Reg Grundy

Reginald Roy Grundy AC, OBE (4 August 1923 – 6 May 2016) was an Australian entrepreneur and media mogul, best known for his numerous television productions. He was the producer of game shows such as Blankety Blanks (based on a Mark Goodson-Bill Todman production, Match Game) and Wheel of Fortune (based on the US Merv Griffin production of the same name), before later diversifying into soap operas and serials including Prisoner, The Young Doctors, Sons and Daughters and Neighbours, which was inducted into the Logie Hall of Fame in 2005.

Reg Grundy

Grundy on A Current Affair (2010)
Reginald Roy Grundy

(1923-08-04)4 August 1923
Died6 May 2016(2016-05-06) (aged 92)
Alma materUniversity of Queensland
OccupationTelevision producer
Years active1947–2016
  • Patricia Lola C Powell
    (m. 1954, divorced)
  • Joy Chambers (m. 19712016)

Early life

Reginald Roy Grundy was born on 4 August 1923 in Sydney, New South Wales, to Roy Grundy and Lillian Lees.[1][2] Grundy served in the Australian Army during World War II as a Sergeant stationed in Sydney in the 1 Motor Division Signals. He enlisted in December 1941 and was discharged in August 1946.[3]


Grundy started his media career as a boxing and general sports commentator for the Sydney radio station 2SM in 1947.[4] While he was working at 2CH Sydney in 1957, Grundy conceived and hosted the Wheel of Fortune game show on radio, which moved to Channel Nine two years later.[1] He founded his own production company Reg Grundy Organisation in 1960, and began producing game shows for the Australian and overseas market, before eventually branching out into drama in 1973. In 1977, he co-produced ABBA: The Movie.[5]

The company produced several successful television soap operas and drama series including Class of '74, The Restless Years, The Young Doctors, Prisoner, Glenview High, Sons and Daughters and Neighbours.[2] Grundy was the first person to sell an Australian drama to America (Prisoner) and the first to sell an Australian quiz show to the UK (Going for Gold).[2] He subsequently started the US-based company Reg Grundy Productions, which produced the 1980s NBC daytime game shows Sale of the Century and Scrabble, as well as Time Machine for NBC, Bruce Forsyth's Hot Streak for ABC and Scattergories also for NBC.[2]

The Grundy Organisation was ultimately owned by Grundy Worldwide Ltd, based in the tax haven of Bermuda.[6] In 1995, he sold the Grundy Organisation to the media and publishing company Pearson PLC, now Fremantle, for $386 million.[7] Grundy owned the private media investment company RG Capital which had shares in several FM radio stations.[7] Grundy also had shares in WAM Capital, Austereo, Argus Solutions and Photon Group.[8]


Grundy had a lifelong passion for wildlife photography. He published a book of photographs in 2005, The Wildlife of Reg Grundy.[9] In June 2009, an exhibition of photographs of Bermuda Longtail birds by Grundy, "Longtails: The Bermuda Dream", opened in The Rick Faries Gallery at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art.[10][11]

Personal life

Grundy married Patricia Lola Powell in 1954 and they had a daughter, Kim.[12] After Grundy and Powell divorced, he married the actress and author Joy Chambers in 1971.[12] The couple met at a television audition in the 1960s. Chambers was 18 and Grundy was in his forties.[8] They renewed their vows several times.[8] Grundy and Chambers moved to Bermuda in 1982.[13]

In 2015, the Australian Financial Review listed Grundy as Australia's 59th richest individual, with a wealth of $809 million.[14] Grundy published an eponymous autobiography in 2010.[15] He was the owner of a yacht named Boadicea, which was sold in 2009.[16][17]


Grundy died on 6 May 2016 at his Bermuda home, with his family by his side. No cause was given.[13][1] After his death was announced, many tributes were paid to Grundy.[18] Presenter Andrew Denton commented "I'm sure the record will show that more Australians have watched more hours of Reg Grundy television than that of any other individual."[18] While actress Jackie Woodburne, who worked on Grundy productions Neighbours, Prisoner and The Young Doctors, stated that "Reg was a true groundbreaker in Australian television in the 70s and 80s, and beyond in light entertainment and drama."[18]

Tracy Grimshaw, who interviewed Grundy in 2010, said "RG was a pioneer in game shows, in drama, in soapies. He was a star maker. But he totally rejected the limelight. He only gave one television interview in his life, and I was privileged and fascinated to be the one who spoke with him."[18] Grimshaw's interview with Grundy was rebroadcast during the 9 May edition of A Current Affair.[1] Ian Hogg, whose company bought Grundy Organisation, announced that FremantleMedia were thinking of a permanent way to honour Grundy.[18]


Grundy was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the New Years Honours of 1983;[19] and was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday Honours of 2008.[20][21] He received the International Emmy Founders Award in 1996 and the AFI Raymond Longford Award in 2010.[22] In July 2004, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy by the University of Queensland.[23]

Colloquially, in Australia, "Reg Grundies", "Grundies" or "Reggies", is rhyming slang for "undies" (underpants).[1]


  • The Wildlife of Reg Grundy (2005, Grundy Foundation) ISBN 9781894916363
  • Mother and Child: Wildlife Photography (2015, Glitterati Incorporated) ISBN 9780990380870
  • Reg Grundy (2010, Allen & Unwin) ISBN 9781742662534


  1. Byrnes, Holly (9 May 2016). "Australian TV legend Reg Grundy has died aged 92". Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  2. "Obituary Grundy. Reg Grundy, the man who put Australian TV on the world map, dies at 92". The Sydney Morning Herald. 9 May 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  3. "Australian Military Roll". World War II Nominal Roll. Department of Veterans' Affairs. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  4. Lodderhose, Diana (9 May 2016). "Australian Media Mogul Reg Grundy Dies Age 92". Variety. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  5. Tartaglione, Nancy (9 May 2016). "Reg Grundy Dies; Australian TV Mogul Behind 'Neighbours' Was 92". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  6. Cunningham, Stuart; Jacka, Elizabeth (15 April 1996). Australian Television and International Mediascapes. Cambridge University Press. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-521-46974-6.
  7. Newcomb, Horace (3 February 2014). Encyclopedia of Television. Routledge. p. 1042. ISBN 978-1-135-19472-7.
  8. "Grundys love being married ... over and over again". 3 December 2008. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  9. "Life through Grundy's lens". The Age. 16 August 2005. Retrieved 5 September 2009.
  10. "Longtails: The Bermuda Dream", Artist Reg Grundy AC OBE. Archived 7 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art. Retrieved 5 September
  11. "Fascination with Longtails". The Royal Gazette. 19 August 2009. Retrieved 5 September 2009.
  12. Hayward, Anthony (9 May 2016). "Reg Grundy obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  13. Lagan, Sarah (9 May 2016). "TV icon Reg Grundy dies". The Royal Gazette. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  14. "AFR Rich 200 list". Australian Financial Review. 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  15. Reg Grundy (1 October 2010). Reg Grundy. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 978-1-74266-253-4.
  16. Yachts Monaco Eye
  17. Super Yacht Times
  18. Meade, Amanda (9 May 2016). "Television greats pay tribute to Neighbours creator Reg Grundy". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  19. "The Order of the British Empire - Officer (Civil) (Imperial) (OBE) entry for Mr Reginald Roy GRUNDY". It's an Honour, Australian Honours Database. Canberra, Australia: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 31 December 1982. Retrieved 8 October 2019. Television
  20. "Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) entry for Mr Reg GRUNDY". It's an Honour, Australian Honours Database. Canberra, Australia: Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 9 June 2008. Retrieved 8 October 2019. For service to the entertainment and television industry as the creator and producer of television programs depicting national cultural identity, to the promotion of Australia internationally, and to the community through philanthropic contributions to a range of organisations.
  21. "Aussies honoured on Queen's Birthday". ABC News. Retrieved 10 June 2008.
  22. "Reg Grundy to receive Raymond Longford award". If Magazine. 8 December 2010. Archived from the original on 23 February 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  23. "Reg Grundy to address UQ Faculty of Arts grads". University of Queensland. 20 July 2004. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
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