You’d be hard-pressed to find a child or parent from the last 30 years or so, who hasn’t heard of The Wiggles. Or doesn’t know how to ‘wake up Jeff’, or that fruit salad is ‘Yummy yummy’. Hugely successful, the coloured skivvy-clad music band hit the kids’ scene in 1991 and never looked back, going from strength to strength and becoming a worldwide phenomena in the process.
Over time, the original group has changed members; however, despite new faces wearing the familiar colours and singing all the old favourites, the original line-up is never far from our hearts. But what does a Wiggle do once they hang up their skivvy? And what about the mystery fifth Wiggle that pulled out before the band reached its incredible success?
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Here’s a quick look into their lives to see what they’re doing now and if they’re missing the rockstar lifestyle of performing for kids:
The yellow one
Greg Page, 47 was the original yellow Wiggle. However, in 2006 he was forced to leave the group because of an illness, known as Orthostatic Intolerance, a disorder that affects blood flow and left him feeling disoriented, vague and dizzy after standing for long periods.
Greg went on to write a memoir called Now and Then, which tells his story of life as a Wiggle, dealing with his illness and his journey to recovery. And then in 2012, he rejoined The Wiggles just before three of the original four decided to finally call it a day.
Since those days, Greg has been involved in a number of worthy projects, including a joint venture with cricketer Shane Watson and wife Lee on a kid’s fitness program called Lets Activate. Then, along with Queensland firefighter Tony Chicco, Greg has now created a show for the ABC called Team Rescue!, with catchy songs all about safety first, designed to help to prevent kids’ deaths and injuries caused by preventable accidents.
The purple one
Jeff Fatt, 66, was the one who always fell asleep, the reason being that he was the one who didn’t have early childhood training and didn’t feel he could communicate with children. “I guess that’s the reason I ended up with the falling-asleep thing because it was a way of getting me involved in the shows without actually having to do anything,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald.
Jeff was the first to retire in 2012 after having a heart scare. According to the ABC, he blacked out while driving and then had a pacemaker implanted. That said, Jeff is still very much a part of the Wiggly world. “I don’t really stop being a Wiggle because people still recognise you and I don’t have a problem at all doing that. That’s naturally the way that I live,” he told the ABC last year. “I still feel very connected to The Wiggles. I’m still part of the board. I’m a director and we have regular meetings at The Wiggle headquarters.”
The red one
Murray Cook, 59, retired from The Wiggles in 2013 but found it hard to really let go. “After I finished I was pretty lost,” he told The Feed. “It did become my identity; I was Murray from the Wiggles.” He still works with The Wiggles, offering music vocals and the occasional surprise appearance.
In more recent years, Murray has pursued his own music projects playing in his band Bang, and now in the soul rock band The Soul Movers, along with frontwoman Lizzie Mack. Despite touring with a grown-up band, Murray’s fans never forget that he was the Red Wiggle.
“We did a show [in Perth] where there were lots of young people there in their twenties [that] went nuts because it was me,” Cook told Today Extra. “I must have taken about 20 selfies!”
The blue one
Anthony Field, 66, is the only original Wiggle left in the group. After 30 years, he’s still holding the fort, along with the group’s most recent newcomers Simon, Lachie and Emma.
Having suffered from mental illness during his journey as a Wiggle, Anthony has written a memoir How I Got My Wiggle Back, where he discusses struggling to overcome depression, life-threatening illness, and chronic pain to finally getting his life back on track.
Today he’s wiggling as much as ever, but in between shows he is performing alongside bandmate and current purple Wiggle Lachie in a grown-up band The Unusual Commoners, singing folk songs from Australia, Scotland and Ireland. The band kicked off in 2016 at a Sydney charity gig and more recently had a sell-out show in St John’s, Canada.
The fifth one
Phillip Wilcher was the original fifth Wiggle who left the band just before they hit the big time and made their millions. There seems to be some confusion about how the relationship ended, apparently coming down to artistic differences. “He wrote a letter of resignation to the band,” Diana O’Neill, The Wiggles spokesperson reported to The Sydney Morning Herald. “Because he was a classical musician, it wasn’t his cup of tea.”
In 2015, according to The Sydney Morning Herald, Philip was determined to rid himself of The Wiggles label once and for all and was offering up all his Wiggles memorabilia for sale to collectors.
Pursuing his own musical career, Phillip never achieved the same sort of fame that came The Wiggles’ way, but he has made a career for himself as a serious classical musician and continues to work today.