Bert Newton. Photo: Simon Schluter
With a smile as broad as his "moon face", television legend Bert Newton emerged from hospital planning an eventual return to show business once he's recovered from heart surgery.
The 74-year-old television icon was released from the Epworth Hospital today, having undergone a five-and-a-half hour quadruple bypass operation last month.
Newton's wife Patti was ecstatic as she collected her husband, quietly singing "he's coming home, he's coming home" to waiting journalists.
Newton was wheelchair-bound but cracked gags at his own expense.
"It'll take probably three to six months to get back to that peak of masculinity that I had," he said.
Newton said he had been surprised at the pace of his recovery. "I feel so much better than I did (before surgery). It wasn't nearly as bad as some people would have forecast," he said.
Newton hinted at a return to the small screen or the stage.
"If there's something that was suitable I'd love to do it," he said. "I don't really know if I could play Maria in The Sound of Music, but I'll try to get the weight loss and get up to a soprano sound."
But first he plans to "lie low" as his rehabilitation continues.
Earlier this year, Newton had a scare while performing in the musical Wicked in Singapore and spent a week in hospital while medics cleared a blockage in his heart.
Newton started his career as a 15-year-old junior announcer on Melbourne radio station 3XY and began his association with the Nine Network in 1959, striking up a partnership with Graham Kennedy on In Melbourne Tonight. He has been a fixture of Australian television and stage ever since.
Newton has four gold Logies and was inducted into the Logies Hall of Fame in 1988.