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Paul LePetit farewells friend and colleague, showbiz journalist Matt White, one of the great originals of showbiz journalism.

The death occured this week of one of the legends of Australian showbusiness journalism, Matt White. Known in Australia mainly for his work on The Daily Mirror and The Daily Telegraph, Matt however had an immense connection with showbusinesss through years of work in London.

His friends included Sean Connery, Richard Attenborough, Elizabeth Taylor, Roger Moore, Victore Mature, David Niven, Trevor Howard, Charlton Heston, Juliet Greco, Rod Taylor, Rory Calhoun, Cyd Charise, Bob Hope, Errol Flynn, Sophia Loren, Frank Sinatra, Gina Lollobrigida, and Richard Harris.

Born in Sydney in 1924, Matt became a writer for newspapers and magazines before joining the Air Force and later the Intelligence Service during World War II.
After the war he went to London where he became a legend working on Fleet Street for several years before becoming one of the leading showbusiness writers in Britain.

"witty and urbane"

He was witty and urbane and always had an appropriate story for any occasion. Erroll Flynn asked him to write his autobiography for him (Matt could not because of contractual problems); he was asked by producers to look after Robert Mitchum during a stormy weekend in Jamaica when Matt visited the set and took off for a lost weekend with Mitchum.

Marlene Dietrich singled him out from the crowd at a press conference saying: "This one interests me,'' and having him sit at her feet. In a life packed with incident and champagne, Matt White was always the consummate journalist.

Matt always took a keen interest in the Australian film industry and made many friends there, even writing and co-producing a film at one stage (Frenchman's Farm).

Someone who knew his way around a film set as well as he knew his way around a red carpet or a newspaper office, Matt White had been ill for the past year or so. He will be sadly missed by all who knew him, for his wit, his professionalism and his good grace.

Published April 25, 2002

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1924 - 2002

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