‘The memories of a generation’: State funeral announced for Bert Newton as tributes flow

Announcing the state funeral on Saturday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews paid tribute to Mr Newton as “an icon, a larrikin and a born entertainer”.

“We have never known TV  without Bert – he was there from the beginning,” he said in a statement.

“From black and white to colour – as TV changed, Bert endured.

“Bert will live on in the memories of an entire generation.”

Newton is survived by his wife Patti, his wife of more than 46 years, their children Lauren and Matthew, and six grandchildren.

Patti has accepted the Victorian government offer of a state funeral, with details expected to be shared over coming days.

Family friend and entertainment reporter Peter Ford confirmed Newton’s death on Saturday evening and said on Sunday the likely venue for the funeral was St Patrick’s Cathedral.

“Sadly he didn’t get the last chapter he deserved,” he wrote on Twitter. “He was a great mentor & friend to me.”

Mr Ford said even up to a week ago, the veteran presenter was smiling and spreading joy with his grandchildren. 

As tributes flowed on Sunday for the iconic presenter, who was affectionally known as Moonface, Prime Minister Scott Morrison described him as a “welcome” guest on TVs in homes across Australia.

“Australia loved Bert. There will never be another like him,” said Mr Morrison, who was in Rome for the G20 summit.

“Bert came into our homes and made himself very welcome. He was a regular guest and we always looked forward to his next visit.”

He said Newton could “give and take a joke”.

“He could laugh at himself, I’m sure that’s what made Australians warm to him as much as we did,” he added.

Colleagues, family and friends also flooded social media with words of love and admiration for the entertainer.

Fellow Australian presenter and comedian Adam Hills said “Australian TV wouldn’t be what it is without Bert”.

Fellow comedian Rove McManus said he was heartbroken.

“I don’t know that I’m ready to accept this yet. Today I lost a mentor and friend, our country lost an icon, but most importantly a family has lost their hero and soul mate,” he tweeted.

Malaysian-born Australian singer Kandiah Kamalesvaran, better known as Kamahl, described him as a “wonderful, wonderful man”. 

Born in 1938 in the Melbourne suburb of North Fitzroy, Newton was the youngest of six children.

He started in the radio business aged 12 and then signed a contract with Channel 7 in 1957, the year commercial television was launched in Australia.

He scaled the heights of Australian entertainment on stage and screen, becoming part of a trio known as the kings of Australian television alongside Graham Kennedy and Don Lane.

Australian entertainment legend and four-time Gold Logie award winner Bert Newton has died at the age of 83.

Source: AAP

Newton’s TV credits include In Melbourne Tonight, The Graham Kennedy Show, The Don Lane Show, Good Morning Australia, New Faces, Bert’s Family Feud and 20 to 1.

On stage, he played roles in the musicals Wicked, Annie, Grease and as narrator in The Rocky Horror Show.

He became a Logie Hall of Fame inductee, winning four Gold Logie awards and receiving numerous honours including an Order of Australia, an MBE and a Centenary Medal.

Nine’s director of television Michael Healy on Sunday described Newton as a “giant of our industry” who “brought unbridled joy and laughter into our homes”.

Wiggles founder Anthony Field thanked Newton for “all that you did to entertain Australia”, while entertainer Rhonda Burchmore said she was “absolutely heartbroken but so very grateful to have had this glorious Bert as a dear friend and mentor”.

Meanwhile Radio and TV personality John Burgess said the void Newton left behind was “immeasurable”.

With AAP

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