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Reg Grundy, Australian TV pioneer passes away, aged 92

Reg grundyReg Grundy, Australian TV pioneer, creator and producer of hit dramas such as Neighbours, and the man known as the king of game shows, has passed away at his home in Bermuda aged 92.

Radio broadcaster Alan Jones, a long time friend, announced Grundy’s passing on his 2GB breakfast show this morning saying “So ends a remarkable chapter of a great Australian. Television came and Reg Grundy was full of ideas”.

“Reg Grundy, with ideas running right through his head, produced Until Tomorrow, Class of ’74, Young Doctors, Restless Years, Prisoner, Sons and Daughters, Waterloo Station, Neighbours and of course then produced Abba: The Movie, which opened in 1977 and it went on, building a phenomenal international empire,” Jones said.

Grundy got his start as a producer in 1959, when his radio show Wheel of Fortune, was adapted for Australian television. In 1960, he launched the Grundy Organisation, which went on to give the world such classic brands as Sale of The Century, Going For Gold, Family Feud, Scrabble, Hot Streak and I’ve Got A Secret.

In 1985 Grundy launched Neighbours, which became an instant hit on Australian television, launched the careers of the likes of Kylie Minogue and Guy Pearce and became one of Australia’s most successful TV exports. Other Australian actors who have since gone onto major success in the US like Russell Crowe, Jesse Spencer and Alan Dale are also Neighbours alumni. The show is still on air in Australia and the U.K.

FremantleMedia Australia CEO Ian Hogg said Grundy was a national treasure and icon who will be sorely missed.

“His legacy to Australian entertainment is insurmountable,” Hogg told the Nine network, with generations of Australians growing up with Grundy productions. “His innate understanding of great storytelling and entertainment lives on today through programs such as Family Feud, Wentworth and Neighbours.”

In 2010 Grundy told FRAPA, the Format Recognition an Protection Association, that he was proud of all his formats.

“But I must say that the one that still delights me is Questions Pour Un Champion, which I devised along with Bob Noah in Los Angeles over 20 years ago and which is still running in France,” he said.  The format, inspired by Going For Gold, has been on air in France since 1988, where it remains hugely popular.

On the back of the games shows and dramas,  he built up a multimillion dollar international production and formats company, The Reg Grundy Organisation, which he sold to Pearsons in 1995 for $320 million, and which eventually became part of Fremantle Media. He continued to work in Australian media, founding  RG Capital in 1995, with investments  in media, entertainment and advertising, with his wife, actress Joy Chambers, while living in Bermuda where he was based for the last 30 years.  In 2015 his  personal wealth was estimated by BRW at $809 million.

Grundy was named a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2008 for his outstanding contributions to the television industry and promotion of Australia overseas.

He had reportedly been battling ill health over the last few months.

 

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