Kerri-Anne Kennerley: "I've got so much more to do"
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In the past, a Hall of Fame Logie has often been given when the recipient had retired or was in the twilight of their career, with the award as a rewarding gesture for a job well done.
Kerri-Anne Kennerley would like to state clearly that is not the case this year, having been inducted into the Logies Hall of Fame just a few weeks ago.
“There’s still so much about this industry that excites me, and I’ve got so much more to do yet,” she says defiantly.
“I still love working in TV, as it is a medium that keeps changing and has kept me changing right along with it.”
The Hall of Fame Logie was awarded to Kennerley on the 50th anniversary of her 1967 television debut on the Brisbane kids’ TV show, Everybody In.
Kennerley celebrating her Logie Award Hall of Fame induction
Her current TV role is one of the team of reporters on the Seven Network’s Sunday Night current affairs show.
As she concluded at the end of her Logies acceptance speech, “Darwin said it was not the strongest or most intelligent of the species that survive, it is the most adaptable to change.”
If anyone in television is qualified to talk about survival, it’s Kennerley, 63, known affectionately by her initials as KAK. Yet ask for her insights into what makes a survivor, and she typically does not wax lyrical and instead gets straight to the point.
“Hard work, really, and being prepared to put in the hard yards,” she says. “Some people think there must be more to it than that, but it’s all about being prepared to work hard, being fiercely keen, doing the homework and learning the lessons along the way.
“I’ve always lived by my mum’s advice: ‘If you want it, go and get it. Do it yourself.’ Such fabulous advice that has guided me every step of the way.”
There have been many chapters in Brisbane-born Kennerley’s journey through television. She made her greatest impact on 13 years of Good Morning Australia, followed by hosting such other landmarks as Monday to Friday, Midday and another 11 years on Mornings with Kerri-Anne.
Watch some hilarious Kerri-Anne moments over the years
Hers is a talent that has indeed evolved and changed with the times, and forced her to continue to shift gears and change directions.
“Television’s been very good to me. I think I have also been good at learning, but have always liked doing things my own way.
“It’s also given me such an education. Over the past 50 years, I’ve made a living in the industry I love the most.”
And that passion has always shown, from notoriously dancing the Macarena with then-Treasurer Peter Costello to duelling with One Nation’s Pauline Hanson and hilariously struggling with out-of-it actor John Stamos. Then there was being riotously parodied by comedian Gina Riley’s character, Kerri-Anne Kennel.
“I do think I have had a few more hits than misses, and plan to have a few more in the years ahead as well,” she says with a hint of well-earned pride.
The past few years have, however, served up more than a fair share of personal dramas to contend with. In 2012, Kennerley waged a successful battle with breast cancer, and just last year, faced her greatest challenge when her husband John suffered an accident which left him paralysed from the neck down. John and Kerri-Anne married in 1984, and have been one of showbusiness’s enduring pairs.
As a result, John now requires around the clock care at their Sydney home, with John’s son Simon and Kerri-Anne as his primary carers.
Kerri-Anne alongside her husband and step-son, Simon
John’s appearance at the Logies to watch his wife’s induction into the Hall of Fame was one of the highlights of the ceremony. As she poignantly commented in her speech, “I would give away 50 years of this incredible career just to have you standing here by my side, holding my hand.” She then added defiantly, “But I promise you one thing – we haven’t finished yet.”
John’s need for care means life is now something of a juggling act, but Kerri-Anne says they have learned to adapt to the routines so it always works out.
“As long as we have our team of carers like John’s son Simon, it gives me the ability to do the TV things I still love to do, and that I know John wants me to do,” she says.
If she knows anything about surviving in the ever-changing media landscape, it’s about always having plans and knowing how to make them a reality.
Already on her agenda is more assignments on Sunday Night, as well as a memoir she hopes to have out by the end of the year. She also is considering reviving the TV staple This Is Your Life.
“I think’s it’s time for that to come back again and I’m sure it would be a hit with a whole new generation of viewers,” she says.
“It’s all about telling good stories – that’s what I have always been excited by. Life is about living out a good story.”
Image credits: (feature) TV Week; (in-text) Kerri-Anne Kennerley / Instagram
What’s your favourite memory of Kerri-Anne Kennerley’s years on TV?