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Tributes pour in for 'honourable' Grundy

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Renowned photographer: Reg Grundy at his first Bermuda home in Warwick. He has published several photography books, including one focusing on longtails

Family and friends have paid tribute to television icon Reg Grundy whose love for Bermuda, they say, was “absolute”.

The Australian media mogul, whose TV credits included the globally successful soap opera Neighbours, Prisoner: Cell Block H and Wheel Of Fortune, passed away in his wife’s arms at their Bermuda estate on Friday, aged 92.

Locally, Mr Grundy, OBE, PhD, is known for his photographs of the island’s longtails, which adorn the walls of L.F. Wade International Airport as well as the Commissioner’s House in Dockyard.

His wife, Joy Chambers-Grundy, who moved to Bermuda with her husband in 1982, highlighted some of his many commitments to the island including a gift to the National Museum to carefully reconstruct Bastion E and to incorporate 20 longtail nesting boxes in the walls. The bastion, still under construction, is to be named the Dr Reg Grundy Bastion in his memory.

She released a statement to say of her late husband: “While some might think his life was glamorous and jet-setting, he preferred a simple walk through Warwick Park or a swim at Horseshoe Bay or popping into Bermuda’s coffee shops, like TEN.

“Reg Grundy did not seek the limelight, he loved Bermuda and called it his haven.”

She told The Royal Gazette: “The love of my life has gone. My husband cast a huge shadow which fell around the world, and the tokens of esteem which have come to me have been absolutely overwhelming.

“I was a teenager when I met him and I fell in love with him almost immediately.

“Reg was unpretentious, an honourable man whose handshake was his bond and he treated all people equally.

“Beautiful Bermuda was his fortress. He used to sing the old Irving Berlin hit, I’ll Be Loving You Always, to me and I will miss him all the days of my life.”

Mrs Grundy said her husband did not seek acclaim but was awarded the Order of the British Empire, the Australian Film Industry’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Companion of the Order of Australia, the International Founder’s Emmy and Monaco’s Golden Nymph Award among others.

He was a close friend of former Premier Sir John Swan, who remembered his commitment to Bermuda and its people.

Sir John told The Royal Gazette: “On behalf of my wife and I, I would like to send my deepest sympathy to his family. We have known the Grundys for longer than I can remember and they were always committed to Bermuda in doing things that help Bermuda to identify itself.

“He was able to bring many international people to here in various areas of endeavour. When he brought people at these levels and they liked it. They were able to go back and speak of Bermuda in a very affectionate sense. His love for Bermuda was absolute.

“We all have to pass on but we have lost one of Bermuda’s good friends.

“He and his wife were a very close couple so when you met with them you always appreciated the bond between them.”

Elder statesman Quinton Edness was a close friend of Mr Grundy and was in awe of his creativity.

“We were friends for close to 30 years,” he said. “He was an outstanding person and very talented creatively. He had such fabulous ideas all of the time. He had a wonderful sense of humour and was just a fun person to be friends with.

“My wife Vicky and I are really very distraught at his passing. Both he and Joy are two of our very best friends. He absolutely loved Bermuda and the Bermudian people. He always wanted to be here. We hope Joy will know God’s comfort during this trying time.”

Mr Grundy oversaw the running of Grundy Worldwide, his international television production and distribution company that in the 1980s and 1990s was the largest independent production company in the world.

His catalogue of programming was distributed to close to 80 countries and his organisation consisted of local production companies in countries including Australia, New Zealand, Britain, America, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Mr Grundy has published several photography books, including Bermuda Longtail, which was distributed to all of Bermuda’s schools in 2012. His love of photography was also revealed in his fine art book, The Wildlife of Reg Grundy which was published to critical acclaim in 2010.

His latest book, Mother and Child, published last year, includes a passage about his love for “the glorious longtail of Bermuda” writing in the introduction: “Joy says that if I come back to Earth I’ll be a longtail. I wouldn’t mind that a bit.”

Devoted husband: Reg Grundy with his beloved wife, Joy Chambers-Grundy
Committed to island: Reg Grundy at his Idlewood Lagoon home in St George’s. Bermuda was “his fortress”, his wife says