"Television has produced a lot of so-called personalities over the years,
but it has not produced many stars of the stature of Eric Pearce," the Nine
Network's Pete Smith said.
Friends and former colleagues of the late Sir Eric Pearce yesterday paid
tribute to the newsreader who epitomised the golden years of television.
Sir Eric died in his sleep at the age of 92 in a Malvern nursing home at
12.30am on Saturday.
Mr Smith had known the English-born newsreader for more than 33 years when Mr
Smith was recruited to Nine to be an announcer and to work on In Melbourne
Tonight. He last saw Sir Eric on Friday.
"I think Eric was up there with the greats of Australian television, the
Graham Kennedys if you like, and all those sorts of people who will be
remembered for a long, long time."
Sir Eric was knighted in 1979 for services to broadcasting and the community.
His impact was so great that even when he had not been on the air for almost
20 years, people often approached him.
The managing director of Nine in Melbourne, Mr Ian Johnson, 48, his legal
next-of-kin, said that although Sir Eric did not have children, he had many
adopted sons at Nine, of which he regarded himself as one. Sir Eric's wife had
died 10 years ago.
Mr Johnson had known Sir Eric for 19 years since he joined Nine as an
accountant. He described Sir Eric as a wonderful, exceptionally kind and
charitable man, and an adviser to many at the station.
METRO 2: Himself, for a long time in TV.