Born in Elwood, Victoria, educated in Melbourne and Western Australia before starting work as a cadet journalist at The Sunraysia Daily, Mildura. While covering the local theatre group, attending the Mildura Film Society and writing film reviews for the local cinemas, he became interested in the entertainment business. In Melbourne he started writing sketches and songs for professional and amateur theatre groups including the prestige Little Theatre (now St. Martins Theatre) in South Yarra, The Arts Theatre in Richmond and theatres in Sydney and Adelaide. Joining the Aussie throng heading towards London, J-M was employed by the prestige ’Men’s Wear’ magazine and covered the fashion industries in London, Paris, Milan and other European cities. He pursued his writing career with comedy scripts for live revues, stand up comedians and television including the top British show That Was The Week That Was. His work led him to be invited to join the writers’ group headed by the top team of Dennis Norden and Frank Muir. Returning to Australia, Howson wrote TV variety shows and created, wrote, and performed in legendary award-winning The Magic Circle Club. After three years on the Ten network the ’club’ ended but led J-M into creating, writing, and performing the multi-award winning hit children’s show Adventure Island on the ABC. J-M was asked to write for top variety shows and special events programmes starring Graham Kennedy, Bert Newton, Don Lane, Ernie Sigley, and many others. He also wrote the weekly Mike Walsh Tonight Show (Seven) and some time later joined the (daytime) Mike Walsh Show as ’Hollywood’ Howson. His TV image as a globe-trotting, champagne sipping, celebrity interviewer was an enormous hit. In 1988 J-M moved to Los Angeles where he settled on West Hollywood. In the US he appeared as regular or guest on many TV shows including The Joan Rivers Show, The Gordon Elliott Show, Court TV, and many local shows in Los Angeles. He has also been heard on radio shows in New York and Los Angeles and radio commercials. He continues to be heard and seen on radio and TV around Australia today. He also writes columns and added two books of chiller thriller short stories to the books (Once Upon a Nightmare and Deadly Dreams) to the list of books (The Adventure Island Collection and I Found It at the Flickers) he has written.
Howson is back to his first love: writing for the theatre. With co-writers David Mitchell and Melvyn Morrow he wrote the hit musical SHOUT! based on the life of Australia’s rock legend Johnny O’Keefe. The team’s new musical Dusty, the story of pop diva Dusty Springfield, is due for an international premiere in January 2006 at Melbourne’s State Theatre in the Victorian Arts Centre. Other shows he has coming up are Pyjamas in Paradise, a musical about the early days of Surfers Paradise (co-written with Peter Pinne) set to premiere in 2007 and the Australian adaptation of the American comedy Wally’s Cafe. J-M is also writing the country musical Stardust Country with American writer John Grimaldi. He will also be appearing in the musical tribute Sounds like Broadway. Howson is chair and spokesperson of the selection committee for the Variety Club’s Walk of Fame and Entertainers of the Century development at ING Real Estate’s Waterfront City development at Melbourne’s Docklands. He is also a director of Maya Entertainment and Roho Productions - the team hopes to have a new children’s show in production by early 2006.