New details on the state funeral for entertainment legend Bert Newton have emerged, including one demand from wife Patti.
New details for the planned state funeral of Australian entertainment icon Bert Newton have been revealed, with his widow Patti Newton determined to add a dash of show business.
Patti met with representatives from the Premier’s office on Monday to discuss the arrangements.
The funeral is expected to be held at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Melbourne next week.
The service will not be televised but is expected to be live-streamed.
Australian entertainment journalist Peter Ford, a close friend of the family, expects a formal announcement to be made this week.
“What Patti was very determined to do was to try and find that middle ground between it being a religious service, a mass, but also have the show business element as well,” he said.
Bert and Patti’s son Matt will not attend the funeral, but instead send a message to be shared on the day.
The father and son’s relationship has been subject to intense scrutiny in the media, with Matt choosing not to fly back to Australia this year despite Bert’s illness.
Matt, who lives in the US, had been having regular FaceTime conversations with his father over the last several weeks.
Patti Newton this week rubbished reports there was any “rift” between the two before Bert’s death.
She said logistics and the Covid-19 pandemic were impeding the travel plans.
Tributes have been pouring in since news of Newton‘s death was confirmed on Saturday, with public tributes describing him as a giant of the industry who was the ultimate entertainer.
Longtime friend and fellow entertainer Olivia Newton-John paid tribute to the star overnight, calling him “kind, funny and quick-witted”.
“I was lucky enough to have known Bert since I was a teenager starting my career in Melbourne,” Newton-John posted on Instagram.
“Everyone in Australia loved Bert! He was the perfect TV host and a loveable, charming person with the rare gift of perfect comic timing.
“Bert exuded a natural warmth that always made you feel comfortable in his company.”
Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews announced the state funeral in a statement on Sunday following the 83 year-old’s death.
“Bert Newton was an icon, a larrikin and a born entertainer. We have never known TV without Bert – he was there from the beginning,” Mr Andrews said.
“Above all his achievements, he was a family man and his greatest partnership was with his wife of almost 50 years, Patti. Our thoughts and prayers are with her, their children and their grandchildren.
“We will all have an opportunity to honour his memory, his talent and his achievements at a state funeral. Details will be shared in the coming days.”