Obituary: Reg Grundy, TV producer behind soap Neighbours

Reginald "Reg" Grundy. Picture: AP
Reginald "Reg" Grundy. Picture: AP
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Born: 4 August, 1923 in Sydney, Australia. Died: May 8, 2016, in Bermuda, aged 92.

Television mogul Reginald “Reg” Grundy, who helped create the wildly popular Australian soap opera Neighbours, has died.

Grundy died at his estate in Bermuda, long-time friend and broadcaster Alan Jones said on Sydney’s 2GB radio.

Grundy’s death was also confirmed in a statement by the production company he founded, FremantleMedia Australia, formerly known as the Reg Grundy Organisation.

“Reg Grundy is a national treasure. His legacy to Australian entertainment is insurmountable,” Ian Hogg, CEO of FremantleMedia Australia and Asia/Pacific, said in a statement.

Grundy began his career in radio before moving on to television. He initially made an impact with game shows including Wheel of Fortune and Sale of the Century. He later branched out into drama and also produced the documentary Abba: The Movie, which opened in 1977.

His production company created some of Australia’s most beloved TV programmes, including Sons and Daughters, Prisoner (retitled Prisoner: Cell Block H in the UK) and a slew of game shows.

But Grundy was best known for helping to bring the long-running drama Neighbours to screens across the globe.

The show, which began airing in 1985 and launched the careers of several celebrities, including Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, and Guy Pearce, remains popular in many countries, particularly Britain.

Grundy’s influence on Australian culture went beyond TV screens. His name eventually became synonymous with underwear, thanks to the Australian custom of rhyming slang: “Grundies” is the colloquial term for “undies”.

Grundy was known as both friendly and private, rarely giving interviews. He and his wife of 45 years, actress and author Joy Chambers, had lived in Bermuda for decades.

They couple met when she auditioned for one of his shows.

Aside from Chambers, he is also survived by Kim Grundy, his daughter from his first marriage to Lola Powell.