Seven days of TV viewing
LARRY Emdur dropped out of school at 15 to go surfing.
Three decades later, he’s one of Channel 7’ s biggest stars.
As the co- host of Seven’s Morning Show, and more recently the comeback host of the network’s game show, The Price Is Right, Emdur is hot, hilarious property.
And he puts it all down to no more than luck, opportunity and never saying no to anything.
Emdur, 47, recently shot his 1500th episode of The Price Is Right and chalked up five years of co- hosting The Morning Show.
Not bad for a bloke who cheerily confesses he scammed his way into his first TV job in his late teens, and six years ago thought his luck had run out.
Bondi boy Emdur had left school at 15 when he was ‘‘ kicked out because I just didn’t turn up. I just wanted to surf and found work as an overnight copyboy at The Sun newspaper at 16.
‘‘ I had no driving ambition to be a journalist I just wanted a night job so I could surf,’’ he says.
One night another journalist suggested he repackage a story running in the newspaper to offer his local Bondi community’s paper, the Spectator.
Emdur shoved his copy under the door of the Spectator office when his shift finished and two days later it appeared on the front page. ‘‘ It had my byline on it,’’ he recalls. ‘‘ I thought: ‘ I like this’, so I kept doing it, shoving stories under the door a couple of times a week.
‘‘ I never met the editor, never asked to get paid. But what I did get was printed, so after a year I had a scrapbook and I took it to Channel 7 and said ‘ look, I’m a journalist’.’’
He was 17 when Seven hired him and he became an overnight newsreader, reported on news and current affairs and presented on Good Morning Australia.
In 1993, Emdur’s profile exploded when he was recruited as presenter of Channel 9’ s revival of game show The Price Is Right. The show ended in 1998, only to be revived again in 2003, again with Emdur at the helm, for another two years.
Emdur moved to Channel 7 to host Wheel of Fortune, which was canned at the end of 2006.
This is when Emdur was convinced his luck had run dry.
‘‘ I thought: ‘ I’ve done most things, I’ve done pretty much every format there was to do so maybe it’s time to try something else’,’’ he says.
He considered moving into full- time corporate speaking and property investment.
Then came Seven’s offer of The Morning Show and Emdur, true to form, said ‘‘ yes’’.
And resurrecting The Price Is Right this year has been the icing on the cake.
‘‘ I was genuinely excited to bring this show back, because it was such a great period of our lives as a family. It was omnipresent,’’ he says.
With the 1500th episode to air this month, Emdur has collected about 9000 hugs and kisses from contestants answering the ‘‘ come on down’’ call.
Of his Mr- Nice- Guy persona, the knockabout Emdur tries to be demur. ‘‘ That’s rubbish! Anyone who knows me well knows that’s rubbish. I just bung that on for the camera. I’m an absolute diva,’’ he says failing to be serious.
That 15- year- old surfer certainly had no plans for it to come to this.
‘‘ Back then I had zero ambition to do anything, particularly in the media, because I couldn’t spell and I couldn’t write and I couldn’t talk,’’ he says.
‘‘ That’s why today I look at what’s happening for me now and think I am the luckiest guy in the world.’’
He says he’s survived in television by not taking it too seriously, not believing what people say, write and read about him and saying yes to everything.