Wheel of misfortune: Two tragic deaths, a cancer battle and a long struggle with depression and anorexia… the heartbreaking stories behind Australia’s most loved game show …

Australia has long had an affinity with televised game shows.

Sale of The Century, Perfect Match and Wheel Of Fortune – families across the country love tuning in to watch everyday people trying to snare anything from a new BMW to an attractive lounge suite.

But it’s the effervescent hosts, from Tony Barber and Ian Turpie in the 1970s and 1980s to Grant Denyer and Andrew O’Keefe in 2017, that are really the stars of the show.

Sadly for some, TV triumph turned to tragedy when they stepped away from the limelight, with two of Australia’s most loved personalities dying in tragic circumstances. 

Adriana Xenides – Wheel Of Fortune co-host

Two tragic deaths, a cancer battle and a long struggle with depression and anorexia: The heartbreaking stories behind Australia's most loved game show hosts. Pictured Adriana Xenides on Wheel Of Fortune

Two tragic deaths, a cancer battle and a long struggle with depression and anorexia: The heartbreaking stories behind Australia's most loved game show hosts. Pictured Adriana Xenides on Wheel Of Fortune

Two tragic deaths, a cancer battle and a long struggle with depression and anorexia: The heartbreaking stories behind Australia’s most loved game show hosts. Pictured Adriana Xenides on Wheel Of Fortune

Heartbreak: After a long struggle with depression, anxiety and anorexia, Adriana died in 2010 after suffering a ruptured intestine. She was just 54

Heartbreak: After a long struggle with depression, anxiety and anorexia, Adriana died in 2010 after suffering a ruptured intestine. She was just 54

Heartbreak: After a long struggle with depression, anxiety and anorexia, Adriana died in 2010 after suffering a ruptured intestine. She was just 54

Adriana was the statuesque blonde who was responsible for spinning the letters on Australia’s most popular game show Wheel A Fortune.

The flaxen haired beauty appeared on the program for an astonishing 18 years, and once held a Guinness World Record for being the longest running game show host.

After her time on Wheel, Adriana revealed she had struggled with depression and even attempted suicide.

She told Today Tonight in 2007 that she had even received electroshock therapy to treat her depression.

Suffering from a gastrointestinal disorder, she tragically died in 2010 from a ruptured intestine. She was just 54 years old.

 Ian Turpie: The Price Is Right 

Icon: Ian 'Turps' Turpie was one of the best loved presenters to ever grace our television screens as host of the show

Icon: Ian 'Turps' Turpie was one of the best loved presenters to ever grace our television screens as host of the show

Icon: Ian ‘Turps’ Turpie was one of the best loved presenters to ever grace our television screens as host of the show

Tragic: A heavy smoker, Ian was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and died in March 2012, aged 68

Tragic: A heavy smoker, Ian was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and died in March 2012, aged 68

Tragic: A heavy smoker, Ian was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and died in March 2012, aged 68

Ian ‘Turps’ Turpie was one of the best loved presenters to ever grace our television screens.

A game show veteran, Ian was best known for being the inaugural host of The Price Is Right.

Post Price Is Right, Ian re-invented himself somewhat as a comedic actor, popping up in such fare as Paul Fenech’s Housos and Swift And Shift Couriers.

A heavy smoker, Ian was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and died in March 2012, aged 68.

Larry Emdur, who took over Price Is Right Hosting duties for the 2012 reboot dedicated the first episode to Ian. 

He said following his death: ‘So many jokes to tell, so many yarns to spin, so many game shows to host and never enough time . RIP Ian “TURPS” Turpie, best Price host ever.’ 

Tony Barber: Sale Of The Century/Great Temptation

Legend: Tony Barber was one of the most beloved television presenters of the 1980s, thanks to his role on the hugely successful quiz show Sale Of The Century

Legend: Tony Barber was one of the most beloved television presenters of the 1980s, thanks to his role on the hugely successful quiz show Sale Of The Century

Legend: Tony Barber was one of the most beloved television presenters of the 1980s, thanks to his role on the hugely successful quiz show Sale Of The Century

Still at it: These days Tony, 76, has stepped out of the limelight, but still keeps himself busy with corporate speaking gigs. Tony is pictured with wife Kristine

Still at it: These days Tony, 76, has stepped out of the limelight, but still keeps himself busy with corporate speaking gigs. Tony is pictured with wife Kristine

Still at it: These days Tony, 76, has stepped out of the limelight, but still keeps himself busy with corporate speaking gigs. Tony is pictured with wife Kristine

Tony Barber was one of the most beloved television presenters of the 1980s thanks to his role on the hugely successful quiz show Sale Of The Century.

With a tenure that lasted for eleven years, from 1980 to 1991, Tony became known for his jaunty run to the podium at the start of each episode.

After his Sale stint ended, Tony briefly hosted Wheel Of Fortune and the short-lived Australian version of Jeopardy.

These days Tony, 76, has stepped out of the limelight, but still keeps himself busy with corporate speaking gigs. 

He last appeared on Australian screens on the 2013 iteration of Dancing With The Stars.

Appearing on Today Extra recently, Tony revealed that a woman had died on Great Temptation while he hosted the show in the 1970s.

‘I said, “How is she? She seems to have passed out.” And he (a producer) said, “Tony, she’s passed on.” It was awful and very upsetting for everybody there of course.’

‘But you know what television people are like,’ the star teased. ‘Someone was heard to remark, “I suppose we’ll have to do this episode again!”‘ 

Greg Evans: Perfect Match

Cupid: Greg Evans was the host of the kitsch 1980s dating show Perfect Match. Trading gags with his camp robot sidekick Dexter, Greg helped hundreds of singles find love during his time on the popular show

Cupid: Greg Evans was the host of the kitsch 1980s dating show Perfect Match. Trading gags with his camp robot sidekick Dexter, Greg helped hundreds of singles find love during his time on the popular show

Cupid: Greg Evans was the host of the kitsch 1980s dating show Perfect Match. Trading gags with his camp robot sidekick Dexter, Greg helped hundreds of singles find love during his time on the popular show

Apt: These days Greg has pretty much stepped away from the camera, but has kept the love theme going with work as a marriage celebrant in Melbourne

Apt: These days Greg has pretty much stepped away from the camera, but has kept the love theme going with work as a marriage celebrant in Melbourne

Apt: These days Greg has pretty much stepped away from the camera, but has kept the love theme going with work as a marriage celebrant in Melbourne

Greg Evans was the host of the kitsch 1980s dating show Perfect Match.

Trading gags with his camp robot sidekick Dexter, he helped hundreds of singles find love during his time on the popular show.

When his time on Perfect Match ended in 1986 (he later returned for the show’s final season in 1988), Greg went on to host the less successful game shows Say G’Day and Crossfire.

In 1991, he fronted another dating show – the short-lived Blind Date – before going on to host afternoon talk show Monday to Friday.

These days Greg has pretty much stepped away from the limelight, but has kept the love theme going with work as a marriage celebrant in Melbourne.

Speaking to the Herald Sun in 2015, Greg said he had little time for modern dating shows like Married at First Sight and The Bachelor.

‘They all take such a long time. Perfect Match was like speed dating by comparison. We would have two couples matched up and off on holiday together by the end of the show. With these other ones you have to wait eight or nine weeks before anyone gets together,’ he said. 

Rob Brough: Family Feud

Well liked: The affable and curly haired Rob Brough hosted Family Feud from 1988 to 1996, making him the longest serving host on the Channel Ten show

Well liked: The affable and curly haired Rob Brough hosted Family Feud from 1988 to 1996, making him the longest serving host on the Channel Ten show

Well liked: The affable and curly haired Rob Brough hosted Family Feud from 1988 to 1996, making him the longest serving host on the Channel Ten show

Kicking goals: A keen rugby league fan, Rob is also the head coach for the Kawana Dolphins who play in the Sunshine Coast-Gympie competition

Kicking goals: A keen rugby league fan, Rob is also the head coach for the Kawana Dolphins who play in the Sunshine Coast-Gympie competition

Kicking goals: A keen rugby league fan, Rob is also the head coach for the Kawana Dolphins who play in the Sunshine Coast-Gympie competition

The affable and curly haired Rob Brough hosted Family Feud from 1988 to 1996, making him the longest serving host on the Channel Ten show.

Following his time on Family Feud, Rob started presenting for Seven Local News on the Queensland Sunshine Coast.

Rob still presents the nightly bulletin for Seven Queensland covering its Cairns, Townsville and Central Queensland editions.

A keen rugby league fan, he is also the head coach for the Kawana Dolphins who play in the  Sunshine Coast-Gympie competition.

John Burgess: Wheel Of Fortune/Catch Burgo’s Catch Phrase

Mr game show: 'Baby' John Burgess was already a well known radio presenter by the time he took the reins of Wheel of Fortune in 1984

Mr game show: 'Baby' John Burgess was already a well known radio presenter by the time he took the reins of Wheel of Fortune in 1984

Mr game show: ‘Baby’ John Burgess was already a well known radio presenter by the time he took the reins of Wheel of Fortune in 1984

Passion: These days, John is still active on radio, lending his golden tonsils to Perth station 6iX. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph last year, John revealed that he was keen to revive his Catch Phrase concept

Passion: These days, John is still active on radio, lending his golden tonsils to Perth station 6iX. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph last year, John revealed that he was keen to revive his Catch Phrase concept

Passion: These days, John is still active on radio, lending his golden tonsils to Perth station 6iX. Speaking to the Daily Telegraph last year, John revealed that he was keen to revive his Catch Phrase concept

‘Baby’ John Burgess was already a well known radio presenter by the time he took the reins of Wheel of Fortune in 1984.

John helmed the popular show for an impressive 12 years and became one of the most trusted faces on Australian television.

After leaving the Wheel in 1996, he went on to host the less popular but still well received Burgo’s Catch Phrase  from 1997 to 2003.

These days, John is still active on radio, lending his golden tonsils to Perth station 6iX.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph last year, John revealed that he was keen to revive his Catch Phrase concept.

‘People like to watch other people winning things. It creates interest, you don’t offend anybody and it is good fun,’ he explained.

‘I would like them to bring back something I did. I think Catch Phrase would work famously. Everything that goes around comes around, so watch this space.’

Glenn Ridge: Sale Of The Century

Long tenure: Glenn took the reins of Sale Of The Century from Tony Barber in 1991 and stayed with the show until it wrapped up in 2001

Long tenure: Glenn took the reins of Sale Of The Century from Tony Barber in 1991 and stayed with the show until it wrapped up in 2001

Long tenure: Glenn took the reins of Sale Of The Century from Tony Barber in 1991 and stayed with the show until it wrapped up in 2001

Now: These days, Glenn works in radio on station Magic 1278 as well as managing his media production company Q Media Group 

Now: These days, Glenn works in radio on station Magic 1278 as well as managing his media production company Q Media Group 

Now: These days, Glenn works in radio on station Magic 1278 as well as managing his media production company Q Media Group 

Glenn took the Sale reins from Tony Barber in 1991 and stayed with the show until it wrapped up in 2001.

Post Sale, Glenn also hosted the short lived game show Pass The Buck for Channel Nine in 2002.

These days, Glenn works in radio on station Magic 1278 as well as managing his media production company Q Media Group.

A keen motor racing enthusiast, he has also competed in a range of high profile events, last year making his 24th appearance at the iconic Targa Tasmania Rally.

Debbie Newsome: Perfect Match co-host

Love search: Debbie Newsome was the human co-host of dating show Perfect Match alongside Greg Evans and cute robot Dexter

Love search: Debbie Newsome was the human co-host of dating show Perfect Match alongside Greg Evans and cute robot Dexter

Love search: Debbie Newsome was the human co-host of dating show Perfect Match alongside Greg Evans and cute robot Dexter

Multi talent: She currently sings in a Janis Joplin tribute show and is glued to the screen watching her daughter Tara Pavlovic attempt to find love on the current season of The Bachelor

Multi talent: She currently sings in a Janis Joplin tribute show and is glued to the screen watching her daughter Tara Pavlovic attempt to find love on the current season of The Bachelor

Multi talent: She currently sings in a Janis Joplin tribute show and is glued to the screen watching her daughter Tara Pavlovic attempt to find love on the current season of The Bachelor

Debbie was the human co-host of dating show Perfect Match alongside Greg Evans and cute robot Dexter.

Despite only being with the show from 1984 to 1985, Debbie’s bubbly personality made her a fan favorite.

Before her time on the show Debbie was a Bond girl, appearing in the 1981 film For Your Eyes Only.

These days, Debbie sings in a Janis Joplin tribute show and is glued to the screen watching her daughter Tara Pavlovic attempt to find love on the current season of The Bachelor.

Speaking to Woman’s Day recently, Tara said that Debbie constantly pestered her daughter for Bachelor updates.

‘She bugs me about how often I’m in episodes and if I’ve gotten a date yet!” she said.

Delvene Delany: Sale Of The Century co-host

Delvene Delaney was the second female co-host of Sale Of The Century, taking over from Victoria Nichols in 1982.

Delvene stayed on the show until 1985, but she initially found fame as a weather presenter on Brisbane television before nabbing roles in soaps The Box and The Young Doctors.

She was also a recurring cast member on the Paul Hogan Show and married the show’s co-star John Cornell.

These days, Delvene and John have pretty much stepped away from the spotlight and in 2015 listed their Byron Bay property, that they had owned for 30 years 

Popular: Delvene Delaney was the second female co-host of Sale Of The Century, taking over from Victoria Nichols in 1982

Popular: Delvene Delaney was the second female co-host of Sale Of The Century, taking over from Victoria Nichols in 1982

Popular: Delvene Delaney was the second female co-host of Sale Of The Century, taking over from Victoria Nichols in 1982

Idyllic: She was also a recurring cast member on the Paul Hogan Show and married the show's co-star John Cornell. These days, Delvene and John have pretty much stepped away from the spotlight 

Idyllic: She was also a recurring cast member on the Paul Hogan Show and married the show's co-star John Cornell. These days, Delvene and John have pretty much stepped away from the spotlight 

Idyllic: She was also a recurring cast member on the Paul Hogan Show and married the show’s co-star John Cornell. These days, Delvene and John have pretty much stepped away from the spotlight 

  

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