Since television began in Australia, Bert Newton, with his twin talents as a natural comedian and compere, has been a favourite with the viewing public, visiting celebrities and critics alike. During a visit to Australia, Bob Hope said of Bert, "Personally, he is a fine man. Professionally, he is one of the best I've ever seen."
His remarkable career has been recognised by an incredible collection of awards including:
18 Logies - of which 6 are Gold Logies
The Gold Sammy
The Gold TV Star award
Gold Penguin - incorporating the Colin Bednall award for contribution to television
Gold Penguin - Performance in TV Variety
3 Penguin Citations - Television Society of Australia
Footlighter award - from his entertainment peers
For his radio work, Bert received the Inaugural Grand Pater. In his last year at 3UZ he won the Pater for the Most Popular Radio Personality. He was awarded the Pater for the Year's Best Radio Special, 3DB: The First 60 Years. This program also received a citation at the New York Radio Festival.
His dedicated professionalism was acknowledged with an MBE from Queen Elizabeth II, for services to the Performing Arts.
Bert has earned a reputation as Australia's premier Master of Ceremonies for special event TV. He has hosted the TV Week Logie Awards a record 18 times. Other specials Bert has hosted include: The Royal Charity Concert before Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, The Royal Gala Concert attended by the Prince and Princess of Wales, three specials celebrating Australian television history and the Sydney Entertainment Centre opening.
Bert was the compere of the Nine Network's New Faces program, which was on air for 22 years. This show was a particular favourite of Bert's and he has always been very proud of the show and its success.
He hosted Tonight with Bert Newton which is of special significance - he was the first compere to present a four-nightly variety show on a national basis.
Bert's popularity stems from his affable nature and sense of humour. He was born on July 23, 1938 in North Fitzroy which was a working class suburb in those days. He was educated by the Marist Brothers who remain an inspiration to him today. One of six children, he was very close to his mother, Gladys, who died in 1981. His father, Joseph, served in World War II, returning when Bert was seven years old and died in 1950 when Bert was eleven.
That same year Bert went along to the Melbourne 3XY radio studios to watch a broadcast of the Peter's Ice Cream Peter's Pals program and was captivated by the magic of entertainment.
He made his radio debut shortly after on this 3XY show. When he left school, St. Joseph's Marist Brothers in North Fitzroy, Bert was given a full-time job with 3XY as a turntable operator. Impressed by his talent and enthusiasm, the management put him on air as an announcer. He was 15 years of age!
Bert attracted the attention of the Seven Network in its first days of broadcasting and was signed up to compere The Late Show joining his good friend the late Noel Ferrier. Bert's opposition was Graham Kennedy in the same time slot on the Nine Network. In March 1959 they ceased being rivals and teamed up on Channel Nine.
It was the start of an historic partnership that viewers were to love when the inimitable team were In Melbourne Tonight. No-one who saw Kennedy and Newton on IMT could ever forget their brand of humour and entertainment and Bert became one of Australia's favourite sons with his impeccable sense of timing and his natural warm humour.
Bert and Don Lane combined in the highest rating national tonight show in Australia's history.
Albert Watson "Bert" Newton, AM MBE is an iconic Australian television performer. Newton was born in Fitzroy, an inner suburb of Melbourne, Victoria.
"Bert was a 'surprise guest' on the evening and he was very well received. Some of the feedback we received was, 'Bert is definitely still the man!'; 'What a great choice' and 'what a surprise!'."
- Helen Field, Office Manager, Liquor Stax Australia