Celebrities, politicians and Australian TV personalities were among the few fortunate attendees at Bert Newton’s state funeral in Melbourne on Friday – but millions more were given the chance to view the celebration of his life with a special broadcast.
With speeches from Eddie McGuire, Daryl Somers, Premier Dan Andrews and many more, mourners gathered in St Patrick’s Cathedral to honour the life and career of the showbiz legend.
During one of the most stirring parts of the tribute, the Newton family shared a collection of special images from throughout Bert’s amazing career.
From meeting Charles and Diana to the many times he shared a set with Molly Meldrum, the pictorial overview was one of the highlights of the special broadcast.
One of the most anticipated speeches came from Bert and Patti’s son Matthew, who paid his respects from New York.
Matthew honoured his father with a speech that was read out by legendary voiceover artist Peter Smith.
His speech read, “I am very sorry that due to the pandemic I can’t be with you to celebrate,” he said.
“Growing up, I never really watched Bambi or Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. I didn’t want to – what fascinated me were the movies that created the black and white glow from my dad’s office.”
“A lot has been said about my dad’s sharp wit, but my two favourite lines weren’t said on TV, or even in front of an audience. Once was in a doctor’s office and there were only two people in the room – one was a doctor, the other was an 11-year-old me.”
“Dad wanted to pop the tension of an awkward situation, see another human being light up and laugh. It was a superpower and he always tried to use it for good.”
“Everyone knows he was a great entertainer but what people don’t know is that he would be there in the tough times too – no one knows that more than me.”
“Over the last 10 years, while I have lived abroad, Dad and I would play our conversational songs over Zoom and FaceTime, which allowed me to connect and reconnect with my whole family, especially Dad.”
“Our final conversation was different from the usual and we both knew it. We just said how much we loved each other. During this wonderful chat my mother was pottering around in the background, adding her two cents in, as usual.”
“At one point she took something into another room and the second she left, Dad leaned in and whispered, ‘I think she’s poisoning my food, Matthew.’”
“We both laughed and laughed until we cried. Although given why we’re here today, Mum, perhaps I should’ve taken him more seriously.”
“You two were a team, are a team, and even though you’re not on stage together anymore, the show must go on. Dad was the ultimate host or compere – never presenter, a term he loathed.”
“I’m going to really miss jamming with you, mate. Here’s looking at you, kid.”
Vale, Bert Newton. You will be remembered fondly for generations for bringing so much joy to so many.
Image credit: NineNews / Newton family / Getty Images
This article first appeared on Over60.