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Manion, Geoffrey Francis Allan (Geoff) (1920–2002)

The list of entertainment legends Geoff Manion interviewed in his long, successful radio career reads like a who’s who of the 1960s and 1970s.

Sammy Davis Jr, Jack Benny, Dudley Moore, Spike Milligan, Charlton Heston, Debbie Reynolds, and Peggy Lee are some of the stars with whom Geoff shared a room and a chat as part of his shows.

Throw in Ken Rosewall and Lew Hoad, Nat King Cole, Henry Mancini, Barry Manilow and Diana Trask, and there are few radio comperes who could boast such celebrity interviewing experience.

Geoff grew up in Melbourne and was educated at Christian Brothers College in St. Kilda, leaving at 15 but not before making an impact.

On leaving school Geoff was noted for his gentlemanly conduct, his manliness, his regularity, his attention to his studies, his scrupulous honesty, and his bright disposition.

They were qualities he would carry throughout his life. They would lead to success in all his pursuits.

His radio career began in 1937 when he worked at 7EX in Tasmania with John Devine, selecting music and writing copy for the six-day-a-week breakfast show.

He moved to Perth with his family a year later and joined 6PM, again on the breakfast show. He also wrote and directed children’s plays for the show.

He then moved to 6PR where he took on the Sunday morning music show, compered the Jazz Jamboree, and also helped with cricket and football broadcasts.

When World War 2 broke out he served with the RAAF as a navigator from 1941 – 1944.

He returned to radio with 6PR and a highlight of his second stint there was calling the first sub-four-minute mile run on grass, a feat achieved by Herb Elliot.

He moved to Melbourne and joined 3AW before the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. He stayed with the station until his retirement.

He took over the 4.30am breakfast show from its previous host "Happy Hammond" and his cronies.

The always popular show included the long running Biggles serial as well as guests, music, and what has now become a radio staple, the secret sound.

Geoff also hosted a Sunday at One show. It was in that capacity that he scored interviews with some of the greats of entertainment, his crowning glories in an illustrious career.

He retired from radio in 1985 but continued working, touring Australia as the MC with the Torville and Dean ice-skating show.

Geoff was also the courtside announcer at the Australian Tennis Open and the in-house announcer at the MCG during test cricket matches.

His later years were spent enjoying life in Melbourne’s bayside suburbs with regular golf games at Woodlands in Mordialloc.

Geoff was injured in a car accident recently. He appeared to have recovered but his health then deteriorated and he died soon after.

Geoff Manion, a well known, loved, and respected member of Melbourne, and Australian radio is survived by his wife Rosemary, sons Douglas and Michael, seven grandchildren, and one great grandchild.

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Citation details

'Manion, Geoffrey Francis Allan (Geoff) (1920–2002)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/manion-geoffrey-francis-allan-geoff-14381/text25454, accessed 28 October 2021.

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