Vale: Jonathan Coleman

Much loved Australian entertainer, best known for Wonder World, Studio 10, Late Night with Jono & Dano, has died.

Much loved Australian entertainer Jonathan Coleman OAM, best known for Wonder World, Studio 10, Late Night with Jono and Dano, has died aged 65.

Family have confirmed he lost his four year battle with prostate cancer last night, surrounded by his family Margot, and children Oscar (27) and Emily (24).

“Jono and I have been soulmates for close to 40 years. We have been fortunate to live a rich and wonderful life and I have been lucky enough to watch up-close someone with enormous talent and the special gift to make people laugh,” said Margot Coleman, Jono’s wife.

“I will miss him beyond words and with the support of our gorgeous children, Oscar and Emily, and their partners, we will continue to live in the manner he wanted.

“When I asked Jono recently how he wanted to be remembered, he said, ‘For doing a good deed every day.’ Such was the generosity and caring nature of the love of my life.

“We will find the time to bring together all those close to him to celebrate his life when circumstances permit.”

Born in Hackney on 29 February 1956, Jonathan was most recently a presenter at Studio 10 on Network 10. He had a long and distinguished media career in both Australia and his native Britain. In 2015 he was awarded an OAM for his services to the broadcast media industry and to the community.

Jonathan began his career in graphic design and advertising before he burst onto TV screens in 1979 as part of the original line-up of Simon Townsend’s Wonder World!. In 1981, he presented a radio show on youth network 2JJJ where he first teamed up with Ian ‘Dano’ Rogerson. The show, ‘Off The Record’, quickly gained cult status and included Angela Webber, Lance Curtis, and Adam Bowen. ‘Jono and Dano’ were then snapped up by Triple M in 1984 to present the night time show where they took the show to number 1.

Jonathan’s radio career has been highly awarded both here, and in the UK where his warm presentation style was always upbeat, full of wit and stream of consciousness banter. His 16 years in England included radio shows on BBC London, Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Radio (‘Russ and Jono’) and a long, successful stint at Heart 106.2 (1998-2005). His UK awards include three Gold Sony Radio Academy Awards including Best Breakfast Show, an NTL award for Broadcaster of the Year UK, and a New York Radio award for Best International Radio Show.

Possessing a vast musical knowledge, Jonathan presented the award winning ‘My Generation’ for the ARN network 2004-2010. In 2006 he returned to Australia full-time, partnering with Julia Zemiro to present ‘The Jonathan Coleman Experience’ on WSFM, and later re-uniting with Ian ‘Dano’ Rogerson on Drive. Most recently Jonathan has presented a weekly show with longtime JJJ friend Jon Vidler on community radio’s Northside Radio 99.3FM (‘The Two Jons’).

Jonathan’s career included film, TV and theatre roles. TV shows included Saturday Morning Live, Late Night with Jono and Dano and Have A Go (Channel 7), Wavelength (Channel 9), the London correspondent for Sunrise (Channel 7), and a comedy regular on Tonight Live with Steve Vizard, Hey, Hey It’s Saturday, Born Lucky in the US and Noel’s House Party in the UK. He appeared in several films including ‘Young Einstein’ and ‘Midnight Spares’ and on stage with Jessica Rowe in the 2015 production of ‘Aladdin and his Wondrous Lamp’. Jonathan was also the narrator of children’s TV program ‘The Koala Brothers’.

Musically, he released four singles and a comedy album, ‘Jonathan Coleman’s Polka Project’, produced by Alan Mansfield. The song ‘Busy Bleeding’ was released in 1984 under the pseudonym Wide Boy Youth and charted in Perth before his true identity was revealed.

His community work is a long list that includes: Radio for the Print Handicapped, the School for the Deaf and Blind, Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy UK, Schizophrenia Research Institute, Variety Clubs Australia, Carers’ Australia, the Australia Day Council and most recently the Movember Foundation.

He is survived by his adoring family, his wife of 31 years Margot, their children Oscar and Emily, his sister Sharon and husband Michael and his nephew Adam and partner Brandee.

The family would like to thank Prof. Anthony Joshua and all the doctors and nurses who have lovingly cared for Jonathan. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, garvan.org.au or the Movember foundation, au.movember.com

This post updates.

22 Responses

  1. Wonder world would not have been the show without Jono I watched as a kid and he was so popular In fact looking at his programs they were almost always number 1. Wonder world or Saturday morning or have a go or London radio. He was a star! Very sad about this news. Thanks Jono for all the laughs!!

  2. Very shocked and sad to hear of the death of Jonathan Coleman. Loved watching him on Studio 10. My thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time. RIP Jono.

  3. Farwell Jono. One of TV’s truly good guys. I first worked with him in 1985 when he was on Wonder World all the way through to his radio gigs in recent years. He was always the same – a bundle of laughs and a punchline for every occasion. He made us all laugh and that has got to be the greatest gift of all. Cheers mate. X

  4. I loved him on Wonderworld but some on the funniest stuff was on the morning music show with Dano, Saturday Morning Live. That show seemed to go for years but I have a feeling they only did it for maybe two before other presenters took over.

  5. what a shock loss, i do remember now that he went public about having cancer but then i guess i forgot, in part because he was ever the professional & kept working on Studio 10, all the while smiling. He was one of those people that’s been on TV seemingly forever, so somehow you think he’s always going to be there. RIP after a brave fight mate.

    PS. does anyone know which years Wavelength was on? i know it was mid 80’s but not sure how long it lasted, and i think it was on in the Afternoon? or maybe im getting confused with Have a Go?

    1. I picked up the newspaper this morning and heard about the sad passing of Jono Coleman. This guy has a larrikin sense of humour. As well he did voiceover warmups for studio 10. My thoughts are with his family

  6. Thank-you Jono for the memories and great fun.
    I loved the Wonder World years, which was a staple of my childhood viewing, and really loved your work with your partner-in-crime, Dano especially on the Have a Go show on channel 7.

    Gone far too soon.
    Vale Jonathan Coleman

  7. It’s not always that a passing of a prominent personality would strike a chord, but it does with Jono. He was an amazing personality and brought much sunshine to Studio 10.

  8. Oh this really pulls at the heart strings Jonathon was one of those people that you felt you knew, part of the family in a way. RIP lovely Jonathon, thank you for so many wonderful years of entertainment and laughs Sincere condolences to family.

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