Peter Allen is an Australian songwriter and entertainer.
He grew up in nearby Armidale NSW, where he lived from about 6 weeks of age until the age of 15. This is also where he first learned piano and dance. His father Dick became a violent alcoholic after returning from World War II. He shot and killed himself when Peter was still young. George never understood, nor got over this devastating event. Soon after this the family moved to Lismore to live. This tale is told in the song "Tenterfield Saddler". On 26 November 2005 an extension of the Tenterfield library was opened and named the "George Woolnough Wing". Allen married Liza Minnelli in 1967. His marriage to Liza Minnelli ended in divorce in 1974, and culminated his heterosexual guise. He subsequently proclaimed his homosexuality and publicly entered a relationship with Gregory Connell that lasted until Connell's death, 15 years later.
Becoming more comfortable with his homosexuality from the 1970s to 1984, Allen had a long-time partner, Gregory Connell. Connell was a fashion model from Texas who designed the sound and lighting for Allen's shows and sang backup on his rendition of "I Go to Rio." Connell died from an AIDS-related illness in 1984 at their home in California.
Allen performed on Australian Television at many important occasions: in front of Queen Elizabeth II in 1980 at the Sydney Opera House, before Prince Charles and Princess Diana, once in Melbourne and again in Sydney, at the opening of the Sydney Entertainment Centre, where he unveiled for the first time his Australian "Flag" shirt, and the 1980 Australian Rules Grand Final in Melbourne. His "Up In One Concert" of 1980 was a huge ratings success across the country. When Australia won The America's Cup, he flew to Perth to sing before an audience of 100,000. In 1988 he opened for Frank Sinatra at Sanctuary Cove, Queensland. In America he appeared at the 30th Anniversary of Disneyland. He returned to recording on Arista with an album entitled "Not the Boy Next Door" (1983). In 1990 he recorded his final album on RCA, Making Every Moment Count, which featured Melissa Manchester and Harry Connick Jr.
One of his songs, I Still Call Australia Home, became popular through its use in television commercials, initially for National Panasonic, and since 1998 for Qantas Airlines. This has since become an unofficial anthem for Australians abroad. Allen recorded a live album called "Captured Live at Carnegie Hall" where songs from his musical Legs Diamond, were previewed. Legs Diamond opened on Broadway at the Mark Hellinger Theatre on 26 December 1988, with a book co-written by Harvey Fierstein. The musical ran for 64 performances and 72 previews. After Legs Diamond closed he returned to concert work, touring with Bernadette Peters during the summer of 1989. Peter and Bernadette also performed in the early 1980s on the Academy Award broadcast in an extended musical tribute to Irving Berlin.