"... there was a radio program on 3XY Melbourne called Scouting Around, compered by the late Tom Jones. One week the broadcast was recorded at our Scout Hall, and as the direct result of this, I began to appear on 3XY".
This led to regular appearances on a Saturday morning children's show, in which he worked with Stan Rofe and McKenzie.
In May 1954, 3XY employed him as a junior announcer (aged 15); by 1955 he was presenting In Melbourne Speaks.
Newton left HSV-7 and went to GTV-9 in early 1959 to host a daytime television program In Melbourne Today.. After appearing in a live commercial on In Melbourne Tonight with his friend Graham Kennedy at Easter 1959, he began to make regular appearances on the show and assumed hosting duties on some episodes. This began a lifelong association with Kennedy.
In January 1962 the national Graham Kennedy's Channel 9 Show (a one-night-a-week national version of IMT) was cancelled and replaced by the similar The Channel 9 Show, hosted by Bert Newton.
On the show Newton would frequently appear in outlandish costumes, often sending up celebrities. One of the most memorable events on the show was when Bert Newton sent-up Demis Roussos, and Roussos was sent on to the set while Newton was doing the impersonation.
On those nights he was the star, rather than a 'second banana'.
He famously said to Muhammad Ali "I like the boy", not knowing that "boy" could be interpreted as a racial slur.
In 1973 American actor Michael Cole, best known for his role in the TV series The Mod Squad, accepted an award while obviously drunk and ended his barely coherent thank-you speech with a four-letter word.
Newton once again hosted the TV Week Logie Awards in 2006. After the awards he had a fall and injured himself. The injury was visible for a number of Bert's Family Feud Episodes.
His film roles include
Newton published an autobiography Bert! : Bert Newton's Own Story in 1979.
Newton was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in 1979, for his service to the performing arts.
On 12 June 2006 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia "for service to the entertainment industry as a presenter, actor and comedian, and through support for a range of medical research and charitable organisations" .
"For Bert" was written by GTV-9's musical director Brian Rangott. The lyrics include:
In 1997 Newton was the subject of a This Is Your Life tribute. His wife Patti was honoured with her own tribute in 2001.
The Best of Bert Newton was aired in 2002. Channel Nine Salutes Bert Newton was broadcast in early 2004, depicting the career of Newton from his earliest days.
In 2001 he was awarded a Centenary Medal.
The four Gold Logies - 1979, 1981, 1982 and 1984 - were for his roles in The Don Lane Show. He was also nominated for the Gold Logie in 2006 for his role in Good Morning Australia, and again nominated in 2007 for his roles in 20 to 1 and Bert's Family Feud.
Show business awards include a Mo Award (1997), a Television Society of Australia award (1981 and 1983), three Penguin Citations and three Pater ("Professional Excellence in Television and Radio Arts and Sciences) awards for radio.
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of television in Australia, Channel 9 ran a show titled 50 Years, 50 Stars, where they looked back at the Top 50 stars of Australian television. Bert Newton was listed as the #1 Australian TV star of the past 50 years.
On Wednesday 23 July 2008, Channel 9 marked Bert's 70th birthday with a star studded one hour special This Is Your Life hosted by Mike Monroe.
Newton lived at home with his mother until the age of 36. In 1974 he married Patti McGrath, whom he had known since they worked together in radio and later at HSV-7. They were married at St Dominic's Parish Church in Camberwell, with Graham Kennedy as best man. According to the police, there were ten thousand people outside the church.
The Newtons have a son, Matthew, and a daughter, Lauren. Matthew Newton is an actor and has appeared in a number of Australian films and television dramas. On 4 November 2006 Lauren married swimmer Matt Welsh in Melbourne.
In December 1993, Newton admitted to having had a gambling problem. An article published in The Sydney Morning Herald in July 2004 said: "One day in late 1993, he woke up to read the front-page story he had been dreading: he was broke and owed $1 million." Newton sold two houses and agreed to pay creditors 40 cents in the dollar. Most of the money was owed to institutions or companies, banks, law firms and the Tax Office, rather than to individuals.
Newton's charity interests include the Gawler Foundation, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Sir Edward Dunlop Medical Research Foundation, the Bone Marrow Donor Institute, Guide Dogs Victoria and World Vision Australia.
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