Bert Newton’s amazing gift to dying AIDS patient revealed


bert newton 2013 tv aids patient peter ford
Bert Newton in 2013. Image: Eva Rinaldi/Flickr

Bert Newton’s kind gesture to a man dying of AIDS has been revealed following the TV legend’s death at the weekend.

Appearing on radio station 2GB’s Ben Fordham Live, entertainment reporter and longtime friend Peter Ford recalled Newton’s “simply amazing” gesture to a friend of Ford’s dying of AIDS.

“This goes back about 31 years ago,” Ford explained.

“I had a friend at the time who was dying as a result of AIDS.

“In Melbourne, we had a place called the Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital. I mean, even the name’s scary.

“That’s where the AIDS patients went and that’s where my friend was. I was trying to find ways to cheer him up.”

Ford sent letters to various celebrities on his friend’s behalf, asking them to sign cards for his friend and send them back.

“Everyone did it in a week, except Bert,” he said.

Bert Newton left man on his deathbed ‘on a high’ with visit

Peter Ford explained he was “a bit disappointed” not to have heard from Bert Newton but assumed he was “busy”.

However, days later, Ford visited his friend in the hospital.

“I went out to the hospital and there was a sort of buzz in the air. As soon as I walked in, I could tell it was a different mood and place to what it normally was,” Ford said.

“The bloke on the desk said, ‘You’re not gonna believe it. Bert Newton’s been here for the last few hours,'” Ford recalled.

“He’s gone around to every single person in the AIDS ward and sat with them, told them stories, made them laugh’.

At the time, people were still fearful of catching AIDS, Ford recalled, and “nobody wanted to go to that hospital, even if you had loved ones here.”

“I went into my friend, who suddenly was on a high. He literally had days to die,” he said.

“And he said, ‘I can’t believe it, Bert was here for over an hour and he told me these amazing stories.'”

Ford said he then looked to his friend’s bedside table and saw Bert had left a gift: one of his four Gold Logie Awards.

“Bert had actually left this complete stranger one of his Gold Logies,” he said.

“I rang Bert and I said, ‘I can’t believe you did that.’ He said, ‘Of course, but you can’t ever report that until I’ve carked it.’ Those were his words.

“He said, ‘I’ve broken some Logie Law and they’ll probably come after me.'”

Tributes as Bert Newton dies age 83

Peter Ford told 2GB he had kept that promise to Bert. He said the memory was just one example of the TV and radio legend’s kindness as a person.

Bert Newton had sadly suffered several years of ill health. Most recently, he was battling complications since undergoing surgery to have his leg amputated in May.

Bert died in palliative care on Saturday at age 83.

Numerous poignant tributes have flowed for the star since news of his death broke on Saturday night.

In his home state of Melbourne, Bert will be farewelled with an upcoming state funeral.

Read also: Bert Newton calls himself poof during Logies speech.

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3 Comments

  1. Zoe
    1 November 2021
    Reply

    He truly was an amazing man, and I am sure there are many other stories like this that will come out as time goes by. He sure deserves a State, or even a National, funeral.

  2. Mack
    4 November 2021
    Reply

    I liked him before… I love him now. RIP you good old Moonface

  3. Peter Turner
    5 November 2021
    Reply

    What an amazing gesture especially at that time when everyone was so afraid of contracting the virus. All of my best wishes to Bert’s family and friends at this time of loss.

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