Bert Newton gifted Gold Logie to dying AIDS patient
âAbout five or six days later, I was released to the hospital and there was a sort of buzzing in the air. As soon as I walked in I could tell it was a different vibe and place than it normally was, âsaid Ford.
“I said ‘What’s going on?’ [and] they said, ‘You’re not going to believe it. Guess who just got here? Bert Newton ‘.
He had walked around each patient, spending time at their bedside and making them laugh.
âYou have to remember that 31 years ago there were still huge fears about how you catch [AIDS] and can you be nearby, and nobody wanted to go to this hospital, even though you had relatives here, âsaid Ford.
When Ford went to visit his friend, he noticed that Newton had left something on his nightstand: one of his four Gold Logie awards.
“I called Bert and I said ‘I can’t believe you did that’ and he said ‘OK I probably broke some kind of law Logie and they are going to sue me for giving one of my Logies therefore don’t tell the story until I’m gone, âsaid Ford.
Tributes poured in for the larger-than-life artist on Sunday, who had surgery to amputate part of his leg below the knee earlier this year due to a potentially fatal toe infection.
Wife Patti Newton described her husband as “the most wonderful man” to be remembered “like the legend that he was”.
âIt’s very, very devastating. All of our hearts break because he was the most wonderful man, âshe told reporters outside her Hawthorn East home on Sunday morning.
âHe had such a fabulous attitude. And he gave us so much joy until the end.
Ford, who credits Newton for the success of his career, said the artist is part of the fabric of Melbourne.
“It is wonderful that it is celebrated,” he said. âHe saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said there would never be another person like Newton. “Four Gold Logies, hosting Logies on 20 occasions and entertaining Australians for over half a century,” said Mr Morrison.
âThere was a familiarity that connected us to Bert, but it also connected us to each other. We could laugh together. It was his gift. Bert could give and receive a joke. He could laugh at himself, I’m sure that’s what made Australians as warm as us.
Newton will bid farewell to Melbourne with a state funeral.
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