Australian radio and television personality Jonathan “Jono” Coleman has died, after living for four years with prostate cancer.
He was 65.
Coleman had a long and distinguished media career both in Australia and his native Britain, and was most recently a presenter on Studio 10 on Network 10.
In 2015, he was awarded an OAM for his services to the broadcast media industry and to the community.
Jonathan Coleman spoke publicly about his prostate cancer diagnosis on Studio 10.(Supplied
In a statement, his wife, Margot, said Coleman recently told her he wanted to be remembered “for doing a good deed every day”.
“Jono and I have been soulmates for close to 40 years. We have been fortunate to live a rich and wonderful life and I have been lucky enough to watch up-close someone with enormous talent and the special gift to make people laugh,” Ms Coleman said.
Coleman first burst onto TV screens in 1979 as part of the original line-up of Simon Townsend’s Wonder World.
“I met Jono as I was setting up Wonder World in 1979. I liked him tremendously,” Simon Townsend told the ABC.
“Very funny man. But he was non-stop manic. Did I really want [to hire] him? Luckily, I tested him on film doing silly vox pops and they were hilarious.
“My name was on the show, but Jono was the star.”
Ian Rogerson, left, and Coleman were mates and colleagues for more than 40 years.(Supplied
Two years later he started presenting radio show Off The Record with Ian “Dano” Rogerson. The show quickly gained cult status and ‘Jono and Dano’ were snapped up by Triple M in 1984 to present the nighttime show, which they took to number 1.
Coleman was a high-profile radio presenter in England for 16 years and worked for BBC London, Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Radio and Heart 106.2.
After returning to Australia, he partnered with presenter Julia Zemiro to present The Jonathan Coleman Experience on WSFM.
Most recently, Jonathan presented a weekly show with longtime triple j friend Jon Vidler on community radios Northside Radio 99.3FM (The Two Jons).
His TV credits include the Late Night with Jono and Dano show, Hey, Hey It’s Saturday, Have a Go, as well as London correspondent for Channel 7’s Sunrise.
Jono Coleman (right) with on-air partner Ian ‘Dano’ Rogerson.(Supplied
Ian Rogerson met Coleman more than 40 years ago at the ABC’s triple j and had been “best mates ever since”.
He said they shared so many good times, it was hard to choose just one.
“The early days at triple j were fantastic, working with a fantastic team of people on the radio there,” Mr Rogerson said.
“Stopping traffic in Sydney all the way back to the town hall from Annandale was a highlight, but so many things.
“We were allowed to have ridiculous fun for a very long time.”
Mr Rogerson said that even in recent weeks when Coleman’s condition started to deteriorate, his spirit and sense of humour never waned.
“He was a natural showman, he was the life of the party, he’d light up the room, and he had that common touch as well where he’d disarm people, and I think that’s his real strength.
“He was a very brave man. I don’t think you can think of him and not smile.”
According to Mr Rogerson, he was a very caring and thoughtful man who did a lot of things for the community including Radio for the Print Handicapped, the School for the Deaf and Blind, the Schizophrenia Research Institute, Carers Australia and most recently the Movember Foundation.
Social media has been flooded with tributes to the presenter, many of them remembering the unwavering support Coleman gave to anyone in the entertainment business.
Coleman had previously been described in the media as the “happiest man on TV”.
Journalist and radio and TV presenter Peter FitzSimons said Coleman was “the most eternally effervescent man” he had ever met.
“He could have bubbled happily for Australia, and effectively did.”
Coleman died on Friday night in Sydney with Margot and children Oscar and Emily by his side.