Phillip Adams

On this date in 1939, Australian broadcaster and film producer Phillip Andrew Hedley Adams was born in Maryborough, Victoria, Australia. His father was a Congregational Church minister. Adams stayed with his mother after his parents separated when he was young. Adams produced (and wrote and directed) his first film, “Jack and Jill,” in 1970. He produced nine other films through the 1980s. He shifted into broadcasting in the 1980s when he became the host of “Late Night Live,” an Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) radio program, where he has since remained. He has chaired the Australian Film Institute, the Film and Television Board of the Australian Council, the Australian Film Commission and Film Australia. He headed an Australian delegation for the Cannes Film Festival, helped establish the first Australian television captioning service for the hearing impaired and launched the Travelling Film Festival, which brought films to rural regions. Adams chaired the Commission for the Future, which won accolades from the United Nations in 1988 for raising awareness of climate change in Australia. He has served on the boards of Greenpeace, CARE Australia, and The Australian Centre for Social Innovation, among many others. He is the author (or editor) of numerous books, including Adams Versus God (1985). He became a member of the Order of Australia in 1987, and an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1992. Adams has written for The Australian since the 1960s, often sparking heated debate for his leftist political views. In the early 1980s, he co-founded Australian Skeptics. The Australian government awarded him the Human Rights Medal in 2006. He received the United Nations Media Award in 2005. The Council of Australian Humanist Societies awarded him the Australian Humanist of the Year in 1987. He also holds honorary doctorates from four universities. Adams has four daughters. He and his wife, Patrice Newell, split their time between a cattle ranch in New South Wales and a home in Sydney.

“When I was five, I discovered I couldn't believe in god . . . She never answered my calls! My father was a professional god-botherer, my grandparents were Christians, I was surrounded by standard outer suburban Christianity . . . I wanted to believe, but I just couldn't — I found the whole idea redundant.”

—Phillip Adams in his bio on the ABC website, July 19, 2006

Compiled by Bonnie Gutsch

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