Howson started his career as a newspaper cadet journalist before becoming a writer for Melbourne’s ATV0 in 1964, contributing to The Ray Taylor Show and co-writer and performer (as Clown) for The Magic Circle Club, and followed the latter when it moved to ABC and became Adventure Island.
He later became a regular presenter on The Mike Walsh Show, Midday With Ray Martin and Good Morning Australia – including 17 years as Hollywood correspondent. Howson has since returned to writing where he co-wrote stage hits Shout! and Dusty and is a presenter on radio station 3AW.
Lebanese-born Joe Hasham (pictured) rose to fame in Australia in the early 1970s as gay lawyer Don Finlayson in the controversial soap drama Number 96. The character of Finlayson was seen as ground-breaking for being the first openly gay character in a TV series, and was one of only three characters to survive the show’s entire six-year run.
Following the end of Number 96 in 1977, Hasham went on to appear in The Young Doctors and in the early 1980s hosted the variety series Cabaret on Channel 0/28 (now SBS). Hasham is now based in Malaysia.
This year’s honours list included a posthumous recognition for surgeon and cancer campaigner Prof Chris O’Brien who died only last week. Prof O’Brien was known to viewers through his appearances on the Nine Network medical series RPA.
Jonathon Welch, creator of the Choir of Hard Knocks which featured on ABC, journalist and former 60 Minutes reporter Ian Leslie and SBS chairwoman Carla Zampatti were also recognised in this year’s honours.