The legendary ‘Hendo’ has passed away just one month before his 90th birthday.
In February the iconic presenter of Nine News Sydney spoke to Peter Overton about his battle with kidney cancer. It was his fifth cancer diagnosis.
Henderson rose to fame as the host of Bandstand from 1958 until 1972. He also became a Sydney institution as the presenter of National Nine News from 1957 until his retirement in 2002.
His name became synonymous with news after a clever promo campaign with a catchy song called ‘Brian told me’.
Known as a tough taskmaster, viewers believed he ran a tight ship at Nine and they trusted every word he uttered. This was at a time when viewers didn’t fully understand the production side of TV. Even though Hendo wasn’t the boss, viewers assumed he was in charge.
And to be honest, so did the newsroom.
Hendo’s news set was actually on the newsroom floor out in the open. At 6pm the newsroom would go into silence while Henderson read the news, usually alongside sport presenter Ken Suttcliffe.
Any noise, for any reason, would be met with a glare.
A key believer in the presentation of the news, Hendo would deliver word-perfect introductions at a time when live crosses were rare.
His style will never be recreated and his impact on the Harbour city will never be matched.
Channel 9 has aired a beautiful tribute during the TODAY show, which you can watch in this tweet below:
The industry is reacting to the sad news of his passing. Peter Costello, Chairman of Nine, stated;
“Brian Henderson was the best of the best, he was iconic. The ultimate professional and the trusted face of television news for generations of Australians.
“Hendo was not just a much loved newsman he also brought modern pop music to generations of Australian teenagers through his hosting role on Bandstand.
“He was trusted, he had a warmth that he brought into the living rooms of millions of Australians. He will be deeply missed but his giant legacy and contribution will live on in the DNA of Nine.”
And Darren Wick, Nine’s Director of News and Current Affairs, said;
“Hendo was much loved and idolised by everyone of us lucky enough to have worked with him and learn from him.
“He was the biggest star in a 9News team that boasted the biggest names in journalism – Laurie Oakes, Liz Hayes, Georgie Gardner, Ken Sutcliffe, Peter Harvey, Robert Penfold, Peter Overton, Leila McKinnon, Allison Langdon and Karl Stefanovic.
“He was the epitome of credibility, reliability and clarity. He set the standard that we aspire to live up to every night of the week.”
So sad to learn of the passing of Brian Henderson. I have wonderful memories of working with him. Credible, reliable and reassuring on-air, away from the cameras Brian was humble and engaging with a great sense of humour. Brian Henderson made a huge contribution to our industry. pic.twitter.com/Rs0TQ3E8CV— Peter Hitchener (@phitchener9) August 5, 2021
There would be no more trusted voice or face in the history of Australian news broadcasting than Brian Henderson. We knew everything we needed to know because Brian told us so. His combination of warmth, integrity, kindness and good humour was unique. https://t.co/ZSRBLXNL81— Scott Morrison (@ScottMorrisonMP) August 5, 2021
RIP Brian Henderson. For those in Sydney he was the face of 9 News for so long. Nationally always fondly remembered for Bandstand – the show that discovered and showcased Australia’s greatest music talents. By every account a charming and classy bloke. pic.twitter.com/bloNPagIBN— Peter Ford (@mrpford) August 4, 2021
Vale #BrianHenderson. When it came to delivering the news, his mantra was "Clever is good, clear is best". Whether that news was good or bad, when Brian told us we trusted what he said, and somehow felt everything would be OK. https://t.co/d90uwnhrpy— Angela Bishop (@AngelaBishop) August 5, 2021
Very sad news with the passing of Brian Henderson,not only the epitome of News Broadcasters but one of the nicest people God ever put breath into.Had the pleasure of working&socialising with the great man leaving me with cherished memories.Condolences to Mardi & family,RIP Hendo.— John Burgess (@thejohnburgess) August 5, 2021
Saddened to hear of the passing of legendary newsman, Brian Henderson. He was an institution at Nine & will be much missed by those of us who had the privilege of knowing him #RIP— Anita Jacoby AM (@Anita_Jacoby) August 4, 2021
There are lots of wannabes in broadcasting. And then there are the true greats and Brian Henderson was one of those. No ego. Beautiful innate talent as a newsreader, calm, authoritative, natural, no fuss. And a really lovely man. Vale.— Margaret Throsby💉💉 (@margaretthrosby) August 4, 2021
More to come