One of the first stars of New Zealand television, Max Cryer has died at the age of 86.
An entertainer, producer, broadcaster and journalist of great versatility, Cryer was one of the first stars of New Zealand television.
He spoke the first words on nationwide TV in 1969, and was host and producer of the first live talk-variety show in 1975.
New Zealand’s first TV quizmaster on the show Top Mark, he later produced Mastermind and University Challenge.
“Max was an icon and a trailblazer and will be sorely missed,” New Zealand media personality David Hartnell told 1NEWS.
Educated in Vienna and Italy and at Auckland University, Cryer started his career in the 1960s as a cabaret singer in Australasia, the Far East and the United States.
Among his many memorable moments was performing in a mock ventriloquist act with singer Ray Columbus in 1969.
He made numerous appearances on radio as a singer and raconteur, and starred in stage productions of My Fair Lady, The Merry Widow, The Pirates of Penzance, Die Fledermaus and The King and I.
He was director of New Zealand entertainment for Expo in Brisbane in 1988 and Seville in 1992.
He also spent time overseas, where he had memorable encounters with celebrities from Mae West to Sophia Loren.
Cryer received numerous awards including New Zealand entertainer of the year in 1974.
Tributes were being paid to him on social media tonight.
Devastated Max Cryer has left us. He spoke at our wedding – one extraordinary life lived – a roll call of rubbing shoulders in his overseas years with the likes of Sophia Loren & Hitchcock
— Wallace / Walesi Chapman (@wallacelchapman) August 26, 2021
We’ve heard the sad news that Max Cryer passed away yesterday. He was a giant of NZ broadcasting who will be missed by many. Max’s work spanned TV, radio, the stage, print – and music. He was also an early supporter of AudioCulture. @GarethShute https://t.co/bkBBhy7qPr
— AudioCulture (@AudioCultureNZ) August 26, 2021
Very sad to hear my dear friend and trusted mentor Max Cryer MBE has died. He takes with him so much knowledge, so many stories, and some delicious and unique recipes. Here he is in full form during his TedEx talk about one of his many specialties: Words. https://t.co/XIO82a33Pw
— Joe Gilfillan (@JoeGNZ) August 26, 2021
So sorry to hear about Max Cryer. I never met him but when I was a wannabe writer putting on my first play, he wrote a lovely review in the Sunday Star Times which totally encouraged a baby writer (and possibly gave her unrealistic expectations for future reviews). Rest In Peace.
— Kate McDermott (@MsKateMcD) August 26, 2021
An English language expert, Cryer wrote several books on the subject including the Godzone Dictionary – a guide to speaking like a Kiwi.
He died yesterday at an Auckland rest home.