Patti Newton, an Australian singer, actor, dancer, stage performer, and radio and television host, has had a long and successful career in show business.
Despite only appearing once, the multi-talented 77-year-old was invited in to assist commemorate the 8,000th episode of Neighbours in 2018. She played Valerie Grundy, a crucial figure in the show’s history.
Valerie was revealed to be the longest-running resident of Ramsay Street, who had been quietly living in the street’s corner house for the previous 34 years rather than becoming involved with her fellow neighbours on TV.
The plot of the 8,000th episode revolves around Valerie’s death, which occurs in her own house.
Toadie’s discovery of mementos belonging to past and present neighbours in her home leads to a heartwarming callback to the show’s past.
Aside from Neighbours, Patti has worked in the public spotlight since 1957 and continues to do so now.
Her first part was in an early Australian children’s television show called The Tarax Show. In the same year, she starred in Swallow’s Juniors, a children’s radio and television show.
Bert Newton’s marriage and renowned son
Patti McGrath was her maiden name until she married fellow Australian entertainer Bert Newton in 1974, when she changed her name to Patti Newton.
Since its establishment in 1956, her husband has been a star and a fixture on Australian television. He was widely regarded as an industry pioneer, an icon, and one of the world’s longest-serving television actors.
Until his death in 2021, the pair had been married for 47 years. They had two children during that period, one of which, Matthew Newton, is now a well-known actor, writer, and director.
Matthew, like his mother, began his career in children’s television in 1988 with the Sugar and Spice show. He went on to star in films such as Late for School, Looking for Alibrandi, Farscape, and Queen of the Damned as a vampire.
He is most known for writing From Nowhere, a novel about a group of Bronx teens who graduate from high school and must navigate the perilous seas of trying to receive their papers to stay in the United States.
His rise to popularity hasn’t been easy. According to New Idea, Matthew’s then-girlfriend, actress Rachael Taylor, obtained an Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) in 2010 after Matthew allegedly hit her in the face in a hotel foyer in Rome.
Her AVO application not only ruined their romance, but it also put an end to Matthew’s comeback. His career was further tainted when he allegedly broke the terms of an AVO, assaulted a Sydney taxi driver, and then attacked a hotel receptionist in Miami after migrating to the United States.
He escaped prosecution, however, due to his poor mental state, and later revealed that he was dealing with concerns such as addiction.
When Matthew was forced to leave the film Ava in August 2018, it appeared that he would be unable to escape his difficult past.
Jessica Chastain was chastised at the time for collaborating with Matthew as a co-producer. Critics pointed out that Chastain’s appointment as writer and director conflicted with her participation in the Time’s Up campaign, a non-profit organisation that raises funds to support sexual harassment victims.
For years, there had been rumours of a breach between Matthew and his parents, which worsened when he neglected to attend his father’s funeral.
Patti quickly debunked the rumours in an interview with the Daily Mail, saying, “There was no rift.” Patti told the publication, “He’s had several long chats with Bert in the hospital, and that was fine.”
“It’s just the logistics of it all, and with Covid, and with everything else,” she explained, explaining why Matthew will not be attending the funeral.
Appearances on gameshows
Patti competed on Dancing with the Stars in 2007. The pair finished seventh together with Sandro Catalano.
Michael Klim, an Australian swimmer, and his dance partner Eliza Campagna won the competition.
Patti also appeared on Deal or No Deal as a celebrity participant in 2007.
Patti featured in the celebrity version of The Apprentice in Australia in 2012. She made it all the way to challenge five while participating and raising money for the organisation Sids and Kids.
Following an assignment that required her team to participate in a semi-naked promotional stunt for the We Care charity, she was “fired.”
When she asked to be the one dismissed, she effectively chose to leave.
Ian Dickinson, an English Australian television and radio personality, was the show’s eventual winner.
Patti has been out of the spotlight since her husband’s death, but her most recent memorable performance was in The All New Monty: Guys and Gals, where she showed off her entire body.
The then 75-year-old stripped down for a topless photo shoot to promote routine health screenings, including those for breast cancer, prostate cancer, and testicular cancer.
Patti made the actors and crew laugh as she mocked her own ageing figure, stating, “As you get older, your nipples go under your arms!”
Only props could be used to hide their bare chests, and the entertainer chose to release her own album.
Patti acknowledged she was worried before the shoot, but that the experience had turned out to be “amazing.”
“I was a little scared about it, a little anxious,” she explained, “because I was thinking it was a little confronting.”
“However, it was really fantastic!”
Patti joined presenters on a special episode of Studio 10 – an Australian morning chat programme – in 2021 to commemorate the life of her late husband Bert.