubbo and during the Second World War she was part of an all-girl singing troupe which entertained the troops from the local army camp. Those wartime experiences would form the basis of a hit novel called The Dubbo Dazzlers which she wrote in 2003.
After the war, Joy went on to train as an actress with the Whitehall Academy of Dramatic Art, and also studied at the Hector Crawford School of Radio. She soon found herself touring Australia after being signed up by the legendary J.C. Williamson company, although her career was temporarily put on hold after she fell for the Czechoslovakian born pianist Denny Hruby, the pair would marry and would enjoy many happy years of marriage until his death.
Joy enjoyed an extensive stage career. In 1973 she won the Theatre Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Half in Earnest, toured with A Little Night Music, and appeared in other sell out productions including The Lady’s Not for Burning, and The Crucible. She became a familiar face to television viewers appearing in programmes including Certain Women, Patrol Boat, Waterloo Station, The Restless Years, Bellamy, Sons & Daughters, A Country Practice, Possession, A Fortunate Life, The Two Ronnies in Australia, The Outsiders, the telemovie No Room to Run, Brides of Christ, GP, Above the Law, All Saints, and Home & Away. On the big screen she appeared in movies including Caddie, Love Letters from Teralba Road, Winter of our Dreams, Kitty and the Bagman, and Rough Diamonds.
In 1969, Joy founded the theatrical agency Studio J and would launch the careers of many young actors. After selling the company she would eventually be persuaded to return to the agency business setting up a new company called Joy’s Creative Management.
Joy produced and appeared in over 1000 programmes for community television. She joined CTV1 in 1987 where she produced and presented hit shows including The Sunday Joyride, The Agatha Ramsbottom Show, Around the World on Saturday Night, and Around the World with Joy. After CTV1 hit the skids Joy took her show to Channel 31 and eventually to TVS (Television Sydney) where Joy’s World became essential viewing. After TVS lost its broadcast licence, Joy took the programme across to YouTube and found a new wave of fans around the world.
It would be impossible to list all of her achievements here but she wrote, produced and directed countless productions for the Sydney Children’s Theatre including the acclaimed A School is Born. She worked extensively as an eisteddfod adjudicator, ran the Festival of Australian Poetry for many years, taught speech and drama at schools and colleges, ran a drama group for pensioners and produced an entry regularly for the Tropfest short film competition – she was always the oldest entrant. She had great faith and loved attending her local church, in fact she even played the organ at one time for the Aboriginal Church in La Perouse.
Joy Hruby was a remarkable lady; she did so much, for so many people. She launched so many careers, and was quite rightly awarded the Order of Australia in 2007. It was my privilege to have known Joy and to have worked with her at CTV1 and at Joy’s Creative Management. She will be greatly missed. She is survived by her children Frank, Janette and Anna, she was extremely proud of all of them.