John ‘Strop’ Cornell’s most memorable moments: How the Aussie legend impacted the film, media and sporting industries
John Cornell has been described as an accidental star.
The Aussie legend started his career behind the scenes as a journalist in Perth before becoming a producer on A Current Affair in the ’70s. But soon enough, he was living his life in front of the cameras.
In tribute to Cornell, who passed away today aged 80 after a 20-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, let’s take a look at the most memorable moments in the life of the man who will forever be known as Strop.
Cornell was born in the West Australia gold mining town of Kalgoorlie in 1941. He would go on to become a journalist for The Daily News before relocating to Sydney and working as a producer for Nine’s A Current Affair, which was then hosted by Mike Willesee.
During a fateful meeting in 1971, Cornell befriended Paul Hogan, who was being interviewed by Willisee at the time. They instantly became each other’s sidekicks.
“John Cornell was a man of enormous intellect and a creative genius who managed to touch so many, but as importantly he was a man with a big heart that filled a room,” Michael Healy, Channel 9’s director of television, said, as per the Financial Review.
Thick as thieves, Hogan invited Cornell to appear alongside him on his hit ’70s variety TV program, The Paul Hogan Show. Cornell would play the character of Strop, a man of few words who always wore his surf lifesaver’s cap. The character became loved by audiences nationwide.
They even delighted international star Hugh Hefner back in 1986, with the Playboy mogul wearing Strop’s signature lifesaver’s cap as they posed for a photo.
“John was seeking the equivalent for A Current Affair of a newspaper cartoonist, and recognised the quintessential larrikin qualities in Paul Hogan,” his family said in a statement obtained by 9Honey Celebrity.
“The two teamed on the bond of a handshake, creating a 16-year run of the highest rating comedy specials, The Paul Hogan Shows.”
Cornell would go on to become Hogan’s manager. In 1986, the comedic duo produced Crocodile Dundee, which has since been hailed the most profitable Aussie movie of all time.
Cornell also produced and directed the 1988 sequel, Crocodile Dundee II.
The beloved Aussie was also instrumental in the introduction of the World Series Cricket in 1977. He worked closely with Kerry Packer, presenting the mogul with the idea aimed to create better financial rewards for players.
With this, Cornell undoubtedly made his mark on the sporting world.
“John’s acute instincts and sharp intelligence drove his rebellious push of World Series Cricket against the establishment for higher recognition and bigger salaries for the world’s players of his favourite game, re-imagining, marketing and capturing it in a brand-new form,” his family said in the statement.
For a daily dose of 9Honey, sign up here to receive our top stories straight to your inbox