Graham Kennedy revealed in local author's book
IT WAS a dark day for Hervey Bay's Henry Gay when Graham Kennedy, known as the King of Australian television, died in 2005.
Not only was his death a loss for Australian radio, theatre, television and film, for Henry it meant losing a mate.
Mr Gay first met Kennedy in the 1950s while working at Melbourne's 3UZ radio station, which figured heavily in his life for nine years.
During that time he and Kennedy built up a life-long friendship.
They also became particularly close after Henry worked as Kennedy's ghost writer for a regular column in The Age newspaper.
"We had known each other for over 50 years and we always kept in touch," Mr Gay said.
"He wasn't the same bloke that you saw on television.
"I never looked upon him as a personality. Our friendship lasted because we shared an interest in music and show business."
After losing two other good friends in the same year, Mr Gay found himself searching for a distraction.
That's how his self-published book, Graham Kennedy and Others Revealed, came about.
The 95-page book contains a small collection of letters from Kennedy, including one that describes Mr Gay as his oldest living friend, and anecdotes about other personalities, including Charlton Heston, Julie London, Buddy Rich and Clifford "Nicky" Nicholls.
Mr Gay and Kennedy started their letter writing when Henry asked Graham for a reference as he tried for a Menzies Scholarship.
"I call it a meandering mind of events," Henry laughed.
"I followed up each letter with something that happened in my life or Graham's life.
"I had all these letters, so I thought I would write something. It's a very 'show-bizzy' book."
Since its release in December, Mr Gay said the book had attracted the attention of some big names in television, including a triple Gold Logie award-winning recipient whose name can't be revealed for privacy reasons.
"Let's put it this way - a few people that worked with Graham in 1956 have bought it," said a tight-lipped Mr Gay.
He said completing the book, which took about five years, was a great way to reminisce on his life as well as keeping memories of "The King" alive - as does Kennedy's record collection that is now in Mr Gay's possession.
Graham Kennedy and Others Revealed is available on EBay and Amazon.com.
Kennedy fast facts
- Graham was honoured with the National Order of Australia medal and was a five-time recipient of the Gold Logie, as well as having won the Star of the Year Award in 1959.
- Along with Ray Martin (a winner of five Logies) is the most awarded star of Australian television.
- Died on May 25, 2005, at 71-years-old.
Henry Gay fast facts
- Began working life in radio at 3UZ, then a little TV, involving music and research, and at Grundy's.
- Ghost writer for various people for newspapers and a record company. Dabbled in writing reviews and has written several plays, based on actual people.
- Co-founder and life member of the Hervey Bay branch of the Arts Council.
- Supporter of the Hervey Bay Bombers and Fruitbats AFL teams.
- For many years Henry's "Ere's Henry" column was a feature in the Hervey Bay Observer.