Bert Newton’s funeral: state service planned for entertainment legend
New details on the state funeral for entertainment legend Bert Newton have emerged, including a request from wife Patti.
New details for the planned state funeral for Australian entertainment icon Bert Newton have been revealed, with his widow Patti Newton determined to add a touch of show business.
Patti met with officials from the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday to discuss the arrangements.
The funeral is scheduled to take place at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne next week.
The service will not be televised but is expected to be broadcast live.
Australian entertainment journalist Peter Ford, a close family friend, expects an official announcement to be made this week.
“What Patti was very determined to do was try to strike a balance between a church service, a mass, but also an element of show business,” he said.
Bert and Patti’s son Matt will not be attending the funeral, but will instead send a message to share the same day.
The father and son’s relationship has come under intense media scrutiny, with Matt choosing not to return to Australia this year despite Bert’s illness.
Matt, who lives in the US, has had regular FaceTime conversations with his dad over the past few weeks.
Patti Newton this week denied reports that there had been a “rift” between the two before Bert’s death.
She said logistics and the Covid-19 pandemic were hampering travel plans.
Tributes have been pouring in since news of Newton’s death was confirmed on Saturday, with public tributes describing him as an industry giant who was the ultimate artist.
Longtime friend and fellow artist, Olivia Newton-John paid homage to the star overnight, calling him “kind, funny and quick-witted.”
“I’ve been lucky enough to know Bert since I was a teenager and started my career in Melbourne,” Newton-John posted on Instagram.
“Everyone in Australia loved Bert! He was the perfect TV host and a lovely, lovely person with the rare gift of perfect comedic timing.
“Bert gave off a natural warmth that always made you feel comfortable in his company.”
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews announced the state funeral in a statement Sunday after the death of the 83-year-old.
“Bert Newton was an icon, a larrikin and a born artist. We’ve never known television without Bert – he was there from the start, ”said Andrews.
“Above all of his accomplishments, he was a family man and his biggest partnership was with his wife for nearly 50 years, Patti. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, their children and their grandchildren.
“We will all have the opportunity to honor his memory, his talent and his accomplishments at a state funeral. Details will be shared in the coming days.