Tony Morphett

Anthony David Morphett (10 March 1938 – 2 June 2018), known under the professional pen name Tony Morphett, was an Australian screenwriter, who created or co-created many Australian television series, including Dynasty, Certain Women, Sky Trackers, Blue Heelers, Water Rats, Above the Law and Rain Shadow. Morphett wrote or co-wrote seven feature films, ten telemovies, twelve mini-series, and hundreds of episodes of television drama, as well as devising or co-devising seven TV series. He won 14 industry awards for TV screenwriting.

Tony Morphett
Tony Morphett 2011.jpg
Tony Morphett in October 2011
Anthony David Morphett

(1938-03-10)10 March 1938
Died2 June 2018(2018-06-02) (aged 80)
Years active1964–2018
  • Betty Savage
    (m. 1961; div. 1968)
  • Inga Hunter
    (m. 1969)
WebsiteTony Morphett – The Bottom Drawer


Morphett started as a copy-boy and cadet reporter for The Daily Telegraph in 1956.

He moved to the ABC in 1957 where he worked in the ABC Talks Department for 10 years, presenting The Lively Arts and Spectrum. While at the ABC he published his early novels. He left the ABC in 1968 to become a freelance writer, writing primarily for TV and film.

Morphett was on the literature board of the Australia Council for four years from 1977–1981, and the board of the Australian Children's Television Foundation for eight years from 1985–1994. From 2003, he was a board member of the Australian Writers' Foundation, and occasionally served on the committee of the Australian Writers' Guild.

Career highlights include writing the scripts for the feature films The Shiralee, The Last Wave and Robbery Under Arms, and creating the television series Blue Heelers, Water Rats and Certain Women.

Personal lifeEdit

Two marriages:

  • 1962: Morphett married Betty Savage, daughter of Major Percival Savage, DSO, MBE and Marjorie Savage (née Hall). They had three children: Daniel, Benjamin and Anna. They divorced in 1968.
  • 1969: Morphett lived with and later married Inga Hunter, daughter of Professor T.G. Hunter and Helena Hunter (née Wright). They had two children: Emma (deceased) and Sarah.

Morphett and Inga Hunter lived together in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, with a number of cats.


In 2007 following a bout of influenza, Morphett suffered heart failure. This left his heart in a weakened state, which eventually led to his death.

On 2 June 2018, after a brief period of hospitalisation, he died at Katoomba Hospital from heart failure. He was with family as he died.[1][2]


Stage playsEdit

  • I've Come about the Assassination (1966)[3]
  • The Rise and Fall of Boronia Avenue (1969)[4]
  • The Magic Apron (1969)[5]


  • Tony Morphett (1964). Mayor's Nest. Jacaranda Press. (novel)
  • Tony Morphett (1967). Dynasty. Jacaranda Press. (novel)
  • Tony Morphett (1969). Thorskald. Lloyd O'Neil. (novel)
  • Tony Morphett (1985). Quest Beyond Time. Penguin Books with Australian Children's Television Foundation. ISBN 0140084096. (science fiction)
  • Tony Morphett (1993). The Distant Home. Mammoth. ISBN 1863302182. (science fiction)
  • Tony Morphett (1985). A Hole in my Ceiling. Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 0340271825. (non-fiction)
  • Tony Morphett (2013). Starship Home. Amazon. (science fiction)

Awards and nominationsEdit

  • 1970 Awgie: Tony Morphett for Delta ep. 19 "A Touch Of DFP".[6]
  • 1970 Penguin: Tony Morphett – Scriptwriting for Dynasty play.[7]
  • 1971 Logie: Tony Morphett – Best Scriptwriter.[7]
  • 1971 Penguin: Tony Morphett – Scriptwriting for episode 12 "The Killing Ground".[7]
  • 1971 Awgie: Tony Morphett – Best Script For A TV Drama Series for episode 5 "Cry Me A River".[7]
  • 1972 Logie: Tony Morphett – Best Scriptwriter, for Dynasty.[8]
  • 1978 Sammy Award – best writer TV series.[9]
  • 1989 Awgie: Tony Morphett – for "The Damage Done".[10]
  • 2002 Awgie: Tony Morphett – for "Letting Go" (Blue Heelers).[11]


  • "The Dictionary of Performing Arts in Australia — Theatre . Film . Radio . Television — Volume 1" — Ann Atkinson, Linsay Knight, Margaret McPhee — Allen & Unwin Pty. Ltd., 1996
  • "The Australian Film and Television Companion" — compiled by Tony Harrison — Simon & Schuster Australia, 1994
  1. ^ "Vale: Tony Morphett". TV Tonight. 4 June 2018. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Tony Morphett, screenwriter for The Sullivans, dies aged 80 after prolific career". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  3. ^ "Tony Morphett – Complete Guide to the Playwright". The Playwright's Database. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  4. ^ Adrian Guthrie (2009). "The experimental Jane Street seasons: seeking the Australian play and finding Australian performances". Double Dialogues. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  5. ^ ""The Magic apron" by Tony Morphett, 1969". State Library of NSW. 2007. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  6. ^ Don Storey (2008). "Classic Australian Television – Delta Episode Details". Classic Australian Television. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  7. ^ a b c d Don Storey (2008). "Classic Australian Television – Dynasty Episode Details". Classic Australian Television. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  8. ^ "The TV Week Logie Awards". MilesAgo. 1972. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  9. ^ "Crawford Production Awards". Crawford Production. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  10. ^ Kitty MacAlpine. "A Country Practice – Awards Won". JNP Productions. Retrieved 23 April 2011.
  11. ^ T. Zuk (1998–2011). "Australian Television Information Archive". Australian Television Information Archive. Retrieved 23 April 2011.

External linksEdit