Australian TV pioneer Reg Grundy dead at 92

Reg Grundy, the man whose TV shows defined Australian entertainment through the 1960s, 70s, 80s and beyond, has died in Bermuda aged 92.

Reg-grundy- wikia

Grundy: “His legacy to Australian entertainment is insurmountable”

Reg Grundy, the man whose TV shows defined Australian entertainment through the 1960s, 70s, 80s and beyond, has died in Bermuda aged 92.

Grundy’s knack for tapping into the zeitgeist led to shows such as Neighbours, The Young Doctors, Prisoner and  game shows such as Wheel of Fortune and Sale of the Century.

Grundy began his career as a radio announcer at 2SM in Sydney where he is credited with creating the game Wheel of Fortune, which grew to become a global game show staple and anchored his business launch in 1960.

Grundy sold his business to Pearson in 1995, which then went on to become Fremantle Media.

The impact of the producer and his shows in Australian society was so profound that his name entered local slang for underwear – putting on your Reg Grundies.

In a demonstration of the timelessness of the shows he created, Family Feud won the Logie for Best Entertainment Program at the 2016 awards.

Family Feud still a global hit

Family Feud remains a global hit

As The cream of Australia’s TV industry woke this morning from the Logie celebrations, tributes began to pour in.

Ian Hogg, CEO at Fremantle Media, said Grundy’s impact on entertainment in Australia and around the world could not be calculated.

“Reg Grundy is a national treasure. His legacy to Australian entertainment is insurmountable,” Hogg said.

“His visionary ability to know how to connect Australian families through some of this country’s most loved programming has stood the test of time. Generations of Australians have grown up with and been touched by a Grundy Production, be it Sons and Daughters, Sale of the Century, Prisoner, The Price Is Right and hundreds of other programs”

Grundy's picture still hold pride of place in the offices of Fremantle Media

Grundy’s picture still holds pride of place in the offices of Fremantle Media

Hogg said Grundy’s ability to understand what audiences enjoyed was not limited to a particular era.

“His innate understanding of great storytelling and entertainment lives on today through programs such as Family Feud, Wentworth and Neighbours. Reg is an icon and he will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with Joy and family at this difficult time.”

Network Ten, which rode on the back of the success of Neighbours after picking the show up from The Seven Network which had failed to make it work, called Grundy a pioneer.

“Our industry owes everything to pioneers like Reg Grundy and Hector Crawford,” Ten head of drama Rick Maier said.

“When Australian voices and faces were still to be heard on our screens, Reg brought us home-grown game shows and serials. From every network into every home, he put entertainment first and foremost, changed the way television drama could be produced, and then exported that expertise to the world. So many of us owe our training and our craft to the man who started it all. His legacy is boundless.”

Grundy wheel tributeThe influence of Grundy’s shows from the 1960s through to today was also reflected on social media, with tributes coming from around the globe, many with personal memories of the impact of his shows.

Stars of Neighbours have also spoken about the legacy Grundy left Australian TV, with Colette Mann saying she owed her entire career to the producer.

“Basically I have Reg Grundy to thank for having a career,” Mann said.

“If it hadn’t been for Prisoner, which was a benchmark in Australian television – Reg took the gamble at the time when women were not cast in strong roles – it was groundbreaking and I know I wouldn’t be still doing what I love today if it wasn’t for his vision.”

Stefan Dennis, who played Paul Robinson from the show’s very first episode spoke about how lucky he had been to work on many Grundy productions.

“I was fortunate enough to cut my teeth on many of Reg’s shows, such as Young Doctors and Prisoner, which eventually led to the role of Paul Robinson in what has become an international success story, Neighbours,” Dennis said.

“I had the pleasure of being the on-screen nephew of Reg’s lovely wife Joy. Hearing of the passing of Reg has genuinely rocked my world because not only was he my boss but an inspiration proving anything can be achieved if you believe in yourself.

“Reg was a tough businessman who was loved by many. I will miss you Reg and my heart goes out to the family, most particularly Joy who will devastated by the loss of her husband and best friend.”

Seven West Media CEO, Tim Worner, said Grundy had given Australian television a global quality.

“All of us in television owe a deep ‘thank you’ to Reg Grundy,” Worner said.

“In many respects he was ahead of his time, a true pioneer who broke new ground in television and developed and nurtured the careers of so many in front of and behind the camera, and took Australian television to the world.”

Simon Canning


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