BILLY T: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF BILLY T. JAMES. HarperCollins, 2009. 385pp. ISBN: 9781869507053
* Debuted at #1 on the Booksellers NZ Non-Fiction list, November 2009. Spent 2 weeks there and 2 months in the top 10. * Finalist 2010 Ngä Kupu Ora/ Massey University Mäori Book Awards
The only biography of one of the best-loved New Zealanders, a shy Maori boy who became the country’s most popular entertainer. The ups, the downs and his sad passing – post-heart transplant – at the age of just 42.
‘The book is a social history of the 1960s and seventies and all the characters from that golden era in local show business are here… Matt Elliot [sic], a part-time Auckland comedian, has done Billy T proud. His is the year’s best biography.’ Warwick Roger, North and South
‘Elliot [sic] has done a fine job in setting the record straight, and reminding us of the skills, triumphs and tribulations of a man who might just possibly have been the most-loved Kiwi ever.’ Roger Hall, Listener
‘Matt Elliott does a superb job…We’re left with a greater appreciation and more affection for a man who holds a significant place in our cultural lives.’ Michele A’Court, Your Weekend
‘I knew and worked with Billy T when he was at the height of his TV success, and it was a sheer delight, a thorough professional and a gentleman!…I thoroughly enjoyed every page turn. Matt has done a wonderful job at capturing the real Billy T James.’ – David Hartnell, GrownUps.co.nz
Was the basis for the telemovie, Billy (TVNZ/Comedia 2011), the fourth highest rating NZ on Air funded programme over the past 20 years with 733,007 viewers on first screening. (Now available on DVD.)