I wanted to write a few words in memory of my dad Len Bickley (Lenny to his mates), he sadly passed away peacefully in this sleep, back in October and from talking to his close friends and discovering old documents and photo’s we found some great history on my dads past that we hadn’t known, as he’d always played down his early career as a dancer and choreographer
Len was born in Northam in 1946 the youngest of three children and a few years later his family moved to Fremantle were they settled. At an early age it was clear that he had natural ability and passion for dancing, which he shared with his sister Shirley.
Shirley Bickley went on to runa successful ballroom dancing school in Fremantle, were up until recently she still served as judge for a number of international dance contests. Shirley was also a long standing councillor for Fremantle city council
At the age of 19, Len decided to sail from Fremantle to UK to work professionally as a dancer, he was able to secure work quickly and over the next 20 years progressed his career from dancer to choreographer
TV credits –
In the early seventies Len performed as a dancer on two season of the Tom Jones series, Kraft Music Hall for NBC New York, TV specials featuring Burt Bacharach, Liza Minelli, Helen Reddy, Bette Midler, Cliff Richard, Janis Joplin, Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne
Movie credits –
Assistant Choreographer “The Boyfriend” starring Twiggy, “Victor Victoria” starring Julie Andrews and “Peter Pan” starring Danny Kaye
Theatre credits –
Two reviews at the London Palladium with Cliff Richard and Cilla Black as well as tow Royal Command Performances which included stars like Sammy Davis Jnr, Petula Clark and Larry Hagman
Assistant Choreographer for Connie Stevens USA tour
Assistant Choreographer on the Liza with Z tour starring Liza Minnelli
Assistant Choreographer for Walter Painter on the Sylvie Varton Show at the Palais des Congres Theatre Paris
Assistant Choreographer for “Jumpers” at the Aldwych Theatre
Choreographer for the production “Wonderful Town” starring Maureen Lipman at the Queens Theatre
In the late 80’s Len decided to return to Australia and for several years continued working as a choreographer and director in theatre and TV but then decided to take a change in career. He studied at Edith Cowan University and completed a BA in Social Sciences, he then went on to take a variety of other specialist qualifications to become a social worker.
Len spent the remainder of his working life running rehabilitation programs for alcohol and drug addiction, as well helping former convicted criminals back into society
Len had a full life and as he said to me a few months before he passed, he was happy he came back to Australia and ended up living in Toodyay, so close to where his life began in Northam.
Len is survived by his son Justin who lives in the UK and best friends Colin and Pamela Fisher long term residents of Toodyay