Comedian and producer John Cornell has died aged 80 following a battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Cornell is best known for his role as Strop in The Paul Hogan Show, having begun his association with Hogan while working as a producer on A Current Affair.
According to a statement from his family, he died peacefully at his home in Byron Bay on NSW North Coast with his wife and eldest daughter by his side, and his youngest daughter on the phone from the UK.
Born in Kalgoorlie, Cornell began his career in print journalism at Perth’s Daily News before turning his attention to television and becoming the original producer for A Current Affair.
It was while working on the show that he teamed up with a then unknown Paul Hogan, forming a partnership that would be responsible for not only The Paul Hogan Show, but the internationally successful Crocodile Dundee films.
Cornell was also involved in the advent of World Series Cricket in 1977, working closely with Kerry Packer and Austin Robertson to bring the concept to life.
Nine director of television Michael Healy said Cornell “made magic on television for decades” at Nine.
“John Cornell was a man of enormous intellect and a creative genius who managed to touch so many, but as importantly he was a man with a big heart that filled a room,” he said.
The family statement said that after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2001, Cornell “focused on philanthropy, as well as supporting his local community in Byron Bay”.
“John Cornell made the lives he touched much richer, not only through donations, but through his generosity of spirit, humour, humility, and honour,” it read.
He is survived by his wife of 46 years Delvene Delaney and his three daughters, Melissa, Allira, and Liana Cornell.