Respected entertainer Geoff Harvey has died at the age of 83.
The much-loved composer, who was the music director at Channel 9 for 38 years, was known as the Maestro of Midday for his phenomenal TV work.
Harvey was a familiar face to TV audiences through his work on The Don Lane Show, The Mike Walsh Show and the Midday show, hosted by Ray Martin.
Martin paid tribute to his former colleague, describing him as a “one-off character” who was “the face of television”.
“He had more friends than anyone in the business, Martin told Nine News.
“Everyone loved Geoff Harvey.”
Harvey was also musical director for Melbourne’s Carols by Candlelight for 19 years.
His last performance was earlier this month in the popular touring production Senior Moments, in which he performed with Max Gilles, Benita Collings and John Wood.
Born into a musical family in London in 1935, Harvey grew up during the Blitz in World War World War II.
As a young saxophonist, he played in jazz clubs across Europe before moving to Australian in 1960 to produce records for EMI.
Harvey originally only planned to stay a year but ended up becoming one of the driving forces in television, a role he would hold for decades.
Harvey joined the Nine Network in 1961 working on Bob Rogers’ Tonight Show.
In 1963, he was appointed the musical director of Tonight with Dave Allen and then worked on The John Laws Show, Tonight Show with Charlie Brill and Mitzi McCall, Bandstand, Barry Crocker’s Sound of Music and The Don Lane Show.
During his time at Nine, he composed the theme songs for A Current Affair, Today, Sunday and The Sullivans, the latter being originally composed for the wedding of his first wife’s cousin.
He grew his famous beard after losing a 1965 bet with Don Lane on a football match.
Harvey married fellow television personality Penny Spence and they had two children together, Eugenie and Charlotte.
He lived in the village of Berrima in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales with his second wife of 32 years, Katrina.