Vale: Ernie Sigley, television and radio personality

Ernie Sigley. (Image: Nine)

Veteran entertainer Ernie Sigley has died aged 82 following a battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Sigley’s career within the entertainment industry spanned more than five decades and encompassed work across television, radio, music, and stage.

He received 21 Logie Awards as a performer and producer, including a Gold Logie Award in 1975.

Born in Footscray, Melbourne, Sigley started at radio station 3DB (Melbourne) before making his television debut as host of Teenage Mailbag on HSV-7 in 1957.

He would go on to hone his craft overseas, spending time at the BBC in London and then completing a three-year stint at Radio Luxembourg, where he performed under the name ‘Ernie Williams’.

From 1974–1976, Ernie hosted the Nine Network variety show, The Ernie Sigley Show, beginning a long-term working partnership with fellow performer Denise Drysdale. It was to be the Nine Network’s highest ever rating tonight show.

Sigley moved to ATV0 in Melbourne and fronted the early-evening national variety show, Ernie at 6.30, which became the first Australian program to be broadcast live from overseas.

Ernie at 6.30 was broadcast for one week from Hong Kong to Australia, as well as on RTV Television Hong Kong, and then from New Zealand. In 1979, Sigley co-hosted Saturday Night Live on HSV7 with Mary Hardy and was the original host of the Australian version of Wheel of Fortune from 1981 to 1984.

By 1987, he was presenting the daytime national talent show Pot Luck.

After a break from television, Sigley returned in 1989 with Denise Drysdale to host GTV9’s morning program In Melbourne Today (later known as Ernie and Denise) for six years.

He then became the host of the top-rating afternoon radio program on Melbourne’s 3AW from 1996 until his retirement in 2008.

According to a statement from his family, he died peacefully on Sunday.

A Nine spokesman said Sigley had “entertained millions of Australians”.

“(Sigley) was an Australian tv pioneer, who began his career in SA and at Nine a man who brightened our lives and brought laughter into our homes,” the spokesman said.

“We remember him fondly.”

Sigley is survived by his wife Glenys and his four children four children Matthew, Guy, David, and Emma.