‘Please call me Bert’: Touching letter that tells you everything you need to know about Bert Newton 

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A touching letter written by Bert Newton over two decades ago has given a rare glimpse into the late entertainer’s generous heart.

The entertainment icon, 83, died in his hospital bed on Saturday night after a long battle with a number of illnesses, including a toe infection that saw his leg amputated from the knee down. 

In tribute, SBS World News presenter Ricardo Gonçalves posted a letter he received from Bert on his LinkedIn account. 

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‘Never got to meet Bert Newton but he was generous enough to offer me a reply when I was a kid seeking advice on how to break into TV and journalism,’ Mr Gonçalves posted. 

‘A simple acknowledgment, that went a long way, and made me feel seen.’

Personal letters and recollections of Bert Newton continue to reveal his enormous generosity after the beloved entertainer passed away on Saturday night

Personal letters and recollections of Bert Newton continue to reveal his enormous generosity after the beloved entertainer passed away on Saturday night

SBS World News presenter Ricardo Gonçalves posted a letter he received from Bert on his LinkedIn account in which the famous showman urged him 'please call me Bert'

SBS World News presenter Ricardo Gonçalves posted a letter he received from Bert on his LinkedIn account in which the famous showman urged him ‘please call me Bert’

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'Never got to meet Bert Newton but he was generous enough to offer me a reply when I was a kid seeking advice on how to break into TV and journalism,' Mr Gonçalves posted

‘Never got to meet Bert Newton but he was generous enough to offer me a reply when I was a kid seeking advice on how to break into TV and journalism,’ Mr Gonçalves posted

In the letter from July 9, 1999 on Network Ten letterhead, posted when Bert was host of Good Morning Australia, the veteran showman encourages Gonçalves to call him ‘Bert’ while apologising for taking so long to respond to him. 

‘I must admit television journalism is not my strongest suit,’ Bert wrote. 

‘Anyone from the department of television would be so much more competent to make comment. 

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‘I came to television directly from the radio from which most of the early performers were drawn when TV first arrived in Australia…

‘I’m sorry that I cannot be of more help to you, Richard,’ Bert signs off, before wishing Mr Gonçalves future success.

'I came to television directly from the radio from which most of the early performers were drawn when TV first arrived in Australia...' Bert wrote to Mr Gonçalves

‘I came to television directly from the radio from which most of the early performers were drawn when TV first arrived in Australia…’ Bert wrote to Mr Gonçalves

Music writer Cameron Adams recalled on Twitter how Bert ended up minding the family milk bar after a sudden death in the family

Music writer Cameron Adams recalled on Twitter how Bert ended up minding the family milk bar after a sudden death in the family

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Actress Christie Whelan, who now appears on Shaun Micallef's Mad As Hell, recalled how Bert would introduce her as a nervous 18-year-old on Good Morning Australia

Actress Christie Whelan, who now appears on Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell, recalled how Bert would introduce her as a nervous 18-year-old on Good Morning Australia

The letter was one of many recollections posted by people who encountered Bert during their career, or knew stories of his famed generous spirit.

Music writer Cameron Adams posted a story to Twitter about how Bert was a regular at his parents milk bar in Melbourne’s Surry Hills. 

One day when Adams’ aunt was running the store, she received a message one of her brothers had suddenly died. Bert came into the shop shortly after and then offered to drive her to relatives.

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‘He ended up going and buying brandy to calm my Aunt, then TV’s biggest star took over shopkeeper duties until my mum could get there,’ Adams wrote. 

‘What a lovely man. RIP Bert.’ 

Actress Christie Whelan, who now appears on Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell, recalled how Bert would introduce her as a nervous 18-year-old on Good Morning Australia.

‘When I was 18 and still in high school, doing my first tv gig on GMA, he used to announce me ‘wait until you see this girl, a star in the making’, even though he’d never heard me sing and I wasn’t sure any words would come out when I opened my mouth. 

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‘He was SO generous and supportive.’ 

At Network Nine in the 1960s Bert formed a longstanding friendship and partnership with the 'king' of Australian TV, Graham Kennedy

At Network Nine in the 1960s Bert formed a longstanding friendship and partnership with the ‘king’ of Australian TV, Graham Kennedy

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

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

Bert Newton’s career encompassed radio, TV and the stage, beginning with appearances on radio station 3XY in 1950.

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

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.

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

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

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

Newton hosted The Annual TV Week Logie Awards for the first time in 1968, and would go on to host the prestigious ceremony a total of 19 times.

He was also awarded the coveted Gold Logie four times.

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

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.

Affectionately known as 'Moonface', Bert's health first began to deteriorate in 2012 when he underwent a quadruple bypass. Pictured with his grandchildren in hospital a week ago

Affectionately known as ‘Moonface’, Bert’s health first began to deteriorate in 2012 when he underwent a quadruple bypass. Pictured with his grandchildren in hospital a week ago

Affectionately known as ‘Moonface’, his health first began to deteriorate in 2012 when he underwent a quadruple bypass.

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In the years following the surgery, the four-time Logie winner was hospitalised three times with pneumonia and was also diagnosed with anaemia.

Bert was hospitalised in March and underwent surgery on his leg in May. He needed surgery after his toe became infected before Christmas.

The infection was ‘linked to his diabetes’ and was threatening his life with doctors telling him the surgery was a ‘life or death decision’.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews issued a statement following the news of the comic legend’s death, saying the TV icon will ‘live on in the memories of an entire generation’, and that a state funeral will be held.

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