Australian Author, Political Speechwriter Bob Ellis Has Died Aged 74

03/04/2016 9:24 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Fairfax Media

Renowned Australian writer, journalist and playwright Bob Ellis died on Sunday aged 74.

For the past year Ellis had liver cancer. He died at his home at Palm Beach in Sydney's north just after 4pm Sunday.

Ellis' son Jack posted on his father's personal blog, Table Talk, saying Ellis died at home surrounded by his family.

"He died, as was his wish, at home. His family were by his bedside," he wrote.

"If you have our phone numbers, please don’t ring yet. There is too much going on."

bob ellis



A provocative figure, Ellis started out his 40-year career as a political writer incensed by the Vietnam War. He worked as a speechwriter for Labor leaders Bob Carr, Paul Keating and Kim Beazley, before unsuccessfully contesting the Federal seat of Mackellar as an independent candidate against Bronwyn Bishop in 1994.

Acclaimed for his political commentary, Ellis wrote two books relating to his involvement with the Labor Party -- Goodbye Jerusalem and Goodbye Babylon.

At a low point in Ellis' career, the first edition of Goodbye Jerusalem was pulped in 1998 for defaming Tony Abbott, Peter Costello and their wives.

Ellis was married to author and screenwriter Anna Brooksbank and they had three children together -- Jack, Tom and Jenny.

An obituary on the Independent Australia website referred to Ellis as a "true genius...with a once in a generation facility for language."

"Often controversial, frequently confronting and always brilliant, Bob was simply unable to turn a dull phrase. He wrote movies and plays and books and articles and appeared on stage and gave speeches and was, in short, a brilliant, bubbling spring of creativity."

Ellis was a regular contributor to the site.

Ellis announced he had cancer on his personal blog in July last year.

“The news is very bad and I may have months to live but it is more like weeks,” the blog read.

He last posted on Table Talk on March 25.

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