Chrissy Amphlett, Australian rock star and actress, dies at 53

April 22, 2013

Chrissy Amphlett, the raunchy lead singer of the Australian rock band Divinyls whose hit “I Touch Myself” brought her international fame in the early 1990s, died April 21 at her home in New York City. She was 53.

She had breast cancer and multiple sclerosis, her musician husband Charley Drayton said in a statement.

Ms. Amphlett was an icon of Australian music renowned for her distinctive singing voice as well as edgy stage performances clad in school uniforms and fishnet stockings.

She was born Oct. 25, 1959, in Geelong city in Victoria state. She was a cousin of the 1960s Australian pop star Patricia Amphlett, known as “Little Pattie.”

Ms. Amphlett met musician Mark McEntee at a concert at the Sydney Opera House in 1980 and the pair formed the Divinyls.


Divinyls singer Chrissy Amphlett in December 2007. (Matt Jelonek/GETTY IMAGES)

The band released six albums between 1982 and 1996, peaking in 1991 with the success of the single “I Touch Myself,” which reached No. 1 in Australia, No. 4 in the United States and No. 10 in Britain.

The band reformed briefly in 2006. Ms. Amphlett announced in 2007 that she had multiple sclerosis and in 2010 that she had cancer.

She was also an actress who made her movie debut in the 1982 Australian film “Monkey Grip,” which featured several Divinyls tracks.

She later played Russell Crowe’s mother in the Australian stage production of the musical “Blood Brothers.”

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