Bert Newton reflects on legendary Logies moment with Muhammad Ali

'He had an aura about him.'
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Having hosted the TV WEEK Logie Awards a record 20 times, Bert Newton has well and truly earned the title of “Mr Logies”. The legend’s first go at TV’s premier hosting gig was in 1967, and his last was in 2010.

No-one has come close to putting their stamp on Australian television’s night of nights quite like the four-time Gold Logie winner.

In the years of Bert hosting the Logies, he worked with some of Hollywood’s greatest film stars. These included John Wayne, Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Rock Hudson and Raquel Welch, as well as boxing legend Muhammad Ali.

Bert and Muhammad Ali at the 1979 Logies.

He counts working with John and Muhammad as the most memorable.

“People like that had an aura about them,” Bert reflects. “I knew they were in the room before I could even see them. There was this awareness that someone very special was in attendance.”

The 1979 ceremony, when boxer Muhammad was a special guest, was the night of Bert’s infamous – and unintentional – slur when he joked, “I like the boy”. What’s often overlooked about that night, however, is it marked Bert’s first Gold Logie.

Bert scored a kiss from the boxing champion.

Bert went on to take Gold another three times, as well as the Hall Of Fame Award in 1988, but still rates his 1984 Gold win as his favourite.

“That was very special, as I was considered the rank outsider,” he recalls. “Some critics had even said my name was included to round out the list. So when my name was announced, that was a real surprise – no-one expected me to take it.”

Across all the years of his Logies involvement – as a host, winner and nominee – Bert confesses he never knew in advance the names of the winners in the envelope.

“I wanted that to remain a mystery to me as much as it was to the audience,” he says.

“I don’t think at any stage a leak about who was supposedly winning Gold that year was a successful one. It was always a surprise.”

Meet the full list of nominees for the 2019 TV WEEK Logie Awards.

The 2019 TV WEEK Logie Awards will air live from The Gold Coast in Queensland, exclusively on the Nine Network and 9Now on Sunday, June 30.

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