Reg Grundy, the Australian media mogul and entrepreneur who was responsible for such seminal TV soaps as Neighbours and Prisoner: Cell Block H, has died. Australian media reports he passed away on Friday at his home in Bermuda. He was 92.
Grundy started his career in radio, hosting a local version of Wheel Of Fortune and moving with it to television in 1959 when he founded production company the Reg Grundy Organisation. Other shows that were produced by the company included The Restless Years, The Young Doctors and Sons And Daughters. In 1995, Grundy sold the company to Pearson Television, which is now FremantleMedia.
Neighbours, which has run since 1985 and is set in a fictional Melbourne suburb, helped launch the careers of Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan. Other now-famous faces to have appeared on the soap have included Guy Pearce, Liam Hemsworth and singer Nathalie Imbuglia. Russell Crowe also did several episodes.
Prisoner: Cell Block H (known as Prisoner in Oz) was created in 1979 and became one of Grundy’s biggest global hits. Set inside a fictional women’s prison, it dealt with issues that were not widely addressed on television at the time including homosexuality, social injustice and prison reform.
Grundy also brought U.S. game shows to Australia, making hits out of the local versions including Wheel Of Fortune, Blankety Blanks and Sale Of The Century.
Throughout his leadership, Grundy controlled and owned all the shows he produced, The Guardian notes. Grundy’s feature credits include producing 1977’s Abba: The Movie, directed by Lasse Hallstrom and starring the eponymous Swedish pop group.