Rolf Harris, the celebrated Australian-born, British-based entertainer who sang such memorable pop songs as “Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport,” has been arrested by police on allegations of sexual offences.
The 83-year old was interviewed by officers from “Operation Yewtree” set up to investigate the Jimmy Saville sex scandal, the BBC reports. The questioning last November was followed by Harris' arrest on March 28. He’s been bailed until May, according to the BBC. It’s understood Harris’ arrest is unrelated to Savile, the former BBC DJ and TV present who was responsible for hundreds of cases of sex abuse, all of which came to light only since his death in 2011.
Harris is a household name in the country of his birth, and in the country that he’s called home for more than 40 years. And though his name has bouncing around the social networks since his initial questioning, it hasn't been officially confirmed in connection to the inquiry until today.
Today's news will be a big shock to millions of Britons and Australians who grew up watching and listening to the artist. The Guinness World Records book of British Hit Singles sums-up Harris as a "lovable Australian musician, artist and presenter."
Originally from Perth, in Western Australia, Harris rose to fame as a broadcaster, painter and singing star. He enjoyed a string of U.K. chart hits including "Two Little Boys" (Columbia), which has the distinction of being the very last No. 1 in Britain in the 1960s. “Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport” reached No. 9 in Britain back in 1960, and he had a No. 3 hit with “Sun Arise” in 1962. He enjoyed another U.K. top 10 in 1993, when his cover of “Stairway to Heaven,” a spin-off from the Australian TV show “Money or the Gun,” reached No. 7.
Aside from his chart hits, Harris has a swag of British titles. He’s an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) and in 2006 was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)
Earlier this year, Harris was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), in recognition for his distinguished service to the performing and visual arts, to charitable organisations and to international relations through the promotion of Australian culture.
In 2005, Harris was commissioned to paint a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II for her 80th birthday.
Harris is one of 12 people arrested as part of Operation Yewtree. He has not been charged and is reportedly strenuouosly denying the allegations. Harris' representatives have yet to comment.