Chris Bearde, the English-born writer who grew up in Australia and became a success in the US, died earlier this week at the age of 80.
After working in radio, Bearde made the move to TV just as it was starting in Australia. He was host of a children’s program, Smalltime, and doubled as a booth announcer at Sydney’s ATN7.
He was also a scriptwriter for the station’s other children’s program Captain Fortune and for the top-rating variety show Revue ’61.
The Revue series was sold to Canada’s CTV network and Bearde himself ended up in Canada as a writer for local comedy shows Nightcap and Network before going to Hollywood to join the writing team for the hit show Rowan And Martin’s Laugh-In and to produce shows including The Andy Williams Show.
Bearde returned to Australia on a few occasions. In 1965 he took a break over the Canadian summer to come to Melbourne to guest host In Melbourne Tonight with his sister, Robina Beard — herself a successful actress, TV presenter and performer.
In the late 1960s he returned to Australia again to produce a comedy special Ready When You Are, CB. The Nine Network production was loosely modelled on the same format of quick-fire comedy sketches as Laugh-In.
He went back to the US where among other things he created the mock talent quest The Gong Show in 1976. The show had a minor run on Australian television.
Bearde is reported to have died of a heart attack.
Chris Bearde is survived by his wife Carolyn, six children and six grandchildren.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter, IMDB. TV Times, 28 July 1965. Forty Years Of Television: The Story Of ATN7, 1996.