Bert Newton is one of Australia’s most popular personalities.
The 82-year-old has charmed audiences on radio, TV or the stage, and has done so for the last seven decades.
Newton may have slowed down in recent years due to some health issues, but he still remains one of the most entertaining stars in the country.
Here is a look back at his career from eager junior radio announcer to beloved TV legend.
Who is Bert Newton?
Bert Newton is Australia’s longest-serving TV personality.
The beloved TV host started his career in the entertainment industry at just 15, after rejecting his previous plan to join the priesthood. In 1952, he was hired as a junior announcer on Melbourne radio station 3XY. Just two years later, Newton was a presenter of a vox pop-style program recorded on the streets, called Melbourne Speaks.
Newton soon made the move to TV, hosting The Late Show before making his debut on In Melbourne Today in 1959. Later that year, Newton appeared on its sister program, In Melbourne Tonight, where he became a regular and featured alongside fellow entertainer and good friend Graham Kennedy, aka King of Television.
READ MORE: Bert Newton and Patti Newton’s complete relationship timeline
After hosting The Bert Newton Show in early 1960, the comedic duo appeared together on the weekly program The Graham Kennedy Show on Nine. This show would be cancelled just two years later.
After a brief return to radio, Newton appeared on TV again in 1975, cast as the sidekick aka “barrel boy” to US import Don Lane on The Don Lane Show.
It was the American comedian who gave Newton his now-famous nickname “Moonface”.
Hosting gigs on gameshow Ford Superquiz, talent show New Faces and Tonight with Bert Newton followed before he was tapped on the shoulder to host Good Morning Australia on Network Ten in 1992. He remained host of the program for 14 years before the show was cancelled in late 2005.
“Fourteen years is a long time for any television show and this one was very special to me,” he said in a statement at the time.
“In making my decision, I felt with the show going to end, it made sense for me to make the break, too. I leave Ten with some great memories.”
What is Bert Newton doing now?
After leaving Network 10 in 2005, Newton signed a three-year deal with Nine in 2006.
He went on to host Bert’s Family Feud, 20 To 1 and What A Year, and even reprised his role as Logies host in 2006, co-hosting with fellow former Gold Logie winners — Lisa McCune, Georgie Parker, Ray Martin and Daryl Somers — before hosting the ceremony solo in 2010.
Throughout his career, Newton has hosted the Logies an unprecedented 20 times. But despite taking a semi-step back from the limelight, he told the AAP in 2009 that retirement was still far off.
“Life at the moment, I wouldn’t change anything,” he said. “I think you slow down for one of two reasons. If your health remains OK, you’ve got a clear path; if it doesn’t, you’ve got to rethink things.
“Retirement, as I see it, in showbusiness is usually a result of health that could be better or a tap on the shoulder. And I haven’t had that tap on the shoulder yet. I keep moving around pretty quickly.”
In 2006, Nine’s retrospective TV special, 50 Years 50 Stars, named Newton the number one Australian television star of the past 50 years.
And it’s no wonder — the star affectionately called Moonface has charmed audiences on stage too. For many years, he had starring roles on the beloved musicals Beauty And The Beast (1995), The Sound Of Music (1999), The Producers (2012), Grease (2013) and Wicked (2009), where he played the role of the Wizard.
What is Bert Newton’s net worth?
Thanks to his seven decades in the Australian entertainment industry, Bert Newton is worth a reported $15 million.
Why was Bert Newton hospitalised?
Bert Newton was hospitalised on May 8 and required emergency surgery after reportedly developing a toe infection.
Entertainment reporter Peter Ford told 2GB radio host Ben Fordham that the veteran TV host went through leg amputation surgery in his latest health battle.
Ford described the situation as a “life or death decision” and said Newton’s wife, Patti Newton, and family are determined not to present the situation as a “sad story”.
“The way they see it, Bert had a choice. He wants to stick around, he loves his wife, his kids, his grandkids he just adores, so he wants to be around for as long as possible to enjoy that,” Ford said. “But life’s going to be quite different from now on.”
Newton has experienced a series of heart and lung problems over the years. In 2011, he spent more than a week in hospital battling life-threatening viral pneumonia in both lungs, then months later he had to return to hospital to have fluid drained from his lungs.
In 2012, he also underwent a five-and-a-half-hour quadruple heart bypass surgery after experiencing chest pains.
“I kissed him on the forehead and will leave him be,” Patti said outside the hospital at the time, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
“I just went in and saw him for a second and he is not a pretty sight at the moment but hopefully that will get better. [He has] tubes everywhere but that is how, I suppose, you get a heart working again.”
Newton concerned fans again in November 2020, when his wife Patti shared an image of him from hospital.
“Berts been in hospital, all good. He’s got a Lot of Living to Do,” she captioned a photo of him wearing a hospital gown. It was reported Newton was simply having routine tests done at the time.
In sickness and in health, Patti has stood firm by Newton’s side, and it’s her unwavering support that has helped him bounce back after each hospitalisation.
“I am on a leash, sort of. Patti takes extra special care of what I do and particularly what I don’t do,” he joked with the Herald Sun in the past. “I had a bad run for a while health-wise, but now I am pretty good.
“Since [the surgery] I have had a couple of bouts of pneumonia. Every morning when I wake up, I read the death columns in the paper, and if I am not there we get up and away we go.”
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