Tony Ward, veteran Australian actor and TV journalist died in Sydney May 9 from cancer-related complications. He was 82.
Ward, an actor since his late teens, began his career in television as a producer at Channel Nine and he later stepped in front of the camera as a reporter for the ABC’s “Seven Days” and later for Channel Ten’s public affairs program “Telescope.”
It was while working on “Telescope” in 1966 that Ward’s agent called him and set him up for the role that he would be best remembered for. The actor played agent John Hunter in the first Aussie spy series “Hunter,” which aired on the Nine Network and showed its eponymous hero battling spies, with Ward doing most of his own stunt work.
“Hunter” was an ambitious project for a TV drama industry that was only a few years old and it filmed along Australia’s east coast and in Singapore.
Series proved a huge hit and made a star of Ward who went on to have small roles in “Boney,” Aussie sudser “Sons and Daughters” and Stateside sudser “Dynasty.” But Ward’s work in television current affairs was not over.
In 1971 he saw that Aussie TV presenter Mike Willesee was looking to start up a current affairs skein for the Nine Network and he contacted the presenter from the set of “Boney” to show interest. After showing Willesee footage from his days on “Seven Days” and “Telescope” he was given the job as the first reporter on the now long-running skein “A Current Affair.”
Ward covered the gamut of 1970s politics in Oz but he it was on a lighter story that he is credited with discovering Paul Hogan when he interviewed the then Sydney Harbour Bridge painter for a spot on “A Current Affair.” After leaving television current affairs in the 1980s Ward worked for pubcasters the ABC and SBS and made docus.
He is survived by a sister, a brother Peter, a daughter and a stepson.