Luck’s on LARRY’S SIDE
Larry Emdur dropped out of school at 15 to go surfing.
Three decades later, he’s one of Channel Seven’s biggest stars.
As the co-host of Seven’s Morning Show, and more recently the “comeback” host of Seven’s 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 television job in his late teens, and six years ago thought his luck had run out.
Bondi boy Emdur had left school at 15, ‘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 to his local Bondi’s community paper, the Spectator.
Emdur shoved his copy under the door of the Spectator office when his shift finished. Two days later it appeared on the front page.
“It had my byline on it. I thought, ‘I like this’, so I kept doing it, shoving stories under the door a couple of times a week,” he said.
“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 Seven and said “look, I’m a journalist’.”
He was 17 when Seven hired him. He became an overnight newsreader, reported on news and current affairs, and even presented on Good Morning Australia.
In 1993 Emdur’s profile exploded when he was recruited as presenter of Channel Nine’s revival of game show The Price Is Right. For five years Emdur made the “come on down” catchcry, created by original format host Ian Turpie, his own.
The show ended in 1998, only to be revived again in 2003, again with Emdur at the helm, for another two years.
Emdur then moved to Channel Seven, to host Wheel of Fortune, but when it was canned at the end of 2006 he thought his luck had run out.
“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.
“I thought, ‘maybe I’m done. Maybe I go out as The Price Is Right guy and leave it at that’, because I didn’t want to die a sad television death.”
He considered moving into full-time
I just went forward taking every opportunity with enthusiasm, and got lucky
corporate speaking and investing in property.
“I had done quite a bit of property stuff because I realised there was no longevity in television, so I was buying little units and doing them up, and thankfully I’d been brought up in Bondi so that market has always been very hot,” Emdur says.
Then came Seven’s offer of The Morning Show, and Emdur, true to form, said yes.
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 sometime next month, Emdur has collected about 9000 hugs and kisses from contestants answering the “come on down” call, and one knee to the nether regions.
“Well probably a couple more than that, but that’s the one that made YouTube,” he laughs.
Of his “Mr Nice Guy” persona, the knockabout Emdur tries to 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 with relish, failing miserably 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’.
“On my school reports the best I ever got was a “C”. The reports read: ‘Larry is a pleasant young fellow who doesn’t pay much attention’. Which is sort of the same today, really.”
He says he’s survived in television by “not taking it too seriously, not believing what people say and write and read about him, and saying “yes” to everything.
“I’ve probably been axed more than anyone else in television, and I’m not sort of proud of it, but it’s worked for me, if that makes sense, because it’s enabled me to move on,” he says. Surely that’s down to more than luck? Emdur’s response is considered, and adamant.
“No, I’m going to stick with the luck thing,” he says.
“I’m not qualified to do any of this. There are people who have worked much harder and more focussed.
“I could never have been the architect of this. I just went forward taking every opportunity with enthusiasm, and got lucky.”