Luck’s on LARRY’S SIDE

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - TV Guide - - Cover Story - – Deb­bie Schipp

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.”

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