Reg Grundy, Australian Game Show Pioneer and 'Neighbours' Creator, Dies at 92
Known as the game show king after creating formats like 'Scrabble' and 'Sale of the Century,' his drama 'Neighbours' launched the careers of Guy Pearce and Kylie Minogue.
Reg Grundy, Australian TV pioneer, creator and producer of hit dramas such as Neighbours and the man known as the king of game shows, has passed away at his home in Bermuda. He was 92.
Grundy had reportedly been battling ill health over the last few months.
Radio broadcaster Alan Jones, a longtime friend, announced Grundy’s passing on his breakfast show Monday local time, saying, "So ends a remarkable chapter of a great Australian. Television came and Reg Grundy was full of ideas.”
Jones continued: "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."
Grundy got his start as a producer in 1959, when his radio show Wheel of Fortune was adapted for Australian television. In 1960, he launched the Grundy Organisation, which went on to give the world such classic brands as Sale of the Century, Going for Gold, Family Feud, Scrabble, Hot Streak and I’ve Got a Secret.
In 1985, Grundy produced the classic soap opera Neighbours, which became an instant hit on Australian television, launching the careers of the likes of Kylie Minogue and Guy Pearce. Stars including Russell Crowe, Jesse Spencer and Alan Dale also are Neighbours alumni. The show, one of Australia's most successful TV exports, is still on the air in Australia and the U.K.
In 2010, Grundy told the Format Recognition and Protection Association that he was proud of all his formats. “But I must say that the one that still delights me is Questions pour un champion, which I devised along with Bob Noah in Los Angeles over 20 years ago and which is still running in France,” he said. The format, inspired by Going for Gold, has been on the air in France since 1988.
On the back of his game shows and dramas, Grundy built up a multimillion-dollar international production and formats company, The Reg Grundy Organisation, which he sold to Pearsons in 1995 for AUS$320 million ($236 million) and which eventually became part of FremantleMedia. He continued to work in Australian media, founding RG Capital in 1995, with investments in media, entertainment and advertising with his wife, actress Joy Chambers, while living in Bermuda, where he was based for the last 30 years. In 2015, his personal wealth was estimated at $600 million.
Grundy was named a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2008 for his outstanding contributions to the television industry and promotion of Australia overseas.