The Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) is saddened by the passing of respected broadcaster and commentator Tony Charlton AM, who died early this morning due to illness.
For more than 50 years, Tony was a central figure in Australian sport media.
After commencing on radio 3AW in 1952, he was part of Channel Nine’s broadcast team for the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, before calling the first televised VFL match for Channel Seven in 1957.
He then switched back to Channel Nine and for 11 years called the footy and ran a highly successful Sunday panel show. A later two-year stint with ABC television completed his regular football commitments.
From 1970 to 1983 he was promoter and tournament director of the Australian Open, the PGA Championship and the Victorian Open. His CV also includes TV coverage of three Olympics and two Commonwealth Games.
From 1988 to 2008 Charlton was MC of the Prime Minister's Olympic Dinner, a mammoth fundraising event for our Olympians. He remained closely connected to the Olympic movement, compering special anniversaries of the 1956 Games and other events for many years.
Many MCC members will fondly remember Tony for his class and commanding presence behind the microphone, where he earned a reputation as one of the finest function hosts in the country.
For more than 20 years he performed the MC role at hundreds of club functions and events, notably the annual Members’ Dinner, the 150th birthday celebrations of the MCC (1988) and MCG (2003) and the official opening of the Great Southern Stand on the day of the 1992 ICC World Cup Final.
He also played a pivotal role in the formation and continued success of The Bradman Luncheon, compered the opening of the Australia Cricket Hall of Fame at the MCG in 1996 and MCG Media Hall of Fame induction dinners from 1999-2006.
A National Sports Museum ambassador, he was also the inaugural guest speaker at the club’s Norm Smith Oration in 2011, where he recalled his famous interview with Norm Smith after his sacking as Melbourne coach in 1965.
Tony gave his time generously and freely to sporting and charitable causes including the Alfred Hospital, Victorian Olympic Council and the Australian Commemorative Plaques group, which marks sites of Australian military involvements around the world.
An outstanding Australian, Charlton was awarded an OAM in 1990 and an AM in 2003. In 2008 he received the Order of Merit from the Australian Olympic Committee.
He is one of only six people to have been awarded a Certificate of Merit by the Melbourne Cricket Club for outstanding service. In 1999 he was inducted into the MCG Media Hall of Fame.
“Tony was one of the most generous and selfless people I have ever come across," said MCC president Paul Sheahan. "His concern was always for others, never for himself.
“Needless to say, he will be missed by many and our thoughts are very much with Loris and the Charlton family at this time.”
A service will be held on Friday December 21 in the Members Dining Room at the MCG, commencing at 1pm. All are welcome to attend. Entry is via Gate 2 and car parking is available in Yarra Park (via Gate 3, $10 per vehicle).