Vale: Norman Hetherington

By David Knox on December 7, 2010 / Filed Under News 21

Blackboard would be sad today…

Norman Hetherington, who created and played Mr Squiggle to generations of Australians, has died following a long illness in Sydney.

He was 89.

Hetherington recently appeared on Collectors in July where he shared many of his 400 puppets.

He worked initially as a cartoonist before venturing into television in the late 1950s and pursuing his interest in puppetry.

He created Mr Squiggle in 1959.

Over its 40 years on TV, the show varied from five-minute spots to a one-and-a-half hour variety show featuring other performers. But it retained its main feature: children writing in with their “squiggles” which Mr Squiggle turned into drawings by connecting lines with his pencil nose. It ended in 1999.

When Mr Squiggle turned 50 in July last year, Hetherington told ABC News Online the world of television was a very different place when the show made its exciting debut.

“He came into the program without even an audition… that wouldn’t happen today,” he said.

“He was given a six-week trial and he stayed for the six weeks, six months, then six years and so on.

“And we didn’t always stick to the script. There was a lot of adlibbing, particularly in the drawing segment.”

His funeral service is expected to be held next Monday.

Source: ABC, SKY News


  1. steph December 8, 2010 at 8:08 am -

    What a big part of my childhood. What a lovely man. RIP, keep up that drawing!

  2. Lyn December 8, 2010 at 1:28 am -

    That’s so sad. :(
    Thanks for the wonderful memories.
    My deepest condolences to his family, friends & fans.

  3. Kris December 7, 2010 at 11:27 pm -

    I always regretted not sending in a picture. :(

  4. matty the TV Guru December 7, 2010 at 10:00 pm -

    ABC should give us re-runs of Mr Squiggle so our next generation of children can enjoy this brilliant show.

    R.I.P Mr Hetherington – Mr Squiggle you will be sorely missed by fans of all ages.

    Upside Down! Upside Down!

  5. timmy December 7, 2010 at 7:04 pm -

    My grandmother’s maiden name was Hetherington. So, I could be related to Mr Squiggle. Would explain a lot.

  6. Mroberts98 December 7, 2010 at 6:48 pm -

    I spoke about this sad event with a few people today and we realised how amazing it was that we all had fond memories of Mr Squiggle even though we spanned decades. A timeless classic and a a very special man.

  7. dave December 7, 2010 at 5:48 pm -

    Lovely sentiments Alex, and curious that only 5 people have left comments in this thread. What a unique and defining talent that this man had. He leaves a wondrous legacy & memories for millions of Aussies. He was a glorious one-off.

  8. mikeys December 7, 2010 at 3:06 pm -

    What a great man. #respect

  9. Armchair Analyst December 7, 2010 at 2:12 pm -

    I watched Mr Squiggle when it was at the back end of its run i enjoyed it but now that i am in my 20s dont remember mutch of it, was good though.

  10. Gavin December 7, 2010 at 2:04 pm -

    And another part of my childhood slips away…

  11. catherine December 7, 2010 at 1:04 pm -

    As a child I loved watching Mr Squiggle. I loved seeing him fly down from his rocket and sitting there guessing what he is trying to draw. The his upside down upside down comments.

    Thankyou Norman for creating a wondefrul character.

  12. Craig December 7, 2010 at 12:30 pm -

    I love this show when I was a young kid in the late 80’s.

    Mr Squiggle was a huge part and influence in my childhood. It opened the world of creativity though drawing and cartooning, which lead me into enroling into an animation course next year.

    Thank you Mr Sqiggle for being a huge part of my life and many other lives across the country.

    Lets hope it come back on TV or repeats. Tim, I agree a Hall of Fame is a MUST.

  13. Tim December 7, 2010 at 11:13 am -

    Logies Hall of Fame?

  14. RoD December 7, 2010 at 10:51 am -

    He’s gone for a spacewalk. RIP Norm.
    An absolute favourite of mine as a kid. “Hurry Up” Aunty and show some repeats on ABC2 or ABC3…

  15. Earthquake December 7, 2010 at 10:47 am -

    Thank you Mr Hetherington for your great show and creations that have amused and entertained millions.

    Even today Mr Squiggle is on Youtube and being enjoyed in the new millennium.


  16. The Way It Is December 7, 2010 at 10:39 am -

    I loved this show when I was a kid in the 80’s !

    Norman was a genius – a *real* genius.

    What’s that, Miss Jane?

  17. steven guy December 7, 2010 at 10:15 am -

    A sad loss, i loved this show when i was a kid in the 60’s !

  18. Tony Bee December 7, 2010 at 9:42 am -

    What’s that, Miss Pat?

  19. Wade December 7, 2010 at 9:15 am -

    RIP mate. Loved Mr Squiggle as a kid.

    David – do you know if his passing may change the fact Mr Squiggle is never repeated and unavailable on DVD?

  20. Tango December 7, 2010 at 8:24 am -

    Is he a member of the Hall of Fame?? The man from the Moon will be missed by generations of Australians!! Vale Norman, Vale Mr Squiggle!

  21. Alex December 7, 2010 at 7:43 am -

    Few people could say, at the end of their lives, that they had made such a deep impression on two or three generations of children. Thank you Mr Hetherington.

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