Former radio and television personality Ernie Sigley (pictured) has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
The family of the 78-year-old entertainer released a statement earlier today that he had been living with the disease for most of this year. The family released the statement after various approaches from media over the weekend with Sigley’s beloved Western Bulldogs winning the AFL Grand Final for the first time in over 60 years.
“While he would love to have been at the MCG to watch his beloved Western Bulldogs make history, Ernie had to settle for the live television broadcast,” the statement said.
With a career beginning in radio as a teenager, Sigley was one of the first hosts on Melbourne television, presenting the pop music show Teenage Mailbag on HSV7 from 1957.
He worked overseas at the BBC and Radio Luxembourg before returning to Australia to host Adelaide Tonight for almost a decade. His popularity in Adelaide saw him collect a number of TV Week Logies for South Australia.
Returning to Melbourne in 1974, for two years he hosted the national The Ernie Sigley Show from GTV9 with Denise Drysdale. The show was a ratings hit and the pair (pictured with John Wayne) collected Gold Logies in 1975 for their popularity with viewers.
Later hosting credits for Sigley included Ernie, The Penthouse Club (later Saturday Night Live), Wheel Of Fortune, Thursday Night Live, The Ernie Sigley Show (again), Pot Luck, In Melbourne Today and In Sydney Today — the latter two re-uniting him with Drysdale on screen and which later became Ernie And Denise.
Sigley also continued to work in Melbourne radio for many years, including 3DB, 3AK and over a decade in the afternoon shift at 3AW.
He retired from radio in 2008 but continued to perform, including a tour with Drysdale.
One of his most recent TV appearances was with Drysdale on the morning show The Circle in 2010.