Ernest "Ernie" Ashley Dingo AM is an Indigenous Australian actor and television presenter, comedian, teacher and promoter originating from the Yamatji, people of the Murchison region of Western Australia. He is a designated Australian National Living Treasure.
Born Ernest Ashley Dingo on 31 July 1956, at Bullardoo Station, he was the second child of nine, including three brothers and five sisters. He grew up in Mullewa, Western Australia with his family. His younger brother Murray died in a car accident in August 2007. He went to Prospect Primary and then Geraldton High School.
He came to acting after moving to Perth and meeting Richard Walley, with whom he played basketball in a local team. Ernie went on to play state league first division for the East Perth Hawks. Dingo is a distinguished actor and presenter in film and television, and promoted the Generation One "Hand Across Australia" which was a promotion for Indigenous equality.
He collaborated with Richard Walley to create a controversial "Welcome to Country" ceremony in Perth in 1976, after dancers from the Pacific islands would not perform without one.
Ernie Dingo married Sally Butler, then a sales representative for 2Day FM, in 1989. Dingo discovered in 2004 that he had a daughter, named Zoe, from a brief relationship before his marriage. He also has a daughter called Alyssa Wallwork and his wife also raised another grandchild Jurra, as well as their 16-year-old adopted daughter Wilara.
In his appearance on Family Confidential Dingo revealed that Wilara's father was another aboriginal actor who was related to him. Sally Dingo has authored two books about her husband and family, 2000's Ernie Dingo: King of the Kids and Dingo, The Story of our Mob in 1997. They live in the Melbourne suburb of Warrandyte.
In 2010, two women from New South Wales and Victoria claimed to have engaged in affairs with Dingo. It was subsequently reported that Ernie and Sally were living in an open marriage for the sake of their children. The claim of an open marriage was found to be false and was retracted.
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