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13 Febuary - Graham Kennedy, "The King of TV"

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13 Febuary - Graham Kennedy, "The King of TV"

Unread postby Max ADU » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:50 pm

Australian Birthday Today Graham Cyril Kennedy AO, born15 February 1934, Balaclava Victoria - died 25 May 2005, Bowra New South Wales was an Australian radio, television and film performer.[/l]


Kennedy was two years old when his parents moved to Carlisle Street, St Kilda for two years. Shortly before World War II, his parents divorced. Kennedy was largely raised by his grandparents, [i]"Pop" Kennedy
and "Grandma Scott", to whom he remained particularly close until her death. Graham was often called "Gra Gra" (pronounced "gray-gray").

Kennedy later said that he had often wished his mother and father had never married.
I wasn't enamoured of either of them [...] they betrayed me [...] divorce is not too much fun for a little nine-year-old

Kennedy was and remains an icon in Australian TV, an accolade earned from his hosting of the long-running In Melbourne Tonight (1957) or IMT on Channel Nine. With his sidekick Bert Newton and aided and abetted by a range of brilliant comedians including Joff Allen and a young Patti McGrath, now Bert Newton's wife.

Kennedy is the most awarded star of Australian television and was widely regarded as the undisputed "King" of Australian television. Kennedy was known for his flawless timing, his freewheeling ability to "wing it", his obsessive perfectionism.

Graham Kennedy received five Gold Logies for the Most Popular Personality on Australian Television (1960, 1967, 1969, 1974, and 1978). When the Logies began in 1960, it was Graham who coined the name Logie Award.

Do you remember this famous ad?
Watch on youtube.com

Kennedy finally quit IMT in 1969 and retired from TV for two years.

In 1972 he returned with The Graham Kennedy Show, but this was abruptly cancelled in early 1975 not long after the now legendary "crow call" incident.

On the show of 5 March 1975 Kennedy imitated a crow ("faaaaaark") during a live read of a Cedel Hairspray advert by Rosemary Margan.

Apparently it wasn't the first time Kennedy had used the joke, but for some reason it stood out this time and Network Nine supposedly received hundreds of complaints, followed by a rash of predictably scandalised newspaper headlines the next day.

The incident was reported to the Broadcasting Control Board and as a result Graham was banned from performing live on TV for an indefinite period. He was forced to pre-record the show on videotape.

Graham's first film appearance was a bit part in the American-made On The Beach in 1959 with his first serious feature role was a part in the award-winning adaptation of Frank Hardy's Power Without Glory in 1976.

Other impressive performances in featured roles were in Don's Party (1976), The Odd Angry Shot (1979) and The Club (1980), a cameo as the Prime Minister in Phillipe Mora's superhero musical spoof The Return of Captain Invincible (1983).

Graham was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal in the 2001 Queen's New Years Honours List for his services to the entertainment industry.

In the 1990s, Kennedy's health declined. He was diabetic, and a heavy smoker and drinker. In his final years, he had numerous medical emergencies. On 18 December 2001 his housekeeper found him unconscious and dehydrated. On 14 June 2002 Kennedy was found unconscious at the foot of the stairs at his home, suffering a broken leg and skull with suspected brain damage.

Tony Sattler said
"Between the diabetes and the booze, there's not much left of him", adding that the death of Kennedy's dog Henry was "the final trigger".

At 4:30 am on 25 May 2005, Kennedy died at age 71 at the Kenilworth Nursing Home, Bowral, from complications from pneumonia.

Kennedy's ashes were scattered in the sea at Kiama attended by a group which included "Noeline Brown, Tony Sattler, John Mangos, Stuart Wagstaff, Kennedy's former housekeeper Sally Baker-Beall and her husband John, and old friends Christine and Nicholas Deeprose.
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