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Saturday 11 April 2015

RIP: Harold Robinson, gay legend

Posted in: New Zealand Daily News, Community
By Daily News staff - 9th March 2012

Harold Robinson (Pic: ODT)
One of the great and grand old men of Auckland's gay community, Harold Robinson, died this afternoon, aged 93.

Robinson, a boy from South Dunedin, was one of New Zealand's most noted dancers, being the first Kiwi dancer to win a scholarship to Sadler's Wells Ballet (now the Royal Ballet) in London and perform at Covent Garden. In 1941 he met Freda Stark, herself a lesbian, who infamously danced clad in little more than gold paint at Auckland's Civic Theatre Wintergarden. Robinson and Stark married in 1947 but they chose to separate a few years later, although the pair did not formally divorce until 1973.

During World War II Robinson served in Egypt and the Pacific and was batman to Major Jack Marshall who went on to become New Zealand's Prime Minister in 1972.

Robinson was an irrepressible entertainer of army troops during the war, frequently appearing in drag as Carmen Miranda.

Good friend Michael Bancroft, who visited Robinson just hours before his death, says he was a man who loved life and loved parties. "Harold loved entertaining and was a great host... he had a myriad of theatrical friends but was somehow always the centre of attention. "

Harold Robinson lived in  Whangaparoa and more recently in Papatoetoe. He died peacefully at his home this afternoon. will advise of the funeral details tomorrow evening.

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