Tina Turner death | Paul ‘Fatty’ Vautin on getting cut from iconic rugby league ad with rock star3 min read
Tina Turner famously said « I’d hate to see the ugly ones » when she was promised the best looking man in rugby league for her first brush with the sport and was greeted by Cliffy Lyons and Gavin Miller.
That wry crack came from a shoot in London when then Australian Rugby League general manager John Quayle arranged for Andrew ‘ET’ Ettingshausen, who was playing for Leeds at the time, to be rugby league’s face of a bold and secret campaign to introduce the sport to a new audience, using the American rock star as a way to make women interested.
On that occasion, ET’s appearance fell through because Leeds’ most recent game had been postponed due to snow and the club wouldn’t let him travel to London due to the poor timing.
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In Quayle’s words, in an interview for The Sydney Morning Herald on Thursday: « I’d gone from the game’s best-looking footballers to two of the least. »
Yet Turner embraced the change in plans and was « wonderful ». So when she was brought to Sydney to film an ad, Quayle made sure Ettingshausen and another of the game’s glamour boys, Wayne Pearce, was available.
A player who also got called up for the iconic shoot at Maroubra beach was Paul ‘Fatty’ Vautin, who wasn’t generally considered in the same light.
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« So, they ring me, they say ‘We need you to go to Maroubra beach, we’re going to shoot this ad with Tina Turner,’, I said ‘Sweet, no worries,’ ‘And bring some sluggos’ (Speedos). I said ‘Well, that’s going to be dangerous’, » Vautin recalled for Wide World of Sports during the pre-game show for Thursday night’s broadcast of the Dolphins v Dragons clash, as Nine celebrated the life of the late rock star.
« So I turn up and there’s myself and they put me in the middle of Wayne Pearce and Andrew Ettingshausen and in the sluggos and it’s fair to say I’d had a fairly big off-season (laughs). »
1989 Tina Turner Rugby League promo
Vautin soon learned that the director of the video wasn’t having it, asking explicitly for Fatty to be removed from the shot.
« So anyway, we’ve done this run down the beach about five times so they say, ‘Alright, let’s have a little rest,’ and I’m (draws gasping breath) resting and I hear the American director, and he says to someone, I don’t know who, he says ‘Hey man, who’s that fat, hairy guy in the middle? » Vautin continued.
« And the bloke said, ‘Well, that’s Paul Vautin, he’s Manly captain and blah, blah, blah,’ and he said ‘Well man, get him out of my shot.’ So they brushed me. Basiled. I can’t believe it. »
»And look what you’ve become since, » host James Bracey replied.
« Still fat and still hairy, » Vautin shot back.
Tina Turner performs ‘Simply The Best’
Despite his treatment, Vautin added that it had been an honour to be involved in the campaign due to the sheer delight of working with the bubbly rock star, who will forever be remembered in Australia for her love affair with rugby league.
« Judging from what I’ve seen from the ads, she loved it. Absolutely loved it, » Vautin said.
« And all the guys loved meeting her. That’s a who’s who of rugby league in the ads, it really is. It was a great campaign, no doubt about it. »
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