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Patti & Lauren Newton remember Bert's best behind-the-scenes moments on Good Morning Australia

The duo share happy memories the TV legend on the 30th anniversary of GMA.

By Jenny Brown
After Bert Newton's death, the letters kept coming, thousands and thousands of them. Friends, co-stars and fans alike, all paying tribute to the late TV icon's talent, good humour and generosity.
"Some of the stories that have come out are just incredible, things even I didn't know," his widow Patti, 76, reveals, smiling bravely through her tears.
After almost 47 years of marriage, Patti has been surprised by the memories shared since her much-loved partner bowed out last October, aged 83.
There is the mystery of his missing Logies – one was gifted years ago to a man dying of AIDS, while others have gone walkabout, Patti has discovered.
Bert and Patti Newton in their Good Morning Australia days. (Getty)
"I think a few of the Logies might have made a similar journey, been used to make somebody feel better," she says.
But as his family attest, Bert lived to give people joy.
"He was generous to a fault, really, but he loved it," reflects Patti, who is currently holidaying with daughter Lauren, son-in-law Matt Welsh and her six grandchildren.
"I often used to think he spent so much money on everyone else, but now I'm so glad he did. He made such a lot of people happy."
The huge outpouring of public affection is helping the Newton clan through their loss.
Even so Lauren, 42, confides, "We're falling apart, but we're doing the best we can. You have to keep going with little kids around, so it's a good distraction."
Shared memories are also comforting for the Newton family.
The days when Bert, Patti and Lauren all appeared on Good Morning Australia – which premiered as The Morning Show 30 years ago in January 1992 – are especially cherished.
"It was interesting because at that time things had slowed down a bit for Bert.
"He'd changed channels and didn't know quite where he was heading," Patti recalls, interviewed for the first time since her husband passed away.
WATCH: Danni Minogue and Bert Newton on Good Morning Australia. Post continues after video...
"So when he was asked whether he'd be interested in doing daytime TV, I thought it would be fabulous for him.
"Most of Bert's life he'd always been in partnership, with Graham Kennedy or Don Lane. Even at the Logies, he'd be working with lots of stars from overseas.
"But this was something that was just his. I always felt, up until then, that people didn't know the full extent of Bert's talent."
The show and its host, working closely with producer Leanne Mercer, proved a perfect fit for Bert through 14 seasons of mainly live-to-air television.
It also meant that Lauren, newly returned from a stint performing in Japan, could join her dad as an on-screen reporter for two-and-a-half years from 2003 to 2005.
The close-knit showbiz family try to soldier on. (Instagram)
"I did two segments a week and it was so exciting, I loved it," she tells Woman's Day.
"I was learning from the best, and the fact that he was also my dad made it even more special. You'd think things just happened, but he put a lot of thought into them."
That included everything from the studio temperature – Bert liked it cold because it kept him on his toes – to his guests and the GMA crew.
He knew everyone by name, even their children's names, and was unfailingly thoughtful with gifts to mark birthdays and other special occasions.
"It didn't matter who it was, whether it was a huge star or a member of the audience, he always treated them the same and made them look good," says Lauren, proud mum to Sam, who turns 14 this week, Eva, 12, Lola, nine, Monty, five, Perla, three and Alby, 17 months.
Lauren worked as a reporter on the show. (Supplied)
"Dad was the same wonderful person to everyone, careerwise and familywise, and that's such a rare quality."
There were goodies for his old schoolteacher, Brother Austin, a wreath when his late mum's best friend died, a studio tour with the green room supervisor's son, free theatre tickets, programs and chocolates for anyone who asked to see him on stage in Beauty And The Beast, The Producers, Wicked or The Sound Of Music.
Nothing was too much trouble for Bert, according to Patti, who is planning to honour him by returning to the stage at mate John Foreman's Mother's Day concert.
"I must say I probably could not have wished for anything more, careerwise, than working with him. He was very generous, always made you feel a bit special…
"We had a wonderful relationship. Everyone has ups and downs.
Bert's family was his world. (Instagram)
"I hate it when people say they never had a cross word – you can't go through life being holier than thou.
"But with Bert, I feel we understood one another, we had great respect for each other.
"And unlike a lot of other husbands in showbusiness, he included me in everything.
"Most people get caught up in their own world and forget about other people, but Bert never did. He was always humble."
As Lauren says, marking GMA's 30 year landmark, "Not many kids get to work with their parents and I feel so lucky I got the chance to do that.
Patty and Bert were married for almost 47 years. (Instagram)
"I have very special memories of sitting in Dad's dressing room after the show, having a Diet Coke, talking about the different segments, just having fun.
"I knew how fabulous and talented he was, and to be on the show with him was incredible – like he'd invited me into his world, and it was a great place to be.
"That makes it harder in some ways, to lose him, because he leaves such a massive hole.
"Alby is only one – I wish he'd had his Poppy for longer. But if we didn't feel this way, that would be even sadder."

GMA stars remember Bert

GMA stars like Robert 'Belvedere' Mascara and John Foreman remember Bert (Getty)
Floor manager Robert 'Belvedere' Mascara
"You'd never know what Bert was going to do. Nothing was scripted. Bert didn't have anything on autocue, apart from the guest's name. It was all fly by the seat of your pants, and that's what we loved."
Susie Elelman
"I just remember Bert's stamina and intestinal fortitude. He never phoned in a performance once, not on TV, not on stage, and he was so giving. He always listened to what the other person was saying and jumped off that. People loved that.
"Honestly, there were huge international guests who wouldn't appear anywhere else except with Bert on GMA. He was the gold standard and it was a privilege to learn from him. They don't get any better, any finer, than Bert Newton."
Celebrity chef Iain 'Huey' Hewitson
"I'm absolutely certain he hated the cookery. One day he told me, 'I've eaten some of the worst food you've ever tasted in your life on this show.' I'm sure he had, but he would still say, 'Oh, what a wonderful dish!'"
Musical director John Foreman
"Bert was the top banana on GMA. That show gave the audience a great insight into his genius, his interviewing ability, his warmth, his humour, his ability to chat to anyone about anything. And also to bring humour out of any situation he was in.
Celebrity chef Gabriel Gate
"Bert used to enjoy taking the piss out of my accent, as we say, because there were so many opportunities for him to transform it into fun. We would have a big giggle, mopping away tears because we laughed so much."

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