Richard Wilkins became emotional on Friday as he reacted to the death of legendary Australian TV executive Brian Walsh live on Today Extra.
Nine’s long-serving entertainment editor, 68, described the Foxtel boss as a hard worker who never lost his passion for the television business.
‘So loved. So many close friends within the business and without the business,’ Wilkins told his co-hosts David Campbell and Sylvia Jeffreys.
‘And a real pro. He worked, worked his tail off,’ he added.
Jeffreys remarked Walsh was a ‘creative genius’ but also ‘a really genuine and caring person’.
Richard Wilkins (pictured) became emotional on Friday as he reacted to the death of legendary Australian TV executive Brian Walsh live on Today Extra
‘He genuinely cared about everything he produced, and everyone involved,’ she said.
Wilkins became emotional as he continued: ‘He just loved the business, loved the people in the business, loved the business of the business, you know?
‘He loved people… So many people. Sorry, I don’t know what to say.’
Campbell then took over as he paid his respects to Walsh’s family, adding that his death is a ‘huge loss’ to the industry.
Jeffreys remarked Walsh was a ‘creative genius’ but also ‘a really genuine and caring person’
Wilkins became emotional as he said: ‘He just loved the business, loved the people in the business, loved the business of the business, you know?’
Walsh – who in a decades-long career in radio, film and television was responsible for many of Australia’s biggest biggest entertainment exports – has died aged 68.
He was the prime mover behind the TV series Neighbours’ global success and the launch of the careers of stars Kylie Minogue, Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman.
Walsh, who was most recently an executive at Foxtel, was described by the company as ‘an iconic figure throughout Foxtel’s 28-year history and one of the most admired creative leaders in Australian television’.
After working at a young age in radio, Brian joined Network Ten where he launched major network events, including the acclaimed Kennedy Miller mini-series Vietnam, The Bangkok Hilton, and The Dirtwater Dynasty.
Legendary TV executive Brian Walsh – the man behind the Neighbours TV series and the careers of Kylie Minogue, Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman has died at the age of 68
Marta Dusseldorp speaks as Sam Neill and Brian Walsh look on during the cast announcement of Foxtel’s new original crime drama series ‘The Twelve’ in 2021
Brian Walsh is responsible for the global success of the TV series and well as the international career of Kylie Minogue (above with Jason Donovan in Neighbours)
Brian is also credited with responsibility for the international success of the iconic Australian family drama series, ‘Neighbours’ and launching the careers of Jason Donovan and Guy Pearce.
Kyle and Jackie O reacted live on air to news of Walsh’s death with genuine shock and sadness.
Jackie O said: ‘Loved Brian. It’s a real shock…. He was very passionate. He was Foxtel.’
Kyle said: ‘Love to his family and friends and everyone at Foxtel. He was one of the nice television types.
‘That’s a shock to the system. When people you know die, it’s a shock to the system. We were close.’
Walsh created the Simply The Best season launch for the National Rugby League which featured Tina Turner, and was also the creative force behind rugby league grand final and State of Origin Entertainment shows and events.
He also acted as the publicist for the Australian concert tours of megastars, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Neil Diamond, Ricky Martin and Barbra Streisand.
Two of Australia’s biggest stars Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman (above) can thank Brian Walsh in part for their international careers as actors
At Foxtel, he had creative control over Australian television series including Wentworth, Upright, Deadline Gallipoli, The Kettering Incident, The End and most recently the award-winning and globally distributed series Love Me, Colin from Accounts and The Twelve.
As tributes poured in for Walsh on Friday, commentator Prue MacSween described him as ‘larger than life, a king maker and a true showman … loyal, genuine and a huge loss’.
Lisa Wilkinson said it was Brian who was responsible for her early TV career as a contestant on the series Beauty and the Beast.
In a statement expressing the Foxtel Group’s profound sadness, CEO Patrick Delany said: ‘This is a very difficult day for the Foxtel Group family, for Australia’s creative community and the millions of Australians who watched and loved the stories that Brian bought to life through television.
‘Australia’s creative community has lost a much-loved figure in Brian. For us, the loss is heavily felt.
‘At the Foxtel Group, Brian was a long-time mentor, a confidant, a colleague and an unwavering friend to so many. Today, we are grieving Brian’s passing.
‘Our condolences go to his family and to those closest to him. We have lost an icon of Australian television that will never be replaced. Rest in peace, Brian.’
Brian Walsh died in Sydney on Thursday.
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