News, Culture & Society

Johnny Young reveals the ‘saddest day’ of his life on Young Talent Time

Johnny Young has revealed the most difficult moment during his tenure as host of Young Talent Time.

On Sunday night’s 50th Anniversary Special, the 74-year-old recalled the death of YTT member Juanita Coco, who lost her life at age 17 in a car accident. 

‘I think one of the saddest days of my life was the day that we heard that Juanita Coco had died in a car accident,’ he said. 

Hard: Johnny Young (pictured) has revealed the most difficult moment during his tenure as host of Young Talent Time. On Sunday night’s 50th Anniversary Special, the 74-year-old recalled the death of YTT member Juanita Coco, who lost her life at age 17 in a car accident

‘She was something VERY special.  She was a mighty talent. She was a wonderful singer. And she would have been a big star, definitely. Sadly, her life was cut short,’ he added. 

In the special Juanita’s mother Jenny recalled the awful night she learned her daughter had passed away, revealing she had a feeling she shouldn’t let her daughter go to a party that night.   

‘I felt very uncomfortable on the night. I just had this horrible feeling, just this horrible feeling – can’t explain it. I didn’t want to take her. 

Loss: 'I think one of the saddest days of my life was the day that we heard that Juanita Coco had died in a car accident,' he said. Juniata is pictured

Loss: ‘I think one of the saddest days of my life was the day that we heard that Juanita Coco had died in a car accident,’ he said. Juniata is pictured 

Special: 'She was something VERY special. She was a mighty talent. She was a wonderful singer. And she would have been a big star, definitely. Sadly, her life was cut short,' he added

Special: ‘She was something VERY special. She was a mighty talent. She was a wonderful singer. And she would have been a big star, definitely. Sadly, her life was cut short,’ he added

‘And eventually, [my husband] Pat got home and we drove her there. And just before we left, I ran inside and gave her another hug and said goodbye.’ 

She added: ‘That was it. In the middle of the night, the doorbell rang. And I was very, very worried as soon as the doorbell rang at that time of the night. 

‘They said it was the police, and I just knew straight away. I just knew straight away.’  

Past: In the special Juanita's mother Jenny recalled the awful night she learned her daughter had passed away. Jenny is pictured with Juanita's father Patrick and sister Belinda

Past: In the special Juanita’s mother Jenny recalled the awful night she learned her daughter had passed away. Jenny is pictured with Juanita’s father Patrick and sister Belinda 

Fans watching the show at home were moved by the segment, with many recalling the young singer as their favourite in the cast. 

One person Tweeted: ‘Tears in my eyes. Heartbreaking, but such a beautiful interview with Juanita’s family’. 

Another wrote: ‘Wow Juanita Coco’s death still makes me cry. I was a huge fan’. 

Tragic: Tragically, Juanita was killed in a car accident in Melbourne in 1993 at the age of 17 after attending her boyfriend's birthday party

Tragic: Tragically, Juanita was killed in a car accident in Melbourne in 1993 at the age of 17 after attending her boyfriend’s birthday party

Someone else added: ‘I adored Juanita, was obsessed as a kid. When we ‘played’ #YTT in the playground at school I was always her. 

‘I was devastated by her passing and am so moved by this wonderful interview with her exceptionally brave family. What a beautiful girl. Her poor parents’.

Yet another said: ‘Juanita Coco was my fave amongst the ‘last batch’ of YTT. The devastation her family must have felt is so sad.’  

One of the last crop of talents to join the cast, the effervescent Juanita was just 12 when she began to wow Australia with her prodigious talent.

Memories: Fans watching the show at home were moved by the segment, with many recalling the young singer as their favourite in the cast

Memories: Fans watching the show at home were moved by the segment, with many recalling the young singer as their favourite in the cast

During the duet portion of the show Juanita was often paired up with Joey Dee, and she was best known for her rendition of the hit song La Bamba.

After the show ended, Juanita struggled to capitalise on her Young Talent Time fame.

Tragically, Juanita was killed in a car accident in Melbourne in 1993 at the age of 17 after attending her boyfriend’s birthday party.

Following her death, Juanita’s mother Jenny and her husband Patrick formed The Friends of the Donor Tissue Bank of Victoria in honour of her organ donation, while her former high school, St Helena Secondary College, has presented the Juanita Coco Award.

Stars: The special looked back at the iconic series. Pictured: The cast in the 1980s

Stars: The special looked back at the iconic series. Pictured: The cast in the 1980s 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk