Dr Reg Grundy OBE AC - Recipient of the 2010 AFI Raymond Longford Award
In his long and illustrious career, Reg Grundy became one of Australia’s most successful and innovative media and television entrepreneurs. In recognition of this living legend, and to acknowledge his huge contribution to the industry, the Australian Film Institute presented Reg Grundy with the AFI Raymond Longford Award. We were thrilled that after a long absence from Australia, Reg and his wife Joy Chambers-Grundy made the journey to attend the 2010 Samsung Mobile AFI Awards Ceremony, held on 11 December, in Melbourne’s Regent Theatre.
First presented in 1968, the AFI Raymond Longford Award is the highest honour that the Australian Film Institute can bestow upon an individual. Named in honour of the great Australian film pioneer, Raymond Longford, the award recognises a person who has made a truly outstanding contribution to the enrichment of Australia’s screen environment and culture. Reg Grundy is truly such an individual.
Grundy was the producer of many much-loved game shows such as Wheel of Fortune, Sale of the Century and Perfect Match. His slate of television dramas are among the most fondly remembered, including The Restless Years, The Young Doctors, Prisoner, Sons and Daughters, and the most successful and enduring of all, Neighbours.
Reginald Roy “Reg” Grundy, AC, OBE was born in 1923, and before his career in television, he served in the Australian Army during World War II as a Sergeant stationed in Sydney. Grundy started as a boxing and sports commentator for radio in Sydney in 1947, and originally devised The Wheel of Fortune game show for radio, moving with that show to television, starting on Channel 9 in 1959 – where he also hosted the show, which was the first TV program in Australia to air five days a week. He founded the Reg Grundy organisation in 1960, producing game shows for the
Australian and overseas market, before branching out into drama in 1973. The company subsequently produced numerous successful soap operas and drama series.
In the 1970s, Reg took his Australian series out into the world, knocking on doors for seven years before making his breakthrough in 1979 with the sale of Prisoner to KTLA in Los Angeles, and its subsequent syndication throughout the USA. Grundy’s sale of Neighbours in the early 1980s, to the UK’s BBC, was the start in an international shift in perception towards Australian programs and Australian culture. At the height of Neighbours’ popularity it was seen in over 70 countries of the world, and viewed by 20 million Britons a day. A great many
more of Reg’s programs sold internationally and his company, Grundy Worldwide, expanded to where he was making local TV programming in 20 countries
Grundy was awarded the Founders Award at the 24th International Emmy Awards in 1996. The International Emmy Founders Award recognises an individual who has made an impact on the television industry and crosses cultural boundaries. Other recipients include Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby, Jim Henson and Sir David Attenborough.
Reg is married to the actress and author, Joy Chambers, who has appeared in several of his continuing dramas. Joy accompanied Reg on stage to accept the AFI Raymond Longford Award, and together, along with Alan Jones, they entertained the audience with their natural warmth and humour. Reg proved again that he’s a master of comic timing – and also that he’s an inspiring motivator, repeating one of his favourite mottos: “If you keep throwing punches, you’re bound to hit something.”
Congratulations RG. Thanks for entertaining us and keep throwing those punches!
Reg Grundy joins a prestigious group of past recipients, including Geoffrey Rush, Fred Schepisi, Ken G. Hall, Tim Burstall, Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell, Jack Thompson, David Stratton, Ted Robinson, and many more.
To read more about Reg Grundy’s extraordinary life, Pier 9 published Reg Grundy’s autobiography, Reg Grundy, in October 2010. For more information visit www.murdochbooks.com.au