Australian entertainment industry pays homage to television icon
Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews took the stage to pay tribute to Bert Newton. Here is an edited version of his speech.
“Bert Newton had the gift of faith and I can’t help but think that he would be so honored with a full Mass here at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Bert Newton was a great artist, and life itself was his stage. He was always there, omnipresent, on our screens and in our homes.
In Australia, Bert wasn’t just a man on a screen or an actor on stage – he was someone we all felt like we knew.
Families were drawn to Bert’s warmth and inviting ease, he was more than talent, he was confidence.
Its history is the history of Australian television.
When things went off the rails, when a show went off the rails, Bert thrived. He was in his element, witty, cheeky and intelligent.
A master of his craft, but true to himself at the same time. A highly qualified and authentic artist, a people respected and revered.
He was a pioneer, an icon, a legend. But Bert’s story is much more. A shy working class kid with no excuses, no prisoners North Fitzroy, who loved streetcars and going to the movies.
His life changed when the 7th Brunswick Boys Scouts took him to see his first live radio show.
When Bert walked into the 3XY Spring Street studios, he was just trying to get his Scout badge but he had found his calling.
Every night for six months, but would come back to 3XY with awe.
As his career spanned television, radio and the stage, Bert dedicated his life to mentoring others, sharing his wisdom and experience, behind the scenes. To this day, his legacy lives on in the young actors, broadcasters and artists he helped along the way.
But everyone knows that when we think and talk about Bert Newton, we think about a double act: Bert’s partnership with Patti is a story for the ages.
Christmas 1974 and Bert flies from Melbourne to LA, and eventually to New York to board a cruise ship. He hopes that the woman he loves but has not seen for some time will accept this marriage proposal.
This is exactly what she did.
Bert and Patti were partners in every way: husband and wife, parents and grandparents, best friend, artists, performers and soul mates.
He was a boy from North Fitzroy who rose to the top, a man of unparalleled talent, who led a busy life. He entertained his audience because he respected his audience, he lived his values; compassion and kindness, generosity and empathy.
We are richer for his life and poorer for his death. “