Ray Martin (television presenter)

Raymond George Martin AM (born Raymond George Grace, 20 December 1944) is an Australian television journalist and entertainment personality. Having won the Gold Logie five times he is the most awarded star of Australian television, along with Graham Kennedy (although Kennedy won the "Star of the Year Award, the forerunner of the Gold Logie in 1959).

Ray Martin
Martin in 2013
Raymond George Grace

(1944-12-20) 20 December 1944
ResidenceSydney, New South Wales, Australia
OccupationJournalist, television presenter
Years active1969present
Known forFour Corners
This Day Tonight
Midday with Ray Martin (1985–1993)
Ray Martin Presents
Up Close and Personal
The Ray Martin Show
60 Minutes
Carols by Candlelight (1990–2007)
A Current Affair (1994–98; 2003–05)
Spouse(s)Dianne Martin
AwardsGold Logie Award (1987; 1993–96) for his role on Midday and A Current Affair

He is best known for his various on-air roles on Channel Nine from 1978, particular his long tenure as host of the variety/talk show The Midday Show. In 2011 he returned to Current Affairs 60 Minutes, in which he had been an original presenter, albeit only in a part-time capacity.[1]

Early life and education

He was born Raymond George Grace into an Irish-Australian Catholic family[2][3] in Richmond, New South Wales, Australia. He was the youngest of four children and their only son.[2] His mother changed the family surname to Martin to prevent her abusive, alcoholic husband from finding her and their children after they fled from him in c. 1955.[2] She and the children moved many times, settling in Adelaide and in Tasmania.[2] In the early 1990s, he found out that his great, great grandmother was an Indigenous Australian woman from the Kamilaroi nation, near Gunnedah.[4][5]

He attended Launceston College and the University of Sydney, where he studied engineering on scholarship at university, but changed his mind and studied to become an English and History teacher. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 1967.[2]

Television career

Martin began working for Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in Sydney as a cadet in 1965.[6] He was appointed the ABC's New York City correspondent in 1969.[2] Over the next 10 years his coverage included race riots, anti-Vietnam War protests, Olympic Games and presidential elections for news and current affairs television and radio, from Four Corners and This Day Tonight to science and religion programs.

In 1978 he joined the Nine Network to launch 60 Minutes, along with reporters George Negus and Ian Leslie.

From 1985 to 1993 he presented the daily variety show Midday with Ray Martin and hosted top-rating specials such as Ray Martin Presents, Up Close and Personal and The Ray Martin Show, interviewing entertainment celebrities including Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Robin Williams, Elton John, Michael Crawford, Russell Crowe and Madonna.

He hosted A Current Affair from 1994 to 1998 and went on to present three series – Our Century, The Great Debates and Simply the Best – before returning to 60 Minutes to do special reports. In 2003 he resumed as host of A Current Affair. It was announced in December 2005 that he would become the Nine Network's Senior Reporter. This quashed much speculation that he would return to Four Corners at the ABC, as the fluctuating ratings for A Current Affair had decreased. Over the past few years he has assisted in reporting with some major events including the Indonesian tsunami disaster in 2005. Former Today Show co-host Tracy Grimshaw replaced Martin on ACA at the beginning of 2006. He was then a senior correspondent for Channel Nine. He has also hosted diverse television events, from the Logie Awards, Commonwealth Games, World Cup Cricket, 1988 Bicentenary Spectacular and Federal and State Election nights to the aftermath of the 11 September terrorist attacks. From 16 September 2007, Martin took over as co-host of Sunday replacing Ross Greenwood.

Martin left the Nine Network in February 2008, allegedly due to differences with management over budget cuts and a time slot change for the Sunday program.[7]

On 28 March 2008 it was announced that Martin would lead the official broadcast of the World Youth Day event in Sydney from 15 to 20 July 2008.

In October 2008, Martin criticised the Nine Network and other commercial television operations during an address at the annual Andrew Olle Media Lecture. The subject of Martin's criticism was an alleged "dumbing down" of journalism and news coverage.[8][9]

Since 2014, Martin has been the presenter for the SBS series First Contact. In 2015, he featured on the SBS Australian version of the popular international franchise genealogy television documentary series Who Do You Think You Are?. In 2017, he hosted Look Me In The Eye.

In August 2018, Martin was announced as a presenter on the Nine Network's new travel series Helloworld, which aired on 7 October 2018.[10]

Incident with John Safran

John Safran, an Australian documentarian and media personality, created a television pilot called John Safran: Media Tycoon which was focused on the media industry. It became infamous for a segment where Safran turned up to Martin's house and harassed him in the tabloid style characteristic of A Current Affair and its peers. Martin was in contact with the ABC and specifically warned Safran in the segment that he had spoken to Roger Grant, the then Head of Corporate Affairs at the ABC. The segment was later played on Media Watch on ABC[11] and on Enough Rope.[12] Safran went through Martin's garbage and took Shane Paxton (a former A Current Affair story subject) to embarrass Martin.

Awards and honours

Martin has received five Gold Logie Awards for the Most Popular Personality on Australian Television, Australia's most popular television award. He received his first at the Logie Awards of 1987 as host of Midday, then he received four in a row at the Logie Awards of 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1996; the first two were as host of Midday and the last two as host of A Current Affair. He has also received Silver Logies, People's Choice Awards, Variety, Mo and Queensland Entertainer awards.

Martin was awarded a star on Caloundra's Walk of Stars in early 2007.

Martin was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia on 26 January 2010 for service to the community through voluntary roles with charitable, Indigenous, health and sporting organisations, and to the media as a television journalist.[13]

Martin was awarded the Centenary Medal on 1 January 2001.[14]

In 2018, Martin was honoured with a special collection of post stamps issued by the Australian Post, with his portrait featured on the stamp, as part of the legends of television series.[15]

Personal life

Ray Martin is married to Dianne Martin, with whom he has two children.[3]

Although his parents split, they never divorced owing to a huge stigma regarding divorce and separation.[2] His father died in the mid-1980s.[2]

Political views

Martin is a republican and has called for a change in the Australian flag to reflect the nation's increasing multicultural identity.[16]


He is a supporter and current board member of the South Sydney Rabbitohs NRL team.

He was Chairman of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation, was Chairman of The Fred Hollows Foundation and has supported children's services at Royal North Shore Hospital.[17] From 1991 to 2000, he was a full-term member of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation.[17]

He is a Brand Tasmania Ambassador.[18]

He is an Ambassador of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation


As author


  • Martin, Ray (1990). Foreword. How to Puzzle a Python. By Walker, Max. Magenta Press. ISBN 0-908081-36-7.[19][20]


  1. Door opens again for Ray Martin at 60 Minutes | TV Tonight 10 November 2012. Retrieved 28 April 2013 Archived 4 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  2. Arthur, Chrissy; with Richard Feidler. "Ray Martin's autobiography" (includes audio and video) Archived 11 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine, ABC, 22 December 2009.
  3. Kelly, Fran. Ray Martin: Stories of My Life Interview (Part 1) on YouTube, Radio National Breakfast, ABC, 2009.
  4. Galvin, Nick. "In First Contact, Ray Martin explores his Aboriginal ancestry and passion for photography" Archived 2 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Sydney Morning Herald, 7 November 2014.
  5. "Ray Martin, Talking Heads, first screened 16/08/2010, ABC" Archived 11 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine, ABC, Talking Heads, 16 August 2010.
  6. Author Highlights Archived 14 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine, Melbourne University Publishing
  7. Idato, Michael. "End of an era as Ray quits Nine" Archived 3 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine, The Age, 7 February 2008.
  8. Ray Martin Slams Nine's Journalism , Streem, 18 October 2008.
  9. Martin, Ray. Ray Martin Slams Commercial TV News (Andrew Olle Lecture) Archived 20 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine, ABC, 30 October 2008.
  10. "IT'S SHOWTIME! Helloworld The TV Show: Coming soon to Channel Nine". karryon.com.au. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  11. "Media Watch Stories in 1999". Media Watch. Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  12. "ABC Enough Rope with Andrew Denton – John Safran". Enough Rope. Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
  13. "Ray Martin AM". Australian Honours Database. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
  14. "Ray Martin". Australian Honours Database. Retrieved 26 January 2010.
  15. http://www.mediaweek.com.au/australia-post-legend-stamps-tv-2018/
  16. "Ray Martin leads push for new flag" Archived 29 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine, AAP, Sydney Morning Herald, 25 January 2010.
  17. Ray Martin profile Archived 6 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine at Platinum Speakers & Entertainers
  18. http://www.themercury.com.au/news/tasmania/ray-martin-appointed-brand-tasmania-ambassador/news-story/ad1a61f6580389dfdf47d0eba225bfb7%5B%5D
  19. "How to puzzle a python / Max Walker". Retrieved 28 September 2016 via National Library of Australia.
  20. "How to Puzzle a Python". Google Books. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Daryl Somers
for Hey Hey It's Saturday
Gold Logie Award
Most Popular Personality on Australian Television

for Midday
Succeeded by
Kylie Minogue
for Neighbours
Preceded by
Jana Wendt
for A Current Affair
Gold Logie Award
Most Popular Personality on Australian Television

1993, 1994, 1995, 1996
for Midday
Succeeded by
Lisa McCune
for Blue Heelers
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