Australian entertainment icon Bert Newton has died at the age of 83

Bert Newton, a legend in Australian television and radio, has died at the age of 83.

Newton was a Logie Hall of Fame inducted, quadruple Gold Logie-winning entertainer and a radio, theater and television personality and presenter.

He first appeared on radio at the age of 14, and at the age of 20 he joined 9News in its Melbourne agency.

Legendary boxer Muhammad Ali congratulates Bert Newton on winning Gold Logie.  March 19, 1979.

Bert Newton: A legendary life in pictures

Prime Minister Bob Hawke presents Bert Newton with his 1984 Gold Logie.
Prime Minister Bob Hawke presents Bert Newton with his Gold Logie in 1984. (Len Lamb.)

Nine’s director of television, Michael Healy, said Newton was a “giant in our industry who entertained generations of Australians across our television screens”.

“He brought unbridled joy and laughter into our homes as part of so many programs, partnerships and formats,” Healy said.

“He was loved by all of us at Nine, and we wish Patti, Lauren, Matt, and their families our sincere condolences during this sad time.”

Newton had struggled with complications since surgery to have his leg amputated in May.

Newton has hosted the Logies 19 times. (9 news)
Bert Newton
Bert Newton was a legend in Australian television and radio. (Fairfax Media)

One appearance on the evening program, Melbourne tonight, led to one of television’s biggest partnerships – Newton and Graham Kennedy.

Over the next decade, Newton improved his ability to respond to everything live television could deliver.

Kennedy not only gave Newton his most enduring on-air partnership, but also named the awards Newton made for his own – Logies.

In his record 19 times as a host, his mastery of off-the-cuff jokes, knowledgeable glances and careful pauses made him look like a schoolboy sharing the joke with the audience.

In his record 19 times as a host, his mastery of off-the-cuff jokes, knowledgeable glances and careful pauses made him look like a schoolboy sharing the joke with the audience. (9 news)

His second major on-air partnership came in 1975 with Don Lane, on Don Lane Show.

Bert and Patti Newton at home with a copy of his book, 'Bert!  : Bert Newton's own story in 1977.
Bert and Patti Newton at home with a copy of his book, ‘Bert! : Bert Newton’s own story in 1977. (Fairfax)

While professional partnerships would make his name in the industry, a personal partnership would survive them all.

Patti McGrath was a singer and entertainer when the couple began dating in the early 1960s.

When they married in 1974, police had to check the crowds outside St Dominic’s Church in Camberwell.

And from that day on, they would always be known as Bert and Patti.

He is survived by Patti and their children Lauren and Matthew and extended family.

As the news was confirmed Saturday night, former colleagues and notable public figures shared their memories of Newton from his six-decade career on social media.

Newton with his family last Christmas in Melbourne."So nice to be out together and celebrate Christmas at Silks," wrote his wife.
Newton with his family last Christmas in Melbourne. (Instagram)

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there “would never be someone like him”.

“There was an intimacy that attached us to Bert, but it also connected us to each other. We could laugh together. It was his gift,” he said.

2GB Drive host Jim Wilson remembered growing up with the “legendary” host, whom he described as a “national treasure” in the media industry.

With 2GB of radio host Chris Smith, Newton remembered “incredible empathy for those who do it hard”.

Newton had his leg amputated in May this year – a decision his wife Patti said was “huge”.

He developed an infection in his toe, and at the time, Patti said her husband was facing a choice – and he chose to live so he could watch his grandchildren grow up.

Newton after his surgery in May. (9 news)

“It was a very big day for everyone. It was necessary and he had a choice and his choice was to live.

“He was going through all this and he has the support of his whole family.

“We’ve gathered a lot around him, and it’s primarily for the grandchildren because he wants to see them grow.”

Patti said he was a “very strong man”.

“He’s in a really good mood,” she said.

“He has a great journey ahead of him that we all have.

“But you know Bert, forwards and upwards. I’m sure he’ll make it, we hope anyway.

“It’s early days, so we just have to take it one day at a time.”

A masked Bert Newton in his hospital bed.
A masked Bert Newton in his hospital bed last year. (Instagram)

Newton had had several health problems after undergoing a quadruple bypass operation in 2012.

He also suffered from several bouts of pneumonia over the last few years.

“I’m super proud of him, mainly because a lot of people would not have chosen to do this,” Patti said.

Leave a Comment