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Carroll, Ernest (Ernie) (1929–2022)

by Alasdair Belling

from Australian

Australian television and radio personality Ernie Carroll, best known for portraying Ossie Ostrich on Hey Hey It's Saturday, has died at the age of 92.

Carroll portrayed the character of Ossie, sidekick to host Daryl Somers, on the program for 23 years between 1971 and 1994, after which he retired from television.

Carroll passed away on Wednesday surrounded by family at his Mornington residence.

“It is with overwhelming sadness that I announce the passing of my beloved friend and mentor Ernie Carroll,” Somers wrote on the Hey, Hey It’s Saturday Facebook page on Thursday.

“Ernie was a pioneer of television starting back in the 50s, coming from a radio background to GTV9 when television was in its infancy.”

Somers praised his friend's all-round talents in the world of entertainment, calling their time together “a voyage of discovery”.

“He was a cartoonist, camera operator, sponsor liaison officer, producer, writer, on camera character playing Professor Ratbaggy and, as himself, illustrating and narrating the adventures of Joybelle in the kids shows he also produced out of GTV9 in the 60s,” Somers wrote.

“Of course he was best known for his creation of Oswald Q Ostrich (Ossie), my loveable and nonsensically funny ‘sidekick’ on Hey Hey It’s Saturday for 25 of its 30-year run.”

Carroll began working with Somers after nearly two decades in the industry, having begun working at Geelong radio station 3GL in the 1950s, before moving to Melbourne-based GTV-9 in 1956 to work as a producer for children's television.

Somers and Carroll would later found Somers Carroll Productions in the 80s, which produced numerous titled including Hey Hey It’s Saturday, Hey Hey By Request, The Ossie Ostrich Video Show and The Russell Gilbert Show.

“I am so grateful for Ernie’s early guidance of my career. He auditioned me for the hosting role on Cartoon Corner … in early 1971,” Somers.

“He was a man of few words with a quiet countenance but when he did speak he imparted great wisdom.

“I loved him very much and along with my wife Julie send our deepest sympathies to his daughter Lynne, son Bruce, his grandchildren and his partner of almost 50 years, Miffy Marsh.

“Rest in peace Ern. Forever in my heart.”

Original publication

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Additional Resources

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Citation details

Alasdair Belling, 'Carroll, Ernest (Ernie) (1929–2022)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/carroll-ernest-ernie-32386/text40146, accessed 6 December 2022.

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