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Australian entertainment mogul Neil Balnaves dies at age 77 after tragic boating accident in Tahiti


Australian entertainment mogul Neil Balnaves – who brought Big Brother and Bananas in Pyjamas to TV screens – dies at age 77 after tragic boating accident in Tahiti


Neil Balnaves has died at the age of 77, after a boating accident in Tahiti. 

The Daily Telegraph reported on Monday that Balnaves was holidaying on board the Oneworld mega-motor yacht off the Polynesian island. 

The Mosman millionaire was aboard a tender – a small boat – alongside the yacht when it flipped over in the waves, throwing him under. 

Loss: Neil Balnaves (pictured) has died at the age of 77, after a boating accident in Tahiti. The Daily Telegraph reported on Monday that Balnaves was holidaying on board the Oneworld mega-motor yacht off the Polynesian island

Loss: Neil Balnaves (pictured) has died at the age of 77, after a boating accident in Tahiti. The Daily Telegraph reported on Monday that Balnaves was holidaying on board the Oneworld mega-motor yacht off the Polynesian island

It is understood he could not be revived after the accident. 

He is survived by his wife, Diane Balnaves, who he married in 1971, and his children, son Hamish and daughters Alexandra and Victoria. 

Balnaves was best known for running Southern Star Television (later Endemol Shine Australia). 

Tragic: The Mosman millionaire was aboard a tender - a small boat - alongside the yacht when it flipped over in the waves, throwing him under. It is understood he could not be revived after the accident

Tragic: The Mosman millionaire was aboard a tender – a small boat – alongside the yacht when it flipped over in the waves, throwing him under. It is understood he could not be revived after the accident

Family: He is survived by his wife, Diane Balnaves (pictured), who he married in 1971, and his children, son Hamish and daughters Alexandra and Victoria

Family: He is survived by his wife, Diane Balnaves (pictured), who he married in 1971, and his children, son Hamish and daughters Alexandra and Victoria

He produced a slew of shows, including Big Brother, Bananas in Pyjamas, Water Rats and McLeod’s Daughters. 

The millionaire also suffered a near-fatal boating accident on the Gold Coast in 2002, which changed his outlook on life.   

‘As you can imagine, I had a lot of time to think throughout this period,’ he told The Advertiser in 2011. 

‘And what I came to was this: How many more houses do I need? Do I want the jet plane? Do I want another yacht? Not really. 

Popular: Balnaves was best known for running Southern Star Television (later Endemol Shine Australia).He produced a slew of shows, including Big Brother, Bananas in Pyjamas (pictured), Water Rats and McLeod's Daughters

Popular: Balnaves was best known for running Southern Star Television (later Endemol Shine Australia).He produced a slew of shows, including Big Brother, Bananas in Pyjamas (pictured), Water Rats and McLeod’s Daughters

Pictured: Actresses Gillian Alexy, Doris Younane and Rachel Coppes of McLeods Daughters at the 50th Annual Logie Awards at Luna Park in 2008

Pictured: Actresses Gillian Alexy, Doris Younane and Rachel Coppes of McLeods Daughters at the 50th Annual Logie Awards at Luna Park in 2008 

‘There comes a time when those things stop meaning so much to you.’

He went on to become a noted philanthropist, with his Balnaves Foundation giving away $20million. 

According to the website, the foundation, which was established in 2006, disperses over $3million annually. 

That money is given to eligible organisations that aim ‘to create a better Australia  through education, medicine and the arts with a focus on young people, the disadvantaged and indigenous Australia’. 

Generous: He went on to become a noted philanthropist, with his Balnaves Foundation giving away $20million

Generous: He went on to become a noted philanthropist, with his Balnaves Foundation giving away $20million

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