Pittwater Life March 2018 Issue


Bayview Bust-Up. Running with the Rat Pack. Tom Burlinson. Check out our new website!

MAIN PIC: Nigel Wall

Heart of a Nation’ – also a huge hit –

and to work in Australia, America and


At the end of the 1980s he wrote a

song about Frank Sinatra’s impact on

him, calling it ‘The Man in the Hat’. He

had a big band arrangement done of

the song, and recorded it, not knowing

what he would do with it. But he gave

an audio cassette of the recording to

Channel Nine’s ‘Midday Show’ host Ray

Martin, who asked him to sing the song

on the show.

“I had never sung professionally

before, let alone on national television,

so I was as nervous as a cat.”

Soon after, Tom heard about a miniseries

called ‘Sinatra’ being produced by

Tina Sinatra, Frank’s youngest daughter,

at Warner Brothers in Los Angeles. Tina

Sinatra needed someone to sing the

voice of her father as a young man, so

she asked Tom to fly to LA to audition.

He sang songs such as ‘Stormy

Weather’ and ‘Begin the Beguine’, and, he

reminisces: “Tina sat there with tears

in her eyes. That afternoon she rang me

and said, ‘Tom, I want you to do this

job for me.’ So, there I was, untrained,

singing the voice of one of the most

recognisable voices of 20th century

popular music.” The series won the

Golden Globe Award for best mini-series

of the year and was seen by 30 million


When it became known back in

Australia that the man from Snowy

River could sing, Tom was offered the

lead role in the musical ‘How to Succeed

in Business Without Really Trying’. This

was another turning point in his life, as

he met Mandy Carnie, a dancer in the

show, and they fell in love and married.

In 2001, when Mandy was pregnant

with their second child, they needed

to move from their small townhouse

at Mosman. Remembering his own

upbringing on Pittwater, and believing

this area to be “one of the best

residential areas for family life in the

world”, Mandy and he started looking

for a home here and fell in love with

their current Newport home. Seventeen

years later their oldest daughter, Mia,

has just finished her HSC; their son,

Guy, is in Year 11 at Pittwater High; and

their youngest daughter, Rikki, is at

Newport Primary. And having been “a

triple threat” – as singer, dancer and

actress, performing in major musicals

such as Sweet Charity and A Chorus

Line – Mandy has turned her focus to

personal tr aining, running the ‘Perfect

Fit’ fitness studio at Newport.

While appearing in ‘How to Succeed in

Business Without Really Trying’ Tom also

met trumpeter Ralph Pyl who lives on

Bilgola Plateau. He told Tom that if he

ever wanted to do a show about Frank

Sinatra that “he had the band”. In 1998

Tom did 12 performances of ‘Frank –

A Life in Song’, accompanied by the

Sydney All Star Big Band, at the Seymour

Centre. Since then Tom and Ralph have

not only toured the country with that

show, and subsequent Frank Sinatra

ones, but also shows celebrating Frank

Sinatra’s contemporaries.

“When I’m asked for advice by people

starting in the business I always say:

‘Give every opportunity 100 per cent

effort, because you never know how

one thing might lead to another.’” With

the 17-piece Sydney All Star Big Band,

spectacular dancers, and starring

jazz singer Emma Pask, trombonist Ed

Wilson and Tom himself, 100 per cent

effort is certainly going into ‘Swing

That Music’.

* Tickets on sale now for ‘Swing That

Music’ at the State Theatre on Saturday

April 21; visit swingthatmusic.com.au

Life Stories



says Newport

has been the

ideal location to

raise a family;

in performer

mode; one of his

earliest roles – as

a Roman Gladiator,

complete with

lollypop; on

set as The Man

from Snowy

River in 1981;

the fresh-faced

School Captain

of Pittwater High

in 1973; and

inhabiting the

Sinatra persona

while performing

in ‘Frank – A Life

in Song’ in 1998.

The Local Voice Since 1991

MARCH 2018 35

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