WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the following may contain images, story and voices of deceased, by and about persons. Discretion advised.

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10 July 2021 // George Assang

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George Assang (1927-1997) was born in Thursday Island in the Torres Straits. He was of Indigenous, Pacific Islander and Asian descent.  His grandfather was a Chinese immigrant who changed his name from Ah Sang to Assang, which would later become Assange, a name known around the world due to his step-grandson Julian.

 

Along with actor Binny Lum he was among the first people of Asian descent to regularly appear on Australian television. He was also one of the few Torres Strait Islander performers to cross over from music to television in his day.

An Australian jazz and blues singer, he performed under his own name and the stage name Vic Sabrino.

Reputed to be the very FIRST Rock 'n' Roll single (78rpm) recorded in Australia by an Australian Artist. A single he recorded with French jazz artist Red Perksey and his orchestra included a version of Rock Around The Clock. This single was recorded in 1955 and entered the charts slightly ahead of Bill Bailey and the Comets version, some three years before Johnny O'Keefe's recording of Wild One in 1958.

 

George/Vic became so popular in his day that he had his own television series. 'Vic Sabrino Sings' broadcast on Sydney television station ABN-2, the 15-minute series appears on TV listings in the Sydney Morning Herald from 22 March 1958 until around 28 April 1958. ABC series of the era typically had shorter seasons than those on commercial television.It followed Saturday Screenplay on ABN-2's schedule.


An actor through the 1950s-1970s, his credits include Number 96 (1972), Boney (1972), Spyforce (1971), Skippy (1968) and Hunter (1967).

He married acclaimed actress Rowena Wallace in 1973 after appearing together on a number of TV series and were divorced in 1974. His son, actor Richard Brett Assange from a previous relationship, later became the stepfather of Julian Assange.

George also acted in several films, the 1969 film The Intruders, the 1973 film And Millions Will Die, and was one of the voices in the animated movie Dot and the Kangaroo (1977).

He died in 1997 in Nowra, Australia from Emphysema.

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