Paul Hogan has spoken out about the death of his old best friend John Cornell.
Speaking with the Daily Telegram By phone from his Los Angeles mansion, the emotional 81-year-old reflected on his friendship with Cornell.
“I wish everyone could have a friend like that,” he told the publication.
Heartbroken: Paul Hogan spoke out on Saturday about the death of his old best friend John Cornell Cor
“We were both larrikins, we both never took life too seriously,” he added.
Cornell died this week at age 80 after a 20-year battle with Parkinson’s disease.
He is best known for discovering Hogan while working as a producer on the TV show A Current Affair in 1971, before later becoming the manager of the legendary Australian actor.
He and Hogan also co-produced Crocodile Dundee in 1986, which remains the highest-grossing Australian film of all time.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, he died at his home in Byron Bay, surrounded by his wife Delvene Delaney, his eldest daughter Melissa and his youngest daughter Liana on the phone from the UK.
Farewell: Cornell, who was Hogan’s best friend and former manager, passed away this week at age 80 (pictured together on The Paul Hogan Show)
“John Cornell, a classic Australian character, has made the lives he touched much richer, not only through donations, but also through his generosity, humor, humility and honour,” his family said in a statement.
“A true egalitarian, John sought equality and equality, and fought for a fair chance.”
Cornell was fundamental to the creation of World Series Cricket, which created the one-day form of the game.
He worked closely with media mogul Kerry Packer to start the rebel league, which sent shockwaves through the cricket establishment.
Cornell is pictured with his wife Delvene Delaney in Sydney in 2006
The pair launched daring attacks to attract the best players in the world and Cornell was instrumental in marketing the breakaway company, which grew from early battles and became a milestone in Australian sporting history.
Cornell started out as a journalist for The Daily News in Perth in the 1960s.
He later became a producer on Nine’s A Current Affair, where he discovered Paul Hogan, who was working as a rigger on the Sydney Harbor Bridge at the time.
He became Hogan’s manager and eventually co-star on The Paul Hogan Show, where he played “Strop.”
Flashback: Cornell played Strop on The Paul Hogan Show. (Pictured with Hogan and Delvene Delaney)
Back to it: he reprized his role as Strop for a beer commercial last year (pictured)
From there, he produced and wrote the screenplay for Hogan’s 1986 film, which became the highest grossing Australian film of all time.
Cornell and his wife owned several properties in Byron Bay, starting with a house they bought together in the 1980s.
At the time of purchase, the beach path was worth approximately $325,000 dollars.
It was later sold for about $10 million to Glen Norman, Harvey Norman’s heir.
Real Estate: Cornell and his wife owned several properties in Byron Bay, starting with a house they bought together in the 1980s (pictured) that they later sold for $10 million
The 2.3-acre estate is based on Belongil Beach and has stunning views of Cape Byron Lighthouse, Julian Rocks and Mt Warning.
John owned many properties around Byron Bay and the surrounding areas, including the popular Hotel Brunswick in Brunswick Heads.
In 2013, Channel Nine executive David Gyngell spent $5.25 million to buy a half share of the hotel.
In 2017, Cornell spent $3,375,000 on a property in the hinterland of Byron Bay.
The property is adjacent to an 18-acre parcel that has been owned by Cornell since the 1980s.
Big spender: One of the largest properties in Cornell’s real estate portfolio is the Hotel Brunswick in Brunswick Heads (pictured)
Nine’s Director of Television, Mike Healy, paid tribute to Cornell on Friday after his death was announced.
“John Cornell was a man of immense intellect and a creative genius who could touch so many people, but just as importantly, he was a man with a big heart that filled a room,” Healy told Nine News.
“From journalism with the creation of A Current Affair, through sports with World Series Cricket, and entertainment with his buddy Hoges, they made magic on television for decades here at Nine,” he continued.
“Our heartfelt condolences go out to his beloved wife Delvene and daughters, Melissa, Allira and Liana Cornell, as well as to everyone he loved and shared his life with. Our love and thoughts are also with David Gyngell and Leila McKinnon, who were like family to Corney and Delvene.”
The Life and Times of John Cornell
John Cornell was born in Kalgoorlie on March 2, 1941
He worked as a milkman, bookmaker and nightclub owner and eventually as a journalist for Perth’s Daily News
In 1971, he met Paul Hogan while working as a producer on A Current Affair
Cornell became Hogan’s manager and together they created The Paul Hogan Show
After The Paul Hogan Show ended in 1984, Hogan and Cornell co-wrote and produced Crocodile Dundee in 1986
Years later, Cornell would become foundational to the creation of World Series Cricket, which created the game’s one-day form.
He married his third wife, actress Delvene Delaney ., in 1977
Cornell later became a multi-owned mini real estate magnate in Byron Bay and the surrounding areas, including Hotel Brunswick in Brunswick Heads