Jon English was born in Hampstead, London, and came to Australia when he was 12. He is one of few Australian performers who have successfully combined a career in music, television and stage.

Jon’s musical passion and skill were evident early, and before he graduated high school Jon had been a member of two bands – Zenith and Sebastian Hardie. In 1968 Sebastian Hardie was employed as Jonny O'Keefe's backing band. Jon played rhythm guitar and sang. A stellar career was underway!

In the early 70’s Jon auditioned for Harry M Miller’s first production of Jesus Christ Superstar. He was given the prestigious and demanding lead role of Judas at the age of just 22. The show's phenomenal success kept him busy for the next five years, touring all over Australia and New Zealand.

Jesus Christ Superstar was the most successful stage production of its day and one of the most successful in Australian showbiz history. Despite all the impressive elements that made Superstar such a great show, it was Jon's performance which left everyone breathless. Fantastic gymnastics combined with gut wrenching emotion, and a voice that literally took the roof off. Tim Rice, co-writer with Andrew Lloyd-Webber, was moved to comment that 'the Australian cast version was the best he had ever heard'.

During the time Jon was touring with Superstar, he also recorded four albums. He had hits with songs such as Handbags and Gladrags, Turn the page (his first number one) and Hollywood Seven. At the same time he appeared in guest roles on popular television drama shows including No 96, Matlock Police, and the Homicide tele-movie, Stopover, for which he received a Penguin award nomination for Guest Actor of the Year.

For the rest of the 70's Jon remained in the public eye as an actor and musician. He sang the role of Ned on the soundtrack of the rock opera Ned Kelly. He starred in the play Bacchoi for the Nimrod Theatre, co-wrote a ballet called Phases and wrote a regular column for a major newspaper. He also produced his old band’s first album, Four Moments by Sebastian Hardie, which became one of Australia's most successful albums of its style. Jon then toured with Bryan Ferry, as well as continuing to headline his own shows. He won an Aria award for best male vocal performance for Turn the Page, and was voted RAM magazine’s best male singer on three separate occasions.

1977 culminated with Jon’s fifth album and third number one hit single Words Are Not Enough, and a concert tour with the band, Thin Lizzie. He then took a short break from the rock music scene in 1978 when he appeared in the lead role of the incredibly popular television mini-series, Against the Wind. Jon won a Best New Talent Logie for his performance as convict, Jonathan Garrett, in the series.

In partnership with Mario Millo, Jon wrote all the incidental music for Against the Wind. He also wrote the theme song, Six Ribbons, which became a number one hit in more than six countries. The album for the series sold more than a million copies worldwide, and the 2006 release of the 13 episode mini-series on DVD, over a quarter of a century later, saw over 20,000 copies sold out in Australia in just a few short months. A further release of the DVD in Scandinavia proved just as successful, and in 2010 and 2011 by popular request, the DVD series was released yet again.

As a result of Against the Wind, Jon became one of the rare performers to win an acting Logie and a TV Week/Countdown award (for best male vocalist) in the same year.

English History, Jon’s next and seventh album was also released in 1978. This ‘best of’ album made history at the time by becoming the largest selling double album in Australia. Albums number eight, nine, and ten followed in 1980, 1981 and 1982 – Calm Before the Storm, Inroads, and Jokers and Queens (with Marcia Hines). 'Calm Before the Storm' produced the hit singles, Carmilla and Hot Town.

During the 80’s Jon’s career broadened overseas, with tours both at home and in Europe with his own band, The Foster Brothers. Album number eleven, Beating the Boards, featuring the Foster Brothers live, was released in 1983. While in Norway with the band he won the award for best concert by a visiting artist, over other such major acts as Bruce Springsteen. Tours with the legendary American band, Chicago, followed, and he was invited to Los Angeles to perform with Tower of Power.

Jon’s first collaboration with producer David Mackay also began in 1983, with his twelfth album Some People. The title track of the same name became another hit single. This collaboration saw the beginnings of a partnership that would eventually give birth to the successful rock opera, Paris.

1984 saw Jon’s first appearance as the Pirate King alongside Marina Prior, Simon Gallaher, and June Bronhill in the Victorian State Opera’s production of The Pirates of Penzance. As Pirate King he won the Melbourne Critic’s Green Room Award for Most Outstanding Actor on two occasions during the season. The same year he also wrote the feature film soundtrack for the movie Coolangatta Gold, and in 1985 he shared an AFI award with Renee Geyer for the theme song for the movie, Street Hero.

During this time Jon continued touring pubs and clubs and won the Mo Award for Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist of the year three times. 1985 and 1986 saw Jon in return reasons as the Pirate King, with his thirteenth album, Dark Horses, also being released in 1986.

In the late 80’s Jon took on the role of the mad monk Rasputin in the show of the same name. This production, although controversial at the time, served to fire Jon’s ambition to write his own show Paris, based on the Trojan wars. He left Rasputin and travelled to England to again work with David Mackay, determined to complete what would become a virtual magnum opus.

For the next three years Jon focused on this ambition. He took a few short breaks; to release his fourteenth album, The Busker, to play the role of Cameron Daddo’s father, Pap Fin, in the Sydney production of the musical Big River, to appear with Mike Batt and Tim Rice in a concert for the Victorian Arts Festival, and with Mike Batt and Michael Parkinson in a concert version of The Hunting of the Snark. After this he finally recorded the finished version of Paris.

‘Paris’ won an ARIA award for the best cast album, featuring artists such as; The London Symphony Orchestra, Barry Humphries, Doc Neeson, John Waters, Demis Roussos, Francis Rossi, Phillip Quast, Terry Donovan, John Parr, and Harry Nilsson.

Jon planned a break after the Paris recording – but those plans were short lived. He took on the lead role of Bobby Rivers in 1991 in the television sitcom All Together Now, co-starring Rebecca Gibney. The show, about a faded seventies rock star who discovers parenthood late in life, lasted for three years and over a hundred episodes. Jon again wrote the theme song and was musical director for the series. All Together Now was sold in over thirty countries, including Germany where it was called Rock and Roll Daddy.

Jon worked alongside Simon Gallaher again in 1994 when Simon produced an updated version of the Pirates of Penzance. With Jon again as the Pirate King, the show played to sell-out crowds around Australia and New Zealand and grossed over 13 million dollars at the box office. The ABC produced video of Pirates has now sold triple platinum, and the live album won the ARIA award for best cast album. This ARIA bought Jon’s personal tally to four.

The success of Pirates of Penzance was followed up with another two Gilbert and Sullivan classics – The Mikado and HMS Pinafore. With Jon again cast in the lead roles, both shows opened to critical and public acclaim, touring extensively throughout New Zealand and Australia, until Pinafore finally closed the hugely successful ‘trilogy’ in October 1997. Since 2009, the DVD’s of all three shows have been released on UK television, captivating yet another nation and earning Jon a legion of new fans.

Just a short breath later and Jon embarked on a new tour of his own musical show, 'Turn the Page', which ran from 1997 right through until June 1998. In August 1998 Jon started rehearsing for a new production of the hilarious British theatre farce, Noises Off. He spent the rest of 1998 touring Australia to much acclaim for his comic ability in this famous Michael Frayn comedy.

Another six months on the road with Turn the Page, and then Jon re-established his partnership with Simon Gallaher and EssGee Productions to undertake the strenuous and pivotal role of Pseudolis in the great Broadway musical, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. This incredible tour played to rave reviews for Jon (who was on stage for 95 percent of the performance) and lasted until July in 1999, finishing a grinding round of Australian and New Zealand major venues.

Jon then finished off another beloved musical project, Buskers and Angels, which toured September thru October 2000 to warm reviews, subsequently releasing a CD of the same name. 2001 saw Jon again touring In Concert, before starting work on a trio of back to back theatre appearances in Are you Being Served (with John Inman), Don’t Dress for Dinner with Dennis Waterman, and then a special anniversary production of The Pirates of Penzance with Simon Gallaher.

2002 and 2003 saw return seasons of the ever popular Pirates again in Melbourne, as well as more theatre appearances with Jon Inman in Brisbane, this time in Bedside Manners. Added to this were well over 100 In Concert shows, with the latter half of 2003 seeing Jon and his crew blast around Australia on his longest tour in over 10 years encompassing 48 shows in 61 days, and covering an impressive 25,000 kilometres.

Jon then released the amateur rights to his rock opera, Paris, and productions were soon staged throughout Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. Paris was then translated into German with the first European production taking place in Austria in 2010.

In 2004 an acting season at the Twelfth night theatre in Brisbane, and in the New Zealand British Comedy Festival in Auckland, saw Jon starring in the all-time favourite Dad’s Army. Jon continued his concert touring during 2005, finishing the year with a guest appearance on the television series Last Man Standing.

In 2006 Jon circumnavigated the country again with the Countdown Spectacular. This three hour show brought together popular Australian music acts from the long running Countdown television series (which Jon guest hosted five times). Jon described it as The show played to packed houses in Sydney, Newcastle, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane.

The same year Jon also teamed up with fellow Pirates actor, friend, and musician – Peter Cupples (of ‘Stylus’ fame) to work on their collaborative show Uncorked.

Along with the Uncorked shows, 2007 also Jon saw happily reunited with the Foster Brothers for the first time in nearly 20 years in a series of concerts throughout NSW and Victoria.

Late in 2007 Jon appeared as 'the Narrator' in the acclaimed musical Blood Brothers for a successful short season in Newcastle, following which he proudly took part in the world premiere concert of Gavin Lockley’s six movement classical work Symphony of Australia at the Sydney Opera House. Jon narrated the concert – complete with full choir, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, opera soloists, rock band, didgeridoos and indigenous performers – as well as singing and playing solo guitar himself. He has since performed and recorded regularly in Lockley’s symphony productions.

2007 ended with Jon filming a wonderful children’s mini series in New Zealand, playing of all things the role of a lovable but havoc raising hologram from the future! The 13 part series, Time Trackers, shown in both Australia and New Zealand, was received enthusiastically by its young audience and continues to be shown on television during school holidays.

Throughout 2008 to 2010 Jon toured the country with his nephew's (Jay Collie), multi award winning band, Jonah’s Road, as support and backing band - introducing yet another generation to Jon’s timeless music.

In early 2009 Jon also teamed up with a troupe of multi talented, multi instrumentalist young rockers to produce a spectacular 10 piece tribute to the 60’s and 70’s rock generation called The Rock Show. The show proved so popular that it spawned 2 more shows – Rock Show More and Rock Revolution – selling out theatres right around the country for 4 years. In 2012 The Rock Show won the Mo Award for Rock Act of the Year, and the CD of the show was nominated for an ARIA award for Best Soundtrack. In 2013, Jon again won the Mo Award for Best Rock Act with Rock Revolution.

In a departure from his usual musical comedy, in August 2010 Jon agreed to appear in the title role of the Perth Theatre Company’s production of David Williams’, The Removalists, thoroughly enjoying the chance to tread the boards in the classic dark play.

In mid 2008, Jon was devastated to learn that the iconic Tasmanian Devil had been placed on the endangered species list due to a unique contagious facial tumour decimating its population. At the rate the disease was wiping out the species, the Devil was widely predicted to become extinct in the wild within 10 to 20 years. Jon became the ambassador for the Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal.

As part of this work, Jon organized benefit Rock Show concerts in Sydney and Tasmania in late 2009 and early 2010, and further benefits in 2011 and 2012, raising over $23,000 for the Appeal. He also appeared in a community theatre production of Jesus Christ Superstar in Launceston Tasmania in March 2012, playing Pilate, with the production donating another $10,000.

2013 Jon saw Jon take off on a national tour of Australia with the Foster Brothers in a 30th anniversary concert, Beating the Boards Again!, and he was invited to Scandinavia to perform at the Sweden Rock Festival – one of the largest rock festivals in the world. This was followed by a stint in ‘drag’ as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray at the Riverside Theatre in Sydney during July and August, a role he enjoyed playing with relish and received rave reviews for, and then a new ‘best of’ rock show – Trilogy of Rock from September 2013 onwards, for which he was nominated for another Mo Award for Best Rock Act in 2014, as well as an ACE Award for Best Original Performer.

Jon continued touring in 2014, putting together the Six is Enough show – celebrating music from his own albums as well as over four decades of his most memorable musical stage and screen appearances. He also performed on the Rock the Boat 4 music cruise with a host of other Aussie rock bands, headlined by UK band The Sweet in October, followed by a stint as King Arthur in Harvest Rain Theatre Company’s smash sell out production of SPAMALOT at QPAC Brisbane, reuniting with Simon Gallaher as his sidekick Patsy, and also starring Julie Anthony and comedian Frank Woodley.

In April 2015 Jon was awarded the ACE Award for Best Original Performer, and was honoured to receive a return invitation to perform at the Sweden Rock Festival in June, wowing the crowds with a full house of thousands and drawing delighted fans from all over Scandinavia, Germany, and yes Australia! By popular demand, the Trilogy of Rock show also continued touring to consistent sell outs and standing ovations for the second half of the year.

Following his stand out performance on Rock the Boat 4, Jon was due to set sail on the seas again for Cruise n Groove in October 2016, alongside two other Australian greats, John Farnham and John Paul Young. In March 2016 he was booked to return to Sweden to record his first studio album in 25 years, with Swedish band Spearfish. He had also begun rehearsing a new Rock Show – the Oz Edition – which was to kick off a national tour from May to October 2016.

However following several weeks of Uncorked performances with his close friend, Peter Cupples, in Sydney, Victoria and Adelaide during January and February 2016, Jon was unexpectedly hospitalized for an abdominal aortic aneurysm. He underwent surgery for this on 9 March, but to the shock and painful bewilderment of his family, friends, fans and the entire nation, he did not survive the operation. On 10 March 2016 the following post was placed on his official Facebook page:
"It is with the deepest sadness and the heaviest of hearts that we confirm the passing of Jon English. Jon died peacefully last night, aged 66. The cause of death was post-operative complications. At the time of his passing he was surrounded by his four children and other close family members. A public service celebrating Jon’s life will be held with details to be released shortly. We are needless to say completely shocked and devastated by this enormous and unexpected loss. ...The music industry, and indeed the world, has lost an incredible talent and the biggest of big hearts. We are inconsolable and will miss you immeasurably."

On 4 April 2016, a public memorial service celebrating Jon’s extraordinary life and his contribution to the arts in Australia was held at the Capital Theatre in Sydney, the place where his career first kicked off with Jesus Christ Superstar 44 years previously. He was subsequently posthumously honoured with his second ACE Award for Best Original Performer that same week.
Jon is survived by his domestic partner and manager/publicist of a decade, Coralea Cameron, his wife Carmen, and his four children - Jessamine, Josephine, Jonathan, and Julian.

Talented, versatile, and intelligent, driven by his love for his work, his music, and his family, Jon’s unflagging energy and enthusiasm knew no bounds. Known for his durability, missing only one performance ever in the five years of Superstar (for a wisdom tooth of all things) and just a single show during the entire duration of Pirates, (the result of a badly timed car crash on the way to the theatre!), his durability was perhaps a legacy of the six months stunt training he squeezed in during the mid seventies, along with several training sessions with his beloved Parramatta Rugby League football team!

During his time on stage, Jon was hung up to 60 feet in the air, swung over the audience on a rope, thrown off a balcony, fell down stairs, fell flat on his back (literally) night after night in ‘Pirates’, did a multitude of cartwheels and somersaults, and on film performed most of his own stunts on horseback and in cars.

To his impressive list of television credits over the years was Graham Kennedy’s long running comic game show, Blankety Blanks, regular appearances as a panelist on Daryl Somers enduring Hey Hey It’s Saturday, an episode of the enormously popular Australian drama series The Flying Doctors, plus a cameo role in the ABC’s current affairs spoof, Frontline. He also appeared in episodes of Pizza, Rafferty’s Rules, the television series Ocean Girl, and on the ABC’s foremost music trivia show Spicks and Specks and the SBS rock quiz show, RocKwiz.

Confirming his prodigious general knowledge (not to mention his very definite competitive streak) Jon also won the celebrity version of Sale of the Century –- winning his home contestant amongst other things a brand new BMW!

Jon appeared many times on the Don Lane and Bert Newton shows over the years that they aired, along with innumerable guest spots on almost every other variety show known. He was interviewed twice each for both 60 Minutes and Parkinson, and his life story was captured for episodes of This is Your Life and the ABC’s Talking Heads. His last ever television interview was for Studio 10 at his home in Coffs Harbour on the NSW Mid North coast, just a few weeks before his untimely passing.

A prolific songwriter, experienced screen composer, and a popular actor with wide community recognition and critical public acclaim, Jon English was undoubtedly one of Australia’s most successful, loved, and enduring recording and performing artists.