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Jonathan Ernest Gadsby QSM (1 November 1953 – 12 December 2015) was a New Zealand television comedian and writer, most well known for his role in the comedy series McPhail and Gadsby co-starring alongside David McPhail. He died of cancer aged 62.

Jon Gadsby

Jonathan Ernest Gadsby

(1953-11-01)1 November 1953
Derbyshire, England
Died12 December 2015(2015-12-12) (aged 62)
Christchurch, New Zealand
OccupationComedian, actor, writer


Life and careerEdit

Gadsby was born in Derbyshire, England, and went to school in Invercargill when his family moved to New Zealand.[1] He studied law at the University of Otago, leaving in his final year to work at Radio Otago.[2] He entered television with David McPhail in the comedy A Week of It, before the pair went on to the successful and long-running political satire McPhail and Gadsby.

Gadsby appeared in numerous television programmes, several films, and wrote more than 20 books, mainly for children. He wrote for The New Zealand Herald, Metro and The Listener, and performed corporate voicing. He was the founding editor of Christchurch magazine Avenues.[3]

In 2008, he received a conviction for drink-driving, after being stopped at a checkpoint in December 2006.[4] In 2011, he was convicted of his fourth drink-driving charge, having been stopped with a breath alcohol reading 2.5 times in excess of the legal limit.[3][5][6]

He died in Christchurch on 12 December 2015 from cancer.[7][8][9][10]

Honours and awardsEdit

McPhail and Gadsby won the "Best Television Entertainment Programme" award in 1981, and David McPhail and Gadsby were jointly voted the "Best Television Entertainer".[2] In the 1992 New Year Honours, Gadsby was awarded the Queen's Service Medal for public services.[11] Gadsby, David McPhail and A. K. Grant, were named best writers at the 1996 Film and Television Awards, for the series Letter to Blanchy.[2][12]





  • 1984 Book of Beasts
  • 1998 Dave and the Giant Pickle (Illustrator)
  • 1989 The Dictionary of Wimps with Allan Grant and David McPhail
  • 1995 Martin's Gang and the Ogre (Tui turbo)
  • 1995 Griselda Marmalade Forsythe
  • 1997 The Fantail and the Weka
  • 1998 The song of Nelson Mandela : the freedom to be
  • 2000 The Trough
  • 2001 Toi Toi Valley: The Big Black Boulder
  • 2001 Toi Toi Valley: The Scary Scaly Visitor
  • 2004 Bumblebee Pie
  • 2005 Zoo, The: Feeding
  • 2005 Zoo, The: Babies
  • 2000 Kapai books


  • 2008 Letter to Blanchy : Stir Crazy (with David McPhail)[13]


  1. ^ "Author profile". Scholastic New Zealand. Archived from the original (doc) on 14 October 2008. Retrieved 11 May 2008.
  2. ^ a b c "Jon Gadsby – Comedian". Speakers New Zealand. Archived from the original on 20 October 2004. Retrieved 11 May 2008.
  3. ^ a b Clarkson, David (9 September 2011). "Gadsby guilty of repeat drink-driving". Stuff. p. A15. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
  4. ^ "Drink-drive conviction for Gadsby". New Zealand Herald. 8 April 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
  5. ^ "Another Drink-drive conviction for Gadsby". 7 February 2012. Retrieved 7 February 2012.
  6. ^ "Comedian leaves notoriety behind". Stuff (Fairfax). 28 September 2014.
  7. ^ "Kiwi writer and comedian Jon Gadsby passed away". New Zealand Herald. 12 December 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  8. ^ "Tributes flow for Jon Gadsby". Stuff (Fairfax). 13 December 2015.
  9. ^ "Remembering Jon Gadsby". Stuff (Fairfax). 14 December 2015.
  10. ^ "Jon Gadsbys finest screen moments". Stuff (Fairfax). 21 October 2015.
  11. ^ "No. 52768". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 1991. p. 29.
  12. ^ "Jon Gadsby". Celebrity Speakers (NZ). Retrieved 11 August 2008.
  13. ^ "Press Release: Court Theatre". Scoop. 19 March 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2008.

External linksEdit