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Clarke's death noted around the world

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/04/2017

Tributes continue to flow for master satirist John Clarke with media outlets as far as the United States and United Kingdom reporting on his death.

New Zealand-born Clarke died at the weekend after collapsing while hiking in the Grampians National Park in Victoria at the age of 68.

He became well known for lampooning Australian and international political affairs in mock interviews with long-term collaborator Bryan Dawe, including touching on BP's US oil spill in 2010.

Clarke's character noted in the deadpan interview, "The first thing to do in an event like that is to underestimate the problem."

His comedic talent led America's National Public Radio to report his death by saying he "made fake news hilarious".

Outlets, such as the New York Times and Washington Post, also ran stories on his death, while The Guardian included online links to their selection of his 10 best television clips.

The BBC made special note of the television mockumentary series, The Games, he wrote about planning Sydney's 2000 Olympics.

One of the series' most popular clips includes Clarke's character quizzing whether the Olympic stadium's 100m running track has actually been built so it is 100m long.

An early friend, cartoonist Tom Scott, who co-wrote the screenplay for the animated movie Footrot Flats in which Clarke voiced the main character, said he did not sleep overnight after hearing of the "terribly sad" death.

Scott said he first began to hear rave reviews about Clarke as his early career in Wellington was taking off when he was part of a talented crowd, including actor Sam Neil.

"When I did meet him, he was everything people told me he was, he was just so funny," Scott told TVNZ on Tuesday morning.

Like most recollections of Clarke in the past 24 hours, Mr Scott said he was not only very talented but a genuinely caring person.

Clarke is famous for creating the iconic Fred Dagg character in New Zealand in the 1970s and for his work in Australia on the ABC's 7.30 programme and Nine Network's A Current Affair.

He also co-wrote the drama mini-series ANZACs and appeared on popular shows, such as Kath & Kim.

He was inducted into the Logies Hall of Fame in 2008.


* "He was a Kiwi comedy legend. A massive inspiration to me." - comedian and actor Rhys Darby

"My dear old friend John Clarke has died. I cannot speak." - actor Sam Neill

"He was a wonder and will be sorely missed #JohnClarke." - television host and comedian Stephen Fry

* "Beyond sad. Our beloved mentor: a beacon of intelligence & decency." - Magda Szubanski

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