But practice makes perfect and the pair eventually emerged from the water, Hall fishing out her catch of the day relatively unscathed.
It’s been two years since Murdoch suffered a nasty fall on the deck of his son Lachlan‘s superyacht and spent the best part of three months laid up in bed with an agonising back injury, though he still managed to pull off the deal of the century by selling his vast entertainment business to Disney in a multibillion-dollar sale.
While his friends say he is still very much “hands on” when it comes the family’s news business, PS can only assume he is also a fan of the HBO series, Succession, about a mythical big money media family and its squabbling siblings trying to win favour from their ailing and ageing father to take control.
Ironically, Succession is broadcast in Australia on the Murdochs’ own Foxtel network.
At the Golden Globes this week, actor Brian Cox, who plays the all-powerful family patriarch Logan Roy, claimed Murdoch had “f–k all” to do with his character, but he revealed the Murdochs did not quite see it that way.
Backstage at the Globes, Cox revealed details of an encounter he had at a cafe near his apartment in the Primrose Hill neighbourhood of London.
A man approached him to tell him how much he and his wife were enjoying the second season of the show, although he noted that his wife “finds it a little difficult at times”.
When Cox asked why, he explained: “My wife is Elisabeth Murdoch.”
Shiv Roy, a Succession character played by Australia’s Sarah Snook, is believed to be modelled on Murdoch’s second-oldest daughter Elisabeth, who married her third husband, London artist Keith Tyson, in 2017.
Meanwhile, the real Rupert Murdoch and his wife have a new home to busy themselves with in Britain. Reports say they have become the owners of story-book like Holmwood House, a Grade II-listed Georgian property near Henley-on-Thames.
The house has an interesting history and was once a haven for 19th-century poets Algernon Charles Swinburne and Lord Tennyson.
Lachlan’s $216m new digs in LA
It was the Los Angeles traffic and their three children’s school run that clinched the deal for Lachlan Murdoch and his wife, Sarah, to drop a whopping $216 million on their palatial new digs in Bel Air.
The couple has become increasingly concerned about their current Los Angeles home in Laurel Canyon, an exclusive neighbourhood that had experienced some pretty close shaves during the Californian wildfires.
PS can reveal the Murdochs and their three children spent a fortnight in Sydney over the Christmas/New Year holidays, re-acquainting themselves with their other impressive home, Le Manoir, in Bellevue Hill.
The $50 million-plus Sydney pad is pretty much a beach shack compared to Bel Air’s Chartwell, which was built in the 1930s and was owned by Chicago hotelier Arnold Kirkeby before the late media mogul, A. Jerrold Perenchio, bought it in 1986 for $US14 million, along with three adjacent parcels of land.
Since then, the place has undergone a massive renovation, which means the number of reported bedrooms (11, with 18 bathrooms) is a little more than what the Murdochs will actually be moving into in about a month.
One of the adjacent properties, the former home of US president Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, has been demolished to make way for a new driveway.
The house features an extraordinary subterranean wine cellar for 12,000 bottles. Opera singer Luciano Pavarotti, once a regular guest at the estate, was known to rehearse in the tunnels that link the property to its beautiful swimming pool and pool house because the acoustics were so good.
As for the grassy helipad … while that is standard kit for most global media barons, apparently Lachlan and Sarah are both still doing the school run by driving their kids to classes, rather than choppering them in.
While Lachlan keeps himself busy as co-chairman of the family firm, News Corp, and as CEO of Fox Corporation, PS hears from one of their old chums that Sarah sticks to the daily routine of family life, focusing firmly on “trying to keep things as normal as possible for their kids as they grow up”.
Well, the Murdoch version of “normal” is clearly a little different from the rest of us.
Heiress Oatley’s “no-fuss” wedding
Low key. That’s just how Hamilton Island heiress Nicky Oatley wanted her second wedding, tying the knot with financier Jonathan Pearce in front of a small group of immediate family at Bathers’ Pavilion on Balmoral Beach on Monday morning and hosting 80 loved ones afterward for lunch.
While other billionaires opt for far glitzier affairs, Oatley wanted only singer Emma Louise, who gave a sweet rendition of Frank Sinatra‘s Young At Heart as the bride walked into the pavilion, wearing a dress she found online.
Oatley told PS the day had been exactly as she wanted it, “without any fuss”. The couple, who had been dating for 11 months, tootled away aboard their “little boat” for their honeymoon.
“We’re back at work on Monday,” Oatley told PS.
Angus Taylor buys into Liberal stronghold in Edgecliff
While the AFP is investigating allegedly forged documents sent from a staffer in Energy Minister Angus Taylor‘s office that form part of an ill-fated hatchet job on Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore that spectacularly backfired, PS can reveal the divisive politician and his barrister wife, Louise Clegg, have bought a new city pad in Edgecliff.
PS hears the couple paid more than $2.6 million for an apartment, described as an “investment property” in the swanky Chesterfield building, which is home to Lady Atwill, widow of the Liberal Party grandee and former party president, the late Sir John Atwill, as well as Donald and Janet Macdonald.
The couple will maintain their family home in Goulburn, in Taylor’s electorate of Hume, and have no plans to relocate to Sydney.
What Crowe really did on night of the Golden Globes
Russell Crowe’s bushfire-themed Golden Globes acceptance speech became world news on Monday.
Host Jennifer Aniston said Crowe was unable to attend the awards gala, where he won for his portrayal of Fox News boss Roger Ailes in The Loudest Voice, because he was “in Australia protecting his family from the devastating bushfires”.
But it wasn’t all smoke and fire-truck mirrors at Crowe’s Nana Glen hideaway. The actor revealed to PS that he did manage to celebrate, just in a more restrained manner than his peers in Tinsel Town.
“I’m in the bush,” he said, adding his Golden Globes festivities were “not a big celebration”.
“A normal family dinner in the bush, kids everywhere, we passed around my Golden Globe from A Beautiful Mind and everybody had the opportunity to deliver an acceptance speech. It was pretty funny. Lots of dogs got thanked. It became a thing.”
Crowe said it was a “privilege” to “share a moment like that directly with my sons. The last time I won a Golden Globe, I didn’t have kids”.
The actor’s prepared acceptance speech, sent “just in case” he won, resonated deeply with the Hollywood set.
“Make no mistake, the tragedy unfolding in Australia is climate change-based,” he wrote in the speech read by Aniston. “We need to act based on science, move our global workforce to renewable energy, and respect our planet for the unique and amazing place it is. That way we all have a future.”
Crowe took to Instagram afterwards to thank the cast of the show and to share a video of how he had prepared to face the bushfire crisis, including a tour of his fire truck, which is fitted out with “all the things you need for fighting fires”.
That included a truck with a 1000-litre water tank, shovels, hoses and other necessary equipment, including his Golden Globe from A Beautiful Mind, casually sitting on the front seat.
Andrew Hornery is a senior journalist and Private Sydney columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald.