How Bert Newton remained a beloved TV legend despite the ups and downs in his glittering career 

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TV legend Bert Newton died on Saturday night at the age of 83, after a stunning career that beamed him into the living rooms of Australians for over 70 years. 

The true definition of a household name, Newton leaves behind the legacy of an illustrious media career that that spanned beloved talk shows, breakfast programs and many a memorable turn hosting the television’s night of nights, The Logies.  

His tenure was not without controversy, but the icon always effortlessly bounced back and retained his position as one of the country’s most beloved entertainers until the very end. 

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Vale: Bert Newton (pictured) died at the age of 83 on Saturday. The Australian television and radio legend leaves behind the legacy of an illustrious 71 year media career

Vale: Bert Newton (pictured) died at the age of 83 on Saturday. The Australian television and radio legend leaves behind the legacy of an illustrious 71 year media career

Bert passed away on Saturday night having suffered a long health battle which led to one of his legs being amputated.

The TV personality is survived by his wife Patti, his two kids and six grandchildren. 

Bert’s daughter Lauren Newton has six children: Sam, 11, Eva, nine, Lola, six, Monty, two, Perla, 19 months, and newborn son, Alby. 

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In addition to Lauren, Bert and Patti share son Matthew together. 

Loss: Bert passed away on Saturday night having suffered a long health battle which led to one of his legs being amputated

 Loss: Bert passed away on Saturday night having suffered a long health battle which led to one of his legs being amputated

Newton was hospitalised in March and underwent the surgery on his leg in May.

At the time of his surgery, Patti, his wife of 47 years, told the Daily Telegraph she had ‘never seen anybody in more pain’ than her husband on the morning of his operation.

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She added: ‘I just felt he could not go through pain like he was going through for much longer.’

Bert went into surgery at 7.50am on May 8 and Patti learned it had been a success at 3pm. ‘It was a long day and a long wait,’ she said.

Family: The TV personality is survived by his wife Patti, his two kids and six grandchildren. Bert's daughter Lauren Newton has six children: Sam, 11, Eva, nine, Lola, six, Monty, two, Perla, 19 months, and newborn son, Alby. All pictured

Family: The TV personality is survived by his wife Patti, his two kids and six grandchildren. Bert’s daughter Lauren Newton has six children: Sam, 11, Eva, nine, Lola, six, Monty, two, Perla, 19 months, and newborn son, Alby. All pictured 

Patti, 76, also spoke of her husband’s fighting spirit, saying the grandfather of six agreed to the life-changing surgery because ‘he has so much to live for’.

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‘This is not a death sentence,’ she said, adding: ‘He is lucky; he has got family all around him. The grandkids mean the world to him.’

On October 24, Patti posted a photo of a beaming Bert recovering in his hospital bed while surrounded by five of his grandchildren.

‘That’s what happiness is,’ Patti captioned the photo. 

Spirit: Newton was hospitalised in March and underwent the surgery on his leg in May. His wife Patti, 76, (left) spoke of her husband's fighting spirit, saying the grandfather of six agreed to the life-changing surgery because 'he has so much to live for'. Pictured in 2008

Spirit: Newton was hospitalised in March and underwent the surgery on his leg in May. His wife Patti, 76, (left) spoke of her husband’s fighting spirit, saying the grandfather of six agreed to the life-changing surgery because ‘he has so much to live for’. Pictured in 2008

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Final photo: On October 24, Patti posted a photo of a beaming Bert recovering in his hospital bed while surrounded by five of his grandchildren

Final photo: On October 24, Patti posted a photo of a beaming Bert recovering in his hospital bed while surrounded by five of his grandchildren

Bert was never far from the headlines during his colourful career. 

In 2018, Newton issued a controversial apology for using the word ‘p**f’ during his speech at the 60th Annual Logie Awards. 

Speaking to reporters while flying back to Melbourne from the Gold Coast, the veteran star told Nine News ‘If I did offend anyone, I apologise. But I can’t promise I wouldn’t do it again.’

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The long-time TV host found himself in hot water after he presented the Graham Kennedy Award for Most Popular New Talent on at the Logies. 

History: His tenure was not without controversy, but each time, the icon bounced back and retained his position as one of the country's most beloved entertainers. Pictured circa 1980s

History: His tenure was not without controversy, but each time, the icon bounced back and retained his position as one of the country’s most beloved entertainers. Pictured circa 1980s

‘There are many faces that I know from the screen but don’t know them personally. You might feel the same way? ‘You know, ‘where’s this old p**f come from?’ he told the room. 

Critics labelled the comment a ‘homophobic slur’ and said it was disappointing, especially for an industry with so many hardworking LGBTIQ personalities. Fan opinion was split. 

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The Family Feud and Don Lane Show veteran then attempted to justify and rationalise his comments.

‘I never set out to offend anybody, and I think it’s well known in the industry that I don’t prepare material… I just go for it,’ he explained.

Controversy: In 2018, Newton issued a controversial apology for using the word 'p**f' during his speech at the 60th Annual Logie Awards (pictured) . 'If I did offend somebody, or anybody - or a lot of people - I apologise. But I can't promise I wouldn't do it again, because it's the way I work. But then again, I may never work again' he said

Controversy: In 2018, Newton issued a controversial apology for using the word ‘p**f’ during his speech at the 60th Annual Logie Awards (pictured) . ‘If I did offend somebody, or anybody – or a lot of people – I apologise. But I can’t promise I wouldn’t do it again, because it’s the way I work. But then again, I may never work again’ he said 

‘If I did offend somebody, or anybody – or a lot of people – I apologise. But I can’t promise I wouldn’t do it again, because it’s the way I work.

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‘But then again, I may never work again.’

During his apology, Bert used an analogy he said was once given to him by a ‘famous producer’.

Quoting the producer, he said: ‘The Logies is a series of moments. I’ve been a part of many of those moments – and perhaps last night wasn’t one of the better moments.’

Gambling issues: In 2018, it was reported that Bert's wife Patti Newton (left) had threatened to kick her husband out of their Melbourne home if he didn't stop gambling. But journalist Peter Ford claimed on KIIS FM that insisted Patti was controlling his spending by giving him a budget

Gambling issues: In 2018, it was reported that Bert’s wife Patti Newton (left) had threatened to kick her husband out of their Melbourne home if he didn’t stop gambling. But journalist Peter Ford claimed on KIIS FM that insisted Patti was controlling his spending by giving him a budget

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In 2018, it was reported that Bert’s wife Patti Newton had threatened to kick her husband out of their Melbourne home if he didn’t stop gambling.

According to Woman’s Day, she allegedly gave her TV legend husband an ultimatum: ‘It’s their family or the TAB.’

‘She’s at the point where she’s ready to throw her hands up and tell him it’s their family or the TAB – and since she’s meant to be in control of their finances, she’s keeping the house,’ a friend of the couple told the magazine.

‘Bert needs to knock this on the head quick smart or he’s going to find himself turfed out of their home,’ they added.

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Past: In 1993, the host's gambling problem almost forced him and wife Patti into bankruptcy, a scandal that made front-page news at the time. Pictured in 1981

Past: In 1993, the host’s gambling problem almost forced him and wife Patti into bankruptcy, a scandal that made front-page news at the time. Pictured in 1981

A year earlier, in March 2017, Woman’s Day claimed Patti was ‘livid’ after photos were published of her husband visiting a bookmakers.

A source said at the time: ‘Patti’s reaction will be: ‘Here we go again, how much did you lose this time?”

Several days after the magazine hit newsstands, journalist Peter Ford claimed on KIIS FM that Bert was still gambling regularly.

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However, he insisted Patti was controlling his spending by giving him a budget.

Love child? In 2017, Patti spoke to the Kyle and Jackie O and laughed off rumours she has a love child, but said that her hubby might. Pictured in 2012

Love child? In 2017, Patti spoke to the Kyle and Jackie O and laughed off rumours she has a love child, but said that her hubby might. Pictured in 2012 

‘He gambles a little bit,’ Mr Ford explained. ‘What happens is Patti gives him some play money every week – about 100 bucks – and he goes down [to the TAB] and what he chooses to do with that is his business.’

In 1993, the former Good Morning Australia host’s gambling problem almost forced him and wife Patti into bankruptcy, a scandal that made front-page news at the time.

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The couple were revealed to be $1million in debt, with the cause of the issue said to be Bert’s betting. 

'Honestly, I have waited at the door when there's a knock (thinking) I hope this isn't it,' she admitted. 'I would just slam the door! No I wouldn't really.' Pictured in 1981

‘Honestly, I have waited at the door when there’s a knock (thinking) I hope this isn’t it,’ she admitted. ‘I would just slam the door! No I wouldn’t really.’ Pictured in 1981

In 2017, Patti spoke to the Kyle and Jackie O and laughed off rumours she has a love child, but said that her hubby might. 

‘What a life I’m leading! The best one was ‘Patti’s Love Child’. I’m 72! That would be a miracle wouldn’t it. It might be one of Bert’s that we know don’t about,’ she said. 

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Host Kyle Sandilands pressed her on the issue, asking if the TV host may in fact have illegitimate children. 

‘Honestly, I have waited at the door when there’s a knock (thinking) I hope this isn’t it,’ she admitted. ‘I would just slam the door! No I wouldn’t really.’ 

Logies: In 2019, Newton reflected on the time he met Muhammad Ali (left) at the awards show in 1979. Bert maintained that taking to the Logies stage alongside Muhammad was one of the highlights of his career, despite an embarrassing gaffe that many branded racist

Logies: In 2019, Newton reflected on the time he met Muhammad Ali (left) at the awards show in 1979. Bert maintained that taking to the Logies stage alongside Muhammad was one of the highlights of his career, despite an embarrassing gaffe that many branded racist

In 2019, Newton reflected on the time he met Muhammad Ali at the awards show in 1979.

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In an interview with TV WEEK, the veteran TV host confessed to having been star stuck by the late boxing legend. 

Bert maintained that taking to the Logies stage alongside Muhammad was one of the highlights of his career, despite an embarrassing gaffe that many branded racist.

Muhammad had joined Bert – who was hosting the event – onstage to present the Gold Logie to Bert.

Bert had quipped: 'I like the boy.' The term 'boy' is considered to be a derogatory name by the African-American community

Bert had quipped: ‘I like the boy.’ The term ‘boy’ is considered to be a derogatory name by the African-American community

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Oh dear: Many in the audience seemed shocked by Bert's remark, and even Muhammad asked him to clarify what he had said

Oh dear: Many in the audience seemed shocked by Bert’s remark, and even Muhammad asked him to clarify what he had said

After a bit of banter, Muhammad had seemingly grown tired of the small talk and told Bert: ‘I was told I was coming here to give out an award, they didn’t tell me I was going to do an interview.’

Clearly taken aback by his comment, Bert was also able to see the humour in his remark, and encouraged by the audience’s laughter, quipped: ‘I like the boy.’ 

The term ‘boy’ is considered to be a derogatory name by the African-American community.

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Many in the audience seemed shocked by Bert’s remark, and even Muhammad asked him to clarify what he had said.

Legal: In 2004, Bert was stopped by police in Camberwell, Melbourne, where he recorded a blood alcohol level just over the legal limit. 'I certainly do not condone drink-driving,' he said. 'It is a lesson I will not forget'. Pictured in 2006

Legal: In 2004, Bert was stopped by police in Camberwell, Melbourne, where he recorded a blood alcohol level just over the legal limit. ‘I certainly do not condone drink-driving,’ he said. ‘It is a lesson I will not forget’. Pictured in 2006

‘Did you say Roy or boy?’ he asked Bert, who said he had indeed said ‘boy’.

Seemingly perplexed, Bert then turned to the audience and asked: ‘Is there anything wrong with saying that?’

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But he was able to quickly rectify the situation, winning Muhammad over by telling him he’d do ‘anything’ for him.

‘I’ll change religion for you, I’ll do anything, I don’t care,’ Bert insisted.

Hard: In January 1964, a then-25-year-old Bert was admitted to a psychiatric ward after a severe mental breakdown, but he quickly returned to work. Pictured in 1974

Hard: In January 1964, a then-25-year-old Bert was admitted to a psychiatric ward after a severe mental breakdown, but he quickly returned to work. Pictured in 1974

In 2004, Bert was stopped by police in Camberwell, Melbourne, where he recorded a blood alcohol level just over the legal limit.

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The then-65-year-old was taken to the police station and recorded a blood alcohol level of 0.058 – with the legal blood alcohol concentration being 0.05.

Bert released a statement through Channel 10 at the time, saying the incident was a ‘lesson’. 

‘I certainly do not condone drink-driving,’ he said.

‘The lesson I have learned is that drinking means no driving, even if it is several hours before. It is a lesson I will not forget.’ 

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Star: Despite the ups and downs in his career, Bert never bowed to controversy. Pictured in 2006

Star: Despite the ups and downs in his career, Bert never bowed to controversy. Pictured in 2006

In January 1964, a then-25-year-old Bert was admitted to a psychiatric ward after a severe mental breakdown, but he quickly returned to work.

But after subsequent relapses he resigned from Channel Nine and sought treatment full time.

According to a book by Graeme Blundell, the TV legend was actually injected with a course of the psychedelic drug LSD as part of his treatment.

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Mr Blundell wrote that Bert had ‘no idea that a drug of that nature was going to be given to him’.

Did well: Newton had been in the entertainment industry since age 11, when he started appearing on radio station 3XY in 1950.  Pictured in 1957

Did well: Newton had been in the entertainment industry since age 11, when he started appearing on radio station 3XY in 1950.  Pictured in 1957

‘It was like being thrown into the middle of the Indian Ocean with a life-jacket,’ Bert was quoted as saying in his biography. ‘You knew that for a moment, you could float, but you kept wondering how long you’d be safe.’

The book, titled Bert: The Story of Australia’s Favourite TV Star, claimed Bert had a ‘bad trip’ while being treated for his breakdown, which the presenter called ‘the most ghastly experience of my life.’

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‘My vision was distorting, my mind was out of gear, everything was out of kilter for me,’ he was quoted as saying. ‘Things took on a grotesque form, the room was misshapen – I don’t know how long it lasted.’

Pals: His first major gig on the small screen was as the host of The Late Show from 1957 to 1959. He then jumped over to rival network Nine and formed a friendship and partnership with Graham Kennedy. Pictured together in the 1950s

Pals: His first major gig on the small screen was as the host of The Late Show from 1957 to 1959. He then jumped over to rival network Nine and formed a friendship and partnership with Graham Kennedy. Pictured together in the 1950s

Old friends: Bert co-hosted the The Don Lane Show on the Nine Network from 1975 to 1983. Pictured with Don Lane

Old friends: Bert co-hosted the The Don Lane Show on the Nine Network from 1975 to 1983. Pictured with Don Lane 

When offered a different treatment to balance out the influence of the LSD, Bert said: ‘I tell you what, it was like coming back from hell.’

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Despite the ups and downs in his career, Bert never bowed to controversy.   

Newton had been in the entertainment industry since age 11, when he started appearing on radio station 3XY in 1950.

He continued doing ad reads for the station throughout high school, and eventually dropped out of school to work there as a DJ.

Funny man: One of his most beloved roles was as the host of the wildly popular talent show New Faces, from 1976 to 1985

Funny man: One of his most beloved roles was as the host of the wildly popular talent show New Faces, from 1976 to 1985

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‘When I left school I went to 3XY and got a job as a turntable operator playing the records and they wanted me to train as an announcer,’ he told the Herald Sun.

‘I finished up getting on air at 15, which was then the youngest announcer in Melbourne, and that was the start of everything.’

He made the leap to television in 1957, just one year after the launch of commercial television in Australia.

With a showbiz career spanning across eight decades, Newton was the last remaining link between the dawn of Aussie television and today’s industry.

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Career: In his later years, he became best known for hosting Good Morning Australia from 1993 to 2005 and Nine's 20 to 1 from 2006 to 2011. Pictured in 2002

Career: In his later years, he became best known for hosting Good Morning Australia from 1993 to 2005 and Nine’s 20 to 1 from 2006 to 2011. Pictured in 2002

His first major gig on the small screen was as the host of The Late Show from 1957 to 1959.

He then jumped over to rival network Nine and formed a friendship and partnership with Graham Kennedy.

Newton quickly became Kennedy’s loveable sidekick and the pair worked together across various shows for almost fifteen years.

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Bert co-hosted the The Don Lane Show on the Nine Network from 1975 to 1983.

Icon: With a showbiz career spanning across eight decades, Newton was the last remaining link between the dawn of Aussie television and today's industry. Pictured in 2006

 Icon: With a showbiz career spanning across eight decades, Newton was the last remaining link between the dawn of Aussie television and today’s industry. Pictured in 2006

He hosted The Annual TV Week Logie Awards for the first time in 1968, and then returned to host again the following year, and many times after that.

One of his most beloved roles was as the host of the wildly popular talent show New Faces, from 1976 to 1985.

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In his later years, he became best known for hosting Good Morning Australia from 1993 to 2005 and Nine’s 20 to 1 from 2006 to 2011.

He also fronted Bert’s Family Feud between 2006 and 2007. 

Tributes: Celebrity tributes have poured in since Newton's death, with everybody from politicians to celebrities paying their respects within hours of the news breaking

Tributes: Celebrity tributes have poured in since Newton’s death, with everybody from politicians to celebrities paying their respects within hours of the news breaking

 Celebrity tributes have poured in since Newton’s death, with everybody from politicians to celebrities paying their respects within hours of the news breaking.

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Opposition leader Anthony Albanese shared his heartfelt condolences to Newton’s loved ones.

‘My heart goes out to his family who have lost a husband, a father and friend. And to Australia who have lost an icon,’ he tweeted.

Former Labor leader Bill Shorten described Newton as a ‘world class entertainer’ and a ‘true Melbourne legend’.

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Moving: Opposition leader Anthony Albanese shared his heartfelt condolences to Newton's loved ones as did many others

Moving: Opposition leader Anthony Albanese shared his heartfelt condolences to Newton’s loved ones as did many others 

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Today Extra host, David Campbell said the late TV star was ‘the ultimate showman’.

‘The absolute and of an era. We all grew up with Bert. The ultimate showman. The man who made us all laugh,’ he wrote.

Comedian Adam Hills sung his praises, declaring Newton as the ‘ultimate entertainer’.

‘Australian TV wouldn’t be what it is without Bert. It’s up to us all to take what he taught us, and keep his spirit alive,’ he said.

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Missing him: Comedian Rove said he lost a 'mentor and a friend'

Missing him: Comedian Rove said he lost a ‘mentor and a friend’ 

‘Enormous love to his family. Take a bow, Bert. You deserve the applause.’

Channel 9 presenter Richard Wilkins said Australia had ‘lost a legend’ while 7 News’ Michael Usher said Newton deserved a ‘standing ovation’.

Australia’s health minister Greg Hunt said Newton had ‘lit up’ the screens of families for decades.

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‘He was a part of very fabric of our television landscape and a key part of the continuing evolution of the silver screen,’ Mr Hunt tweeted.

Wow: The biggest tribute came from Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who posted a lengthy statement about Newton on social media just after 11pm on Friday night

Wow: The biggest tribute came from Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who posted a lengthy statement about Newton on social media just after 11pm on Friday night

However, the biggest tribute came from Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who posted a lengthy statement about Newton on social media just after 11pm on Friday night.

Morrison said that there will ‘never be another like him’ and credited Bert as a star of television’s ‘golden age’.

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He also celebrated Newton’s marriage to wife Patti and acknowledged his ‘steadfast love’ for her.

Thoughts: Channel 9 presenter Richard Wilkins said Australia had 'lost a legend' while 7 News' Michael Usher said Newton deserved a 'standing ovation'

Thoughts: Channel 9 presenter Richard Wilkins said Australia had ‘lost a legend’ while 7 News’ Michael Usher said Newton deserved a ‘standing ovation’

Bert married wife Patti in 1974 at St Dominic’s Parish Church in Camberwell, in what ended up being one of the biggest Australian celebrity weddings of the decade.

The couple were besieged by fans and members of the media outside the church, and were barely able to make it through the crowd and into their waiting car to leave.

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They had originally met when they were both children working in radio, and then later reconnected during Newton’s time at Channel Seven.

Romance: Bert married wife Patti in 1974 at St Dominic's Parish Church in Camberwell, in what ended up being one of the biggest Australian celebrity weddings of the decade

Romance: Bert married wife Patti in 1974 at St Dominic’s Parish Church in Camberwell, in what ended up being one of the biggest Australian celebrity weddings of the decade

Sweet: The couple were besieged by fans and members of the media outside the church, and were barely able to make it through the crowd and into their waiting car to leave

Sweet: The couple were besieged by fans and members of the media outside the church, and were barely able to make it through the crowd and into their waiting car to leave

‘I was working on the QE11 in 1974 43 years ago. Bert surprised me and got on board and asked me to marry him. A wonderful Australia Day and the best thing I ever did xx,’ Patti wrote on Instagram in 2017.

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‘We lived and worked everything that was happening on television, we’ve spent a lot of time together,’ she previously told Now to Love.

‘If anything happens to either of us, whichever one it is will find it very difficult because we’ve been in one another’s pockets for well over 50 years.’

Love: 'If anything happens to either of us, whichever one it is will find it very difficult because we've been in one another's pockets for well over 50 years' Patti has said. Pictured in 2012

Love: ‘If anything happens to either of us, whichever one it is will find it very difficult because we’ve been in one another’s pockets for well over 50 years’ Patti has said. Pictured in 2012

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