Self-made man of

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books - Ed­die: The Rise and Rise of Ed­die McGuire By Michael Bodey Ha­chette, 352pp, $32.99

Many years ago, dur­ing the golden age of Who Wants to Be a Mil­lion­aire?, I had the heady ex­pe­ri­ence of win­ning my way through to the show’s hot seat. As a re­sult, I got to feel like Ed­die McGuire’s best mate for two nights run­ning. The sen­sa­tion was far from un­pleas­ant, even if it cul­mi­nated in my fail­ure to fur­nish Ed with the cor­rect name of the man who in­vented Vegemite.

Watch­ing McGuire do his stuff up close, I had a sense of the charm and hard work that have but­tressed his fan­tas­tic suc­cess. He was as un­can­nily ge­nial and un­selfish off-cam­era as he was on it. Sev­eral hours be­fore tap­ing, he turned up to re­hearse and ban­ter with each prospec­tive hot-seater. Later, af­ter I blew it on the Vegemite ques­tion, he sought me out and of­fered a cheer­ing pep-talk for the road.

He was the star who didn’t be­have like one. His small talk had sub­stance. More than a dec- ade later, I still find it hard to hear a bad word said against him.

Michael Bodey, au­thor of this thor­ough if some­times un­pol­ished bi­og­ra­phy of McGuire, feels a sim­i­lar af­fec­tion for his sub­ject, even af­ter sur­vey­ing the full facts of the life. “My ad­mi­ra­tion has grown the more I learned or heard about the man,” he writes in a fore­word. Ed­die doesn’t skimp on McGuire’s gaffes and fail­ures, but it presents am­ple ev­i­dence that the achieve­ments out­weigh them.

McGuire’s ravenous work ethic comes from his im­mi­grant par­ents. His fa­ther came from the Glas­gow coalmines, his mother from ru­ral Ire­land. They raised Ed­die and his three sib­lings in the Mel­bourne sub­urb of Broad­mead­ows. For Ed­die, it was a hum­ble place from which to set out. As a cub sports re­porter for Chan­nel 10 he built a rep­u­ta­tion as a go-get­ter. By 30 he’d set­tled at Nine, where he be­came the mas­ter­mind and inau­gu­ral host of The Footy Show.

Read­ing about McGuire can make you feel de­pressed, as if you’ve wasted your life by con­sis­tently fail­ing to be in more than one place at a time. What­ever you’re do­ing right now, shouldn’t you be run­ning a com­pany or two on the side? Shouldn’t you have got up at 4.30am

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