Sad news today that Ian “Turps” Turpie has lost his battle with cancer. He was 68.
Most recently known for his performances in Paul Fenech’s Housos and Swift & Shift Couriers, Turps had performed for his entire life, be it stage, radio, theatre or television. He performed on a number of television shows throughout the 70’s but is best remembered for his hosting role on The New Price Is Right which offered him national recognition throughout the 1980’s.
Thanks to Roy & HG’s Club Buggery he continued to shine into the 1990’s on TV, as well as perform in clubs around Australia. Turpie loved talking to people and never took himself too seriously. He’s credited with discovering Olivia Newton-John and is rumoured to have been an early boyfriend of the now Hollywood star. Turpie was known to be one of TV’s nice guys who always had time for his fans and never took the fame game too seriously.
In his career, Ian Turpie received one Logie, two Penguin awards and was honoured at the 2011 Mo Awards by being made a member of the Hall of Fame. He is survived by loving wife Jan, three children and three grandchildren. Ian Turpie was an Australian entertainment legend in anyone’s language, and will be missed by many.
Turpie’s full bio (from his website http://www.ianturpie.com.au):
Ian Turpie is an Australian entertainment legend, whose career spans over 50 years.
He has covered virtually every facet of show business with incredible success and remains one of todays most professional and easy-going celebrities.
Born in Melbourne in 1943, Ian began his entertainment career at the tender age of 10, when he was accepted at the prestigious Hector Crawford Drama School and gained recognition as a juvenile actor working in radio and theatre.
He starred in a number of radio programmes alongside Sir Robert Helpmann and June Bronhill, and featured in the top rating series D24, which became one of the most dominant and influential programmes in Australian radio history.
During Ian’s teens, he discovered a passion for music and focused on playing guitar, songwriting and singing. By the age of 16, Ian was a seasoned radio and stage performer, touring Australia in such hits as Peter Pan, Auntie Mame and Bye Bye Birdie, and appearing in several National Theatre Productions including Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
Television soon beckoned, and Ian made regular appearances on Bandstand, Time for Terry and The Graham Kennedy Show. In 1964, Ian played a bank robber in the original episode of the programme that was to become a TV phenomenon — “Homicide”.
His natural talents as musician and compere were recognized at 21, when he replaced Johnny O’Keefe for a stint as national television compere on “Sing Sing Sing”. Following this experience, Ian was chosen to host the top rating teenage variety show “The Go!! Show”.
In the 70’s, Ian moved to Sydney to work the lucrative club circuit, and continued to make guest appearances on numerous television shows including The Mike Walsh Show, The Bert Newton Show, A Guy Called Athol and the ABC variety series, Follies.
In the 80’s, Ian’s name became synonymous with the catchphrase “Come on Down” when he became host of the highly successful, frenzied game show “The New Price is Right”. This was followed by other game shows including “Press your Luck” and “Supermarket Sweep”.
In the 90’s, Ian developed cult status following a regular, four-year stint as Club President on Roy & HG’s Club Buggery. Known as the “Giant of the G Chord”, he performed sublime renditions of such classics as Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, and, complete with suspenders, Rocky Horror Picture’s “Time Warp”.
Less serious Club Buggery appearances in “Turps about the House”, “Captain Ajax” and “Sam Stain” showcased his comedic talents.
From the frenzy of “The Go!! Show” to the cult status of “Club Buggery”, Ian Turpie has appeared on almost every major Australian variety television show over the past fifty years.
More recently, Ian’s diverse talent and people skills have been utilised by major corporates including Woolworths, Microsoft and Pfizer, as an entertainer, M.C, even auctioneer.
His many accolades include a Logie for Best Light Entertainment show “Turpie Tonight”, a MO Award and two Penguin awards.
Away from the media spotlight, Ian is a tireless worker for charities, a golfing fanatic and a true family man. He’s been married to his beautiful wife Jan for 43 years, has three children and three grandchildren.