|Phillip Andrew Hedley Adams|
Phillip Adams speaking at the 2010 Global Atheist Convention
12 July 1939 |
Maryborough, Victoria, Australia
Phillip Andrew Hedley Adams, AO (born 12 July 1939) is an Australian farmer, broadcaster and public intellectual. He currently hosts an ABC radio program, Late Night Live, four nights a week, and writes a weekly column for The Australian.
He has been a successful advertising executive and film producer, and has served on many boards including Greenpeace Australia, Ausflag, Care Australia, Film Victoria, National Museum of Australia, both the Adelaide and Brisbane festivals of ideas, the Montsalvat Arts Society and the Don Dunstan Foundation.
Awards include four honorary doctorates from Australian universities; two Orders of Australia; Republican of the Year 2005; the Senior ANZAC Fellowship; the Australian Humanist of the Year, the Golden Lion at Cannes; the Longford Award; and the Henry Lawson Australian Arts Award. In 1997 the International Astronomical Union named a minor planet orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter after him. A National Trust poll elected him one of Australia's 100 national living treasures.
His parents separated when he was young. He has written:
"Mother dumped [his father] in favour of a rather sleazy businessman ... a sociopath who tried to murder me ... I spent my latter part of my childhood trying to protect my mother from this psycho."
Of his education he has said: "I was forced to leave school before completing my secondary education and the only job I could get was working in advertising."
Adams began his advertising career with Foote Cone & Belding, and later, with Brian Monahan and Lyle Dayman, became a partner in the agency Monahan Dayman Adams. They took that company to a successful public listing and Adams became a millionaire in the process. He developed successful campaigns such as "Life – Be In It", "Slip, Slop, Slap", "Break down the Barriers", "Guess whose mum's got a Whirlpool" and "Watch the big men fly for a Herbert Adams Pie", working with such talents as Fred Schepisi, Alex Stitt, Peter Best, Robin Archer and Mimmo Cozzolino. He left the advertising industry in the 1980s. Monahan Dayman Adams purchased the successful Sydney agency MoJo in 1987 and carried on as MojoMDA. Its lineage can today be traced to Publicis Mojo, an Australian subsidiary of the French multinational advertising and communications company holding Publicis Groupe.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s Adams presented a late-night program on Sydney commercial radio station 2UE.
Late Night Live
A serious discussion of world issues, the program is tempered with Adams' gentle and ironic humour.
Regular contributors include Bruce Shapiro and Beatrix Campbell. At times, Adams refers tongue-in-cheek to his listeners as "the listener" or "Gladys", as though he had only one listener; he also refers to listeners collectively as "Gladdies". Recently, Adams has begun introducing the show saying "Good evening Gladdies and Poddies", in reference to the show's growing podcast listener base.
From 2007 to 2010, the theme music was Elena Kats-Chernin's "Russian Rag", which Adams humorously refers to as "The Waltz of the Wombat". The previous music was Bach's concerto for oboe, violin and orchestra in C Minor, BWV 1060: III. Allegro. In 2010 a new theme was chosen, "Wild Swans Concert Suite" by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, Jane Sheldon soprano, composer: Elena Kats-Chernin; publishing/copyright: ABC Classics.
Adams played a key role in the revival of the Australian film industry during the 1970s. He was the author of a 1969 report which led to legislation by Prime Minister John Gorton in 1970 for an Australian Film and Television Development Corporation (later the Australian Film Commission) and the Experimental Film Fund.
Adams played a key role in the South Australian Film Corporation, which was created in 1972 and became a model for similar bodies in other Australian states, and in the establishment of the Australia Council and the Australian Film Development Corporation, later known as the Australian Film Commission.
As head of delegation to the Cannes Film Festival, he signed Australia's first co-production agreements with France and the UK. He was Chairman of the Australian Film Institute, the Film and Television Board of the Australia Council, the Australian Film Commission, and Film Australia. He helped establish the Australian Caption Service, which provides services for hearing impaired television viewers – and the Travelling Film Festival to take quality films into rural areas.
In the 1960s Adams wrote, produced and directed (as well as serving as cinematographer for) his first feature film "Jack and Jill: A Postscript" (1969); the first feature to win the Australian Film Institute Award, and the first Australian film to win the Grand Prix at an international festival.
Adams produced or co-produced other features including the critically panned but hugely popular film adaptation of Barry Humphries' The Adventures of Barry McKenzie, directed by Bruce Beresford, which became the most successful Australian film ever made up to that time. Other films include "The Naked Bunyip", "Don's Party", "The Getting Of Wisdom", "Lonely Hearts", "We Of The Never Never", "Grendel Grendel Grendel", "Fighting Back" and "Hearts and Minds".
Adams chaired the Commission for the Future, established by the Hawke Government to build bridges between science and the community. In 1988 the Commission won a major United Nations award for educating Australia on the issue of greenhouse and climate change.
He chaired the National Australia Day Council. Its principal task was to choose the Australian of the Year. He also chairs the Advisory Board for the Centre of the Mind at the University of Sydney and the Australia National University in Canberra, and has been a board member of Greenpeace, CARE Australia, the National Museum of Australia, The Australian Centre for Social Innovation, the Adelaide Festival of Ideas and Brisbane's Ideas Festival. He was co-founder of the Australian Skeptics.
Adams is the author or editor of more than 20 books, including The Unspeakable Adams, Adams Versus God, The Penguin Book of Australian Jokes, Retreat from Tolerance, Talkback and A Billion Voices, Adams Ark (published in 2004) and (with Lee Burton) "Emperors of the Air" (Allen & Unwin).
Robert Manne has described Adams as "the emblematic figurehead of the pro-Labor left intelligentsia". Adams had a close relationship with every Labor leader from Gough Whitlam to Kevin Rudd, advising on public relations, advertising and policy issues. However, on 19 July 2006 he was reported as saying of the Labor Party:
"They hate me," he says. "I think Kim Beazley is a serious error. I think the party's been going downhill federally ever since Keating left ... The Labor Party's hardly worth feeding federally." In 2010 Adams resigned from the ALP after the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, lost the prime ministership at the Australian Labor Party leadership election.
Adams' life and extracurricular activities have made him a source of interest to fans and foes of all persuasions for many years. Australia's security intelligence organisation kept an extensive ASIO File on Adams. The file began at about the time he turned 16 years of age.
Adams is married to Patrice Newell. He has four daughters: three with his first wife, Rosemary Fawcett, and one with Newell.
He lives on Elmswood, a large property near Gundy in the Hunter Region in mid-northern New South Wales. He and his wife grow garlic, olives and farm organically fed cattle. He has a home in Paddington, an inner suburb of Sydney. Prior to this, Adams lived for some time in Stoneleigh, a heritage-listed house in the Sydney suburb of Darlinghurst. Adams is a collector of rare antiques, including Egyptian, Roman and Greek sculptures and artifacts.
He has written "I'd been an atheist since I was five."
Honours and awards
- Windgrove Laureate (2004)
- Senior ANZAC Fellow (1981)
- Henry Lawson Arts Award (1987)
- United Nations Media Award (2005)
- Multiple AFI Awards for various films
- Honorary doctorate, Griffith University
- Honorary doctorate, University of Sydney
- Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) 1992
- Honorary doctorate, Edith Cowan University
- Member of the Order of Australia (AM) 1987
- Living Treasures by the National Trust in 1998
- Walkley Award for Broadcast Journalism (2004)
- Honorary doctorate, University of South Australia
- Responsibility in Journalism Award 1998 (SCICOP) New York
- Australian Republican of the Year 2005 (Australian Republican Party)
- Australian Humanist of the Year 1987 – Awarded by the Council of Australian Humanist Societies
- Australian Centenary Medal (1 January 2001)  "For service to Australian society in journalism"
- Raymond Longford Award (the Australian film industry's highest accolade, in 1981, for "Outstanding Services to the Australian Film Industry"
- A minor planet, discovered by R.H. McNaught at Siding Spring (1990) was named "Phillipadams" by the International Astronomical Union (1997)
- Human Rights Medal awarded by the Australian Government's Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (2006) (Shared with Father Chris Riley)
- A Billion Voices
- Classic Columns
- Adams Ark (2004)
- Adams Versus God
- Retreat from Tolerance
- The Uncensored Adams
- The Inflammable Adams
- The Unspeakable Adams
- More Unspeakable Adams
- Adams with Added Enzymes
- Talkback: Emperors of the Air
- Adams Vs. God: The Rematch (2007)
- Harrold Cazneaux: The Quiet Observer
- The Big Questions (with Professor Paul Davies)
- More Big Questions (with Professor Paul Davies)
With his partner Patrice Newell, he is the author of several joke books:
- The Penguin Book of Australian Jokes (1994)
- The Penguin Book of Jokes from Cyberspace (1995)
- The Penguin Book of More Australian Jokes (1996)
- The Penguin Book of Schoolyard Jokes (1997)
- Kitty and the Bagman
- A Personal History of the Australian Surf
- Hearts and Minds (1966) (producer)
- Jack and Jill: A Postscript (1970) (producer, writer, director)
- The Naked Bunyip (1970) (producer)
- The Adventures of Barry McKenzie (1972) (producer)
- Don's Party (1976) (producer)
- The Getting of Wisdom (1978) (producer)
- Grendel Grendel Grendel (1981) (producer)
- Fighting Back (1982) (executive producer)
- Lonely Hearts (1982) (executive producer)
- We of the Never Never (1982) (executive producer)
- Abra Cadabra (1983) (producer)
- Dallas Doll (1994) as Radio Announcer
- Road to Nhill (1997) as God (voice)
- Adams' Australia (part of BBC TV's contribution to Australia's celebrations for its bicentenary).
- The Big Questions with Professor Paul Davies
- Death and Destiny filmed in Egypt with Paul Cox.
- More Big Questions with Professor Paul Davies
- Face The Press SBS
- Short Cuts ABC
- Four Corners
- This Day Tonight
- 7:30 Report
- Clive James
- Will Be Back After This Break (7 Network)
- Two Shot series 1 and 2 (ABC)
- Short and Sweet (2 6-part series, ABC)
- Talking Heads
- A Current Affair
- Sixty Minutes
- Australian Story
- Counterpoint with William F. Buckley Jr
- The Chaser's War on Everything
- Compere, Australian Film Institute Awards Telecast
- Co-presenter, the Australian Bicentennial Celebration
- "Phillip Adams". The Australian. Retrieved 28 March 2012.
- Broadcaster Phillip Adams
- Phillip Adams
- Fidler, Richard. "Phillip Adams". ABC. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
- 2003/81/3 Animation cel, original artwork, featuring 'Norm' from the 'Life. Be in it' campaigns, acetate / paper / cardboard, drawn by Alexander Stitt, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia, 1993–1994 – Powerhouse Museum Collection
- Campaigns and advertising – SunSmart (Victoria)
- ABC Radio National – Late Night Live – Home Page
- Philip Luker (20 April 2011). Phillip Adams: The Ideas Man - A Life Revealed. JoJo Publishing. p. 206. ISBN 978-0-9870734-6-4.
- . Melbourne http://www.theage.com.au/articles/200v3/03/06/1046826480126.html?oneclick=true. Missing or empty
- Australian Horror Films: Appendix
- Speaker Profile of Phillip Adams at The Celebrity Speakers Bureau
- "Labor must confront its identity crisis". The Age (Melbourne). 18 October 2004.
- [Why I quit the Labor Party http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/why-i-quit-the-labor-party/story-e6frg8h6-1225886243738]
- "Weekend Australian Magazine" Phillip Adams 16 Jul 2005.
- State Heritage Register
- It's an Honour – Officer of the Order of Australia
- It's an Honour – Member of the Order of Australia
- ABC Late Night Live podcasts
- Biography (ABC)
- In conversation with Richard Fidler
- Why We Need a Revolution Now
- "I Am Proud That."
- My Life as Phillip Adams: A Memoir (Imre Salusinszky)
- Phillip Adams at the Internet Movie Database