Obituary: Tony Charlton

Tony Charlton, one of the pioneer sporting commentators on Australian TV, has died at the age of 83 after a battle with bowel cancer.

The veteran broadcaster passed away this morning surrounded by his family.

Born in Sydney and educated in Perth, Charlton began his broadcasting career in Melbourne in the 1950s calling VFL matches on 3AW with legendary broadcaster Norman Banks.

His father, Conrad, had been a radio announcer when the ABC was inaugurated in 1932, and his brother, Michael, was a popular ABC presenter in the early days of television and was the founding host of current affairs program Four Corners.

He was part of the pioneering team of broadcasters that covered the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games — the first major TV event in Australia — for GTV9.

Charlton went on to become part of the inaugural VFL commentary team for HSV7 before returning to GTV9 (pictured) where he was producer, presenter and commentator for various sporting broadcasts, including the Sunday afternoon Tony Charlton Football Show, for more than a decade.

In 1967 he became the envy of media outlets around the world when he was granted an exclusive interview with British sailor Sir Francis Chichester who had completed a history-making solo voyage around of the world.  British and American broadcasters approached GTV9 to obtain rights to Charlton’s world exclusive interview.

From 1970 to 1983 he was promoter and tournament director of the Australian Open, the PGA Championship and the Victorian Open.

For 30 years he was MC at the Caltex Sports Star Of The Year awards and also hosted many sporting functions — including the Prime Minister’s Olympic Dinner, an annual fundraising event, for twenty years and the MCG Media Hall Of Fame induction dinners.

He was inducted into the Sports Australia Hall Of Fame in 2007 and the AFL Hall Of Fame in 2011.

He donated his time generously to various charities, including the Alfred Hospital Foundation, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, the Starlight Foundation and the Anti-Cancer Council of Victoria.

Charlton has maintained his links to broadcasting, doing commercial and voice over work and in the 1990s presented a weekend program on 3AW.

He was awarded an Order of Australia medal in 1990 and appointed a member of the Order of Australia in 2003.

In 2008 he received the Order of Merit from the Australian Olympic Committee.

Tony Charlton is survived by his wife Loris and three children.

Source: 3AW, Sports Australia, Australia Day. The Age, 2 June 1967.

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