Seven days of TV view­ing

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - DEB­BIE SCHIPP

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.

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