Benny Award

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Benny Award
Variety Artists Club of New Zealand Benny Award
Benny Award
Awarded for A lifetime of excellence in variety entertainment
Date 1969
Country New Zealand

The Benny Award is the highest honour that can be bestowed to a New Zealand variety entertainer.[1][2][3][4][5][6] It is presented annually by the Variety Artists Club of New Zealand, a non-for-profit organisation and showbusiness club, founded in 1966 and awarded to a variety performer who has achieved "A lifetime of excellence in their field of the performing arts".[7][8]


Nominations for the Benny Award are accepted from VAC members and the recipient ultimately decided upon by past Benny recipients, making its presentation recognition of the highest degree by the New Zealand entertainment industry.[3][9][10]


The Benny Award was named after its first recipient, legendary New Zealand variety performer Edgar Benyon (1902-1978) in 1969.[11] The Benny statuette was designed and sculptured by magician Jon Zealando and features Greek muses Melpomene and Thalia - the traditional symbols of comedy and tragedy.[12]

Recipients of the Benny Award include many New Zealand household names and figureheads of entertainment.[3][13][14]


Year Recipient
1969 Edgar Benyon
1970 Howard Morrison OBE
Oswald Cheesman MBE
1971 Pat McMinn OBE
1972 Lou Clauson QSM
Jon Zealando
1973 Ray Columbus OBE
1974 Les Andrews
Peter Newberry QSO
Sir John Rowles KNZM OBE
1975 Phil Warren QSO
1976 Rusty Greaves
Merv Smith QSM
1977 Max Cryer MBE
1978 George Tumahai
1979 Chic Littlewood
1980 Peter Evans
Eddie Hegan
1981 Marcus Craig
1982 Don Linden
1983 Russell Middlebrook
1984 John Maybury Sr.
1985 Toni Savage BEM QSM
1986 Johnny Bond
1987 Silvio De Pra
1988 Ricky May
Alma Woods
1989 Sylvia Rielly
1990 Billy T. James MBE
1991 Debbie Dorday
1992 Carl Doy ONZM
1993 Rob Guest OBE
Mary Throll
1994 Rena Owen
1995 Guy Cater
1996 Keith Leggett
1997 Paul Bennett
1998 Dame Malvina Major ONZ GNZM DBE
1999 Gerry Merito
2000 Doug Aston
2001 Gray Bartlett MBE
2002 Tom Sharplin
2003 Jim Joll
2004 Eldred Stebbing MNZM
2005 Elaine Bracey
2006 Alan Watson QSM
2007 Ray Woolf MNZM QSM
2008 Suzanne Lynch MNZM
2009 Eddie Low MNZM
2010 Gary Daverne ONZM
2011 Shane Hales MNZM
2012 Marian Burns MNZM
2013 Larry Morris
2014 Tina Cross ONZM
2015 Johnny Devlin MNZM
2016 Suzanne Prentice OBE
2017 Kevin Greaves
2018 Brendan Dugan

External links

  • Variety Artists Club of New Zealand Website
  • Video : Red Carpet TV at the 2018 Benny Awards
  • Biographical Information about all Benny Winners
  • 2011 Benny Awards television coverage
  • Max Cryer MBE presents the 2006 Benny to Alan Watson
  • Max Cryer MBE presents the 2009 Benny to Eddie Low
  • Max Cryer MBE presents 2010 Benny to Gary Daverne ONZM


  1. ^ "Friends on tour with country music lineup, Taranaki Daily News Online".
  2. ^ "Amplifer News Story : Gary Daverne Benny Award". Archived from the original on 2012-04-19. Retrieved 2013-04-27.
  3. ^ a b c "Voxy News - Eddie Low Honoured with Benny Award".
  4. ^ "Jim Joll Biography".
  5. ^ "Shen Yun Performing Arts Website, Gary Daverne".
  6. ^ "VAC Website".
  7. ^ "Suzanne Lynch Benny Award Article,".
  8. ^ "Eddie Low Benny Award, NZ Music News". Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. Retrieved 2013-04-27.
  9. ^ "Ray Columbus Biography".
  10. ^ "Chic Littlewood Biography - NZOnScreen".
  11. ^ "Edgar Benyon Biography, Encyclopedia of NZ Biography".
  12. ^ "Benny Awards Page, VAC Website".
  13. ^ "Auckland City Library Records - Benny Award".
  14. ^ "New Zealand Music Commission, Columbus Biography".
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