Born in England, Tony Barber says he owes much of his enthusiastic and driving personality to a loving Irish grandma and a whole street full of Aunties who kept the spirits high during the dark years of World War II.
The family came to Australia in 1947 and Anthony (as the rellies call him) survived the Sisters of Mercy, the Christian Brothers and seven years training to be a Royal Australian Naval Officer before finally getting his foot on the first rung of the media ladder as a cadet announcer at 6GE Geraldton in 1961.
“The sisters of so-called mercy taught me to sing & dance, the brothers taught me to bob & weave. The navy taught me to play rugby,” says Tony explaining how he came to play rugger at Twickenham for the Navy.
By the end of '62, he was Perth’s leading DJ as well as the star of the Charles Hotel Floor Show and the Lido Coral Room, doing Johnny Mathis and Paul Anka impressions. He also starred in rep. productions with the Scarborough players.
Through the mid sixties Tony pursued his dreams in Sydney via Hotel Talent Quests, a regular gig as resident compere and vocalist at the legendary Spellsons Nitery in Pitt St and a “day job” as an advertising executive. He cast himself as the “Cambridge Whistler”, the central character in a TV cigarette that soon came under national scrutiny.
The commercial caught the public imagination, and more importantly the eye of Bruce Gyngell then directing the Network 7 “Revolution”. Gyngell proposed Tony as Host for the Grundy daytime show “Temptation” and his career really took off from there.
Prime time followed with “Great Temptation” , a Gold Logie, a series of Gold Albums for RCA. and sell-out concerts all round the country. Including the “Temptation” series, “Family Feud” and all the way through to eleven years with “Sale of the Century”, Tony estimates he’s hosted over 8,500 individual episodes of successful Grundy Games.
Tony’s own show 'Who am I', is a one man musical biography which he’s played in over three hundred venues to over a quarter of a million patrons. His recently published autobiography(Random House) of the same name, made the best seller lists nationally in May 2000, and has been critically acclaimed.
The demand for Tony’s services in the Corporate sector is constant and has included long term associations with Westfield, Hyundai, Diners Club, Trafalgar Tours, and presently Renaissance Television and Primelife Corporation. Tony's 'Cash Trivia Challenge' on Foxtel's TV1 has run 7 nights a week 40 weeks of the year for the past 3 years.
He also works with Visy Industries, Australia's biggest manufacturer and distributor of packaging and paper products, and for the Pratt family and associated Charities and Companies as Entertainment co-ordinator and Presenter.
Tony resides in Melbourne and has been happily married to Helen for 33 years and has two daughters Kelly, an Art Director and Jacqueline, an actress and student.
His hobbies include golf (he has a handicap of 15), swimming, skiing, tennis, and horse riding. He is an avid reader, and theatregoer and is computer semi-literate.
Tony Barber travels from Victoria Australia