Renowned Victorian producer Mark Ruse, best known for Kath & Kim, The Secret River and Crackerjack has died, aged 64.
IF reports he died unexpectedly on Saturday.
Ruse (pictured right) is one half of Ruby Entertainment, which he shares with producing partner Stephen Luby.
A producer for 30 years, he produced over 250 hours of prime time television comedy and drama, over 300 hours of live television and more than 20 documentaries.
Ruby Entertainment credits include Kath & Kim, The Secret River, Bed of Roses, Whatever Happened to That Guy?, Stiff & The Brush Off (The Murray Whelan series) plus films Crackerjck, Bad Eggs, The Extra.
Ruby most recently produced 7mate comedy series Rostered On and last week documentary The Hunt: In Search of Australia’s Big Cats aired on Pay TV.
Ruse was producer on the first two series of Kath and Kim and was co-Executive Producer of the The Games, and produced 70 episodes of Fast Forward. Other credits included The Adventures of Lano & Woodley, Full Frontal, Tonight Live with Steve Vizard, The Power The Passion and Bligh.
Along the way there were Logie, AACTA, AFI, AWGIE, ADG and Screen Producers accolades.
He once said, “I like the concept of making something beautiful, something that moves people, something that makes people laugh or cry, or that has an effect on their lives and that you can share stories that really add to peoples’ lives, that make a difference to society. That’s the motivation behind what I do.”
In a statement producer Stephen Luby said, “I was so deeply saddened by Mark’s passing over the weekend. We had spoken on Friday afternoon about plans for the coming week and we had just completed a documentary for Discovery. And as usual, we were working on a full slate of projects.
“Mark and I were colleagues and business partners of 20 years. But there is more to it than that. Our partnership began as a discussion between friends at a Carlton café in late 1999. We had actually known each other as fellow producers of television comedy for some years and had recently each been battling away as sole trader producers from our home offices (ironic similarities to the current day, except without Zoom!).
“We needed a change of scenery, and someone to have a coffee with (apart from our wives and children of course, who were all to become great friends in the years ahead) and most importantly, we shared the same vision – we both wanted to produce original, inventive and entertaining Australian content.
“So we hired a small office, did a crude amalgamation of our surnames – RUse and LuBY’ – and stuck a bit of paper on the door with the inscription ‘Ruby Entertainment.’ Thus began a journey which allowed us to collaborate with so much wonderful talent on TV series and films such as Kath and Kim, Crackerjack, Bad Eggs, Bed of Roses, The Secret River, Rostered On, right up to The Hunt which went to air last week.
“Mark and I worked together on all of those projects – and many, many more – for two decades. Looking back now, I can’t quite believe we did all of that. What a wonderful legacy Mark has left, and a bottomless well of good memories.
“He would be so pleased to look back over it now, as he had told me that since the age of 13, he had dreamed of having his own production company.
“But that’s just what the CV says. What I got to see – all day every day – was a man of incredible integrity, kindness, creativity, intelligence, dedication, work ethic, humor and goodness. Mark’s express philosophy was to ‘enable other people’s talents to shine.’ He loved to support and nurture people’s creative journeys (including mine!). Producer skills developed since his formative years at Swinburne Film and Television School in the 80’s were distilled into an elixir of creative insight and a wise problem solving capacity that I came to rely upon at every turn. He was equally at home providing incisive script feedback, negotiating a contract, or doing a Producer Offset final return.
“We had countless family dinners and outings with our partners, and our children grew up together, through primary and high school, into the wonderful young adults they all are now. We supported each other through health and personal crises. We went through a phase where we loved a cigar and a balloon of cognac, and we used to laugh at our own ridiculousness in doing so.
“Mark Ruse gave me, and so many others, so much of himself. His passing is such a great loss to the Australian screen industry, to his friends and colleagues, and to his wife Celine and their four children and extended family. But Mark’s spirit and legacy will continue to permeate and inspire all of our lives, and will never be forgotten.”
“Mark was a true gentleman; incredibly talented, understated and generous, he gave many lucky people a leg up in the industry,” producer Julie Marlow said. “He was a joy to deal with and will be sadly missed by so many.”
On social media producer Stephen Corvini said, “Farewell Mark. A great human being and a wonderful peer has left us. Condolences to the Ruse family. Vale Mark Ruse, distinguished producer.”
Chris Oliver-Taylor CEO of Fremantle said, “Mark was seen as one of the good guys. Someone who those perhaps less experienced than him would turn to. A brilliant producer and a great man. I respected him immensely and he gave me lots of advice and support behind the scenes.”
SPA CEO Matthew Deaner said, “The producing community mourns Mark’s passing and recognises his incredible contribution through his producing, mentoring and friendships across the Australian screen industry. Our thoughts are with his family and close friends at this time.”