Entertainment Celebrity Australian TV pioneer Jimmy Hannan dies aged 84

Australian TV pioneer Jimmy Hannan dies aged 84

A private funeral will be held for the TV icon on Friday. Photo: Youtube
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Australian television pioneer and Gold Logie winner Jimmy Hannan has died aged 84, the Nine Network reports.

Hannan, who first appeared on TV screens in 1956 as a contestant on quiz show Name That Tune, went on to become one of the most recognisable faces on Australian television for decades.

Hannan’s daughter, Emily Gillman, told Nine on Monday night that her father had “passed away peacefully after a short battle with cancer”. 

She said the TV icon died surrounded by family, and was not in pain, 

“He was 84 so he had a fantastic life,” Gillman was quoted as saying.

Hannan is survived by his wife and four children and will be farewelled in a private ceremony on Friday.

Born in 1937, Hannan hosted popular music show Saturday Date from 1963 to 1967, earning a Gold Logie in 1965 as Australia’s most popular TV personality and spawning the self-titled Jimmy variety program from 1966.

His popularity continued through the 1970s, during which he was recording up to 13 television appearances a week, as well as radio in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, according to the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

Jimmy Hannan
Hannan was one of the most popular TV personalities in the 1960s and ’70s. Photo: Channel Nine

As host of Saturday Date, Hannan helped launch the early careers of such artists as Olivia Newton-John and Billy Thorpe.

Hannan released his own single, Beach Ball, in 1963, which famously featured backing vocals from the Bee Gees, and reached number two on the Australian music charts.

Hannan stepped away from the limelight at the age of 50 and retired with his wife to a farm in Bellingen on the NSW Central Coast.

He returned to make occasional appearances on Australian TV, including a parody of the Jimmy Barnes hit Working Class Man in the the 1990s ABC comedy program, The Late Show.

Watch Hannan’s take on Barnesy below: