“Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport” singer and Australia’s former entertainment icon, Rolf Harris, has passed away at the age of 93, marking the end of a turbulent journey for the once-revered performer.
Rolf Harris, the once-celebrated entertainer whose career came crashing down after being found guilty of indecent assault, has passed away at the age of 93, according to a statement released by his family.
Harris, known for his television presence, music, and , died nearly two weeks ago on May 10, surrounded by loved ones at his home in Berkshire. The news of his death was only registered in the UK on Tuesday.
Harris, originally from Perth, Western Australia, rose to prominence as a star of British TV. His career reached its peak in the 1960s and 1970s when he hosted various shows, including “Rolf’s Cartoon Club,” “Animal Hospital,” and “The Rolf Harris Show.”
He also made waves in the music industry with his hit song “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport,” which topped charts in Australia and garnered international success.
However, in 2013, Harris’s life took a dark turn when he was prosecuted for indecent assault against girls and young women. Following a trial in 2014, he was convicted of 12 offenses committed between 1968 and 1986.
The court sentenced him to five years and nine months in prison, and he was released on parole in May 2017. Throughout the trial, Harris maintained his innocence, but the court upheld the evidence presented by four complainants and six supporting witnesses.
Harris’s reputation suffered a severe blow as a result of the trial, with the court stripping him of his honors and describing him as a “sinister pervert.”
Justice Nigel Sweeney, presiding over the case, scolded Harris for his lack of remorse, stating, “Your reputation lies in ruins, you have been stripped of your honors, but you have no one to blame but yourself.” At the age of 84, the judge decided that half of Harris’s sentence would be non-custodial.
Despite the tarnished reputation, Harris continued to perform concerts until his criminal trial began. The main complainant, a childhood friend of Harris’s daughter, testified that the abuse began when she was 13 years old during a family vacation in 1978.
The prosecution argued that Harris had used underage girls as “sexual objects” to be “groped and mauled,” while the defense claimed the relationship was consensual and started when she turned 18. The court ultimately found Harris guilty.
Throughout his career, Harris’s talent extended beyond entertainment. In 2005, he was commissioned to paint a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, and in 2006, he received the Commander of the British Empire title. The following year, he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia.
However, these accolades were overshadowed by the revelations of his criminal behavior.
Harris’s family statement confirmed that he had been receiving care for neck cancer, and his death was attributed to a combination of the illness and “fragility from old age.” The family has requested privacy and will not be making any further comments regarding his passing.
As news of Rolf Harris’s death emerges, it serves as a reminder of the dark underbelly that can exist beneath the charming façade of a beloved celebrity.
His downfall has left a lasting impact on the entertainment industry, and his victims continue to seek support and justice. Organizations such as 1800 Respect National Helpline, Sexual Assault Crisis Line Victoria, and Men’s Referral Service provide resources for those affected by sexual assault.