Creator of Neighbours Reg Grundy dies aged 92
PIONEERING Australian TV producer Reg Grundy - who helped create successful programs such as Neighbours, Prisoner, and Wheel of Fortune - has died at his home in Bermuda, aged 92.
His wife Joy Chambers was by his side when he died, a spokeswoman said to the ABC.
Grundy was inducted into the Logies Hall of Fame in 1993, and was given an International Emmy Founders Award in 1996.
He was named a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2008 for his outstanding contributions to the television industry and promotion of Australia overseas.
As well as producing game shows such as Wheel of Fortune and Blankety Blanks, Grundy also produced successful drama series including The Young Doctors, Prisoner, Sons and Daughters, and Neighbours.
He and his wife, who acted in several of his programs, created RG Capital in 1995, with projects in media, entertainment and advertising.
Television personality Bert Newton paid tribute to Grundy, describing him as "a true giant" in the entertainment industry.
Newton has known Mr Grundy since 1959 and said he had a wonderful sense of humour and will be missed.
"The number of people in the industry would be in the hundreds and thousands who would be considering today the loss of one of the truly greats of television," he said.
"Away from the cameras and away from production Reg was a very affable person, wonderful sense of humour."
He said Grundy not only conquered Australian television but experienced international success.
"Whilst there were already a couple of panel shows and quiz shows on the air, he just had this indefinable ability to know which ones were going to be successful and how to make them a success," Newton said.
"He went from an Australian producer, probably small-time would be the best description, to being a major producer around the world, especially in the key areas of the Unites States and England but also of course remaining one of the top producers in Australia."
Broadcaster Alan Jones, a friend of Grundy's, revealed news of the death on his Sydney radio program.
"So ends a remarkable chapter of a great Australian," Jones said on 2GB. "Television came and Reg Grundy was full of ideas.
"He tried to sell them to Channel Nine in Sydney but he got the sack, so he went to QTQ in Brisbane where he continued to produce game shows."
Jones said Grundy met his wife after she auditioned to become the "golden girl" on game show I've Got A Secret.
"The show became Temptation Temptation, became Great Temptation and then it became Sale of the Century," Jones said.
"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."
Former Wheel of Fortune host John Burgess first met Grundy in 1984 when he was asked to audition for the game show.
He said Grundy's influence on TV was felt abroad as well as in Australia.
"Of course, in England as well, Neighbours is still very strong," he told ABC 24. "He was a man of many facets and all-round good bloke, easy to talk to and loved a chat too, by the way.
"He had the happy knack of being able to pick things out from a huge array of shows and what have you that were doing okay and turned them into super hits."
Well-known casting consultant Jan Russ worked with Grundy on Prisoner and Neighbours and said he would be remembered for all his shows.
"He was absolutely charming and he was totally Mr Television. He really knew and understood everything about television, it was his whole life," he said.