Obituary: Ronne Arnold

Ronne Arnold, dancer, choreographer and actor, has died in Sydney.

Born in the US in the late 1930s (“it could be 1938 or 1939,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald in 2013), he came to Australia in 1960 to star in the stage production of West Side Story. What began as an intended six-month stay in Australia soon extended to years as he picked up further performing work and created his own dance company. But it was not without its challenges. “When I first came to Australia, I ran into a fair bit of trouble,” he told TV Week in 1981. “I came out with a six-month working visa and, like a lot of people, liked what I saw and decided I wanted to stay. Unfortunately, I forgot about the red tape. The rules were fairly rigid and being black didn’t help. But somebody up there must like me. Because of my artistic abilities, as a dancer and choreographer, I was allowed to stay.”

As well as a prolific career as a dancer and choreographer, Arnold also appeared on our TV screens. He featured in the 1960s sci-fi series The Stranger (currently streaming on ABC iview) and in 1972 played the part of Chad Farrell in Number 96.

The arrival of the happy-go-lucky Farrell at 96 created racial tensions with Harry Collins (Norman Yemm), but a romance with Sonia Freeman (Lynn Rainbow) led to an interracial kiss that for its time was groundbreaking for television.

Arnold later guest starred in Spyforce, Cop Shop, Skyways and Kingswood Country before an ongoing role in the 1981 series Holiday Island.

Source: TV Tonight, IMDB, Sydney Morning Herald, Number 96: Australia’s Most Notorious Address.  TV Week, 26 December 1981

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    • Trevar Langlands on 18 February 2020 at 10:25 AM
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    sad to lose such a talented guy

    • Adrian B on 21 March 2020 at 3:40 PM
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    Vale Ronnie, remember the days when you lived in Paddo and I met you through Jimmy Fishburn….bringing back a lot of memories.

    • Mattie Slur on 16 October 2020 at 11:42 AM
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    I missed the news of Ronnie’s passing. Very sad to hear. He was a good friend to us back in the kid 90s at the Ancient Briton in Glebe. Rest easy Ronnie. You were a good soul.

    • Peter Lawless on 2 December 2020 at 11:05 PM
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    I’ll never forget Ronnie in the Sydney production of Pippin in 1974. He played the part of the Leading Player (Ringmaster) and his shining personality, strong voice and exceptional dance skills and showmanship was unforgettable. He was brilliant! He was also a star in many other productions and will always be remembered as a beautiful STAR. So glad he made Australia home!

    • David on 9 May 2021 at 6:48 PM
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    Rest In Peace Ronnie. We knew him along with many other actors that are gone as well. He was always the life at dinners and gatherings with friends! He was very talented and not just as a dancer, I was shock to hear he was gone, but he will never be forgotten especially by us. I am glad to have known you, it was a pleasure.

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