The ‘mad hatter’ behind some of Melbourne’s most popular nightclubs has died, as friends recall the party king’s antics.
George ‘Ziggy’ Zogoolas, who held the keys to the city’s hippest club in the 2000s, was bid farewell by friends on Wednesday after dropping by in his sleep in Bali.
He left behind three children, including sons Jake and Paul Zogoolas, whom he had with his ex-wife, Real Housewives of Melbourne star Janet Roach.
Mr Zogoolas ran the trendy Love Machine club on Chapel Street in Prahran. The club hosted the popular ‘Gossip Sundays’ – with revelers known to party until the early hours of Monday.
The charismatic owner of the venue was known for the energy he brought to the club during the 2000s, drawing celebrities and football stars through the doors for years.
He also owned Chasers further down Chapel Street, turning the downtrodden place into a bustling nightclub.
He died of an apparent heart attack, the sun herald reported.
Close friends remembered Mr Zogoolas as the ‘king of clubs’.
George ‘Ziggy’ Zogoolas, the charismatic man behind one of Melbourne’s most iconic nightclubs, has died (pictured above, during his marriage to famous ex-wife Janet Roach)
Mr Zogoolas has made the Love Machine club on Chapel Street, Prahran one of the most popular nightspots in town
“You always ran your own running mate, you taught me a few things about our beloved Melbourne nightclub scene,” wrote friend and DJ Peter Apostle.
“My deepest condolences go out to Paul Zogoolas and the rest of the family.”
Local journalist Luke Dennehy left a touching note for his companion on social media.
“Sad to hear of the passing of one of Melbourne’s first nightclub kings, George Zogoolas.
“I first met George in the mid-2000s when he was turning Love Machine on Sunday nights (ironically it was called Gossip) into a celebrity-filled place we wrote about all the time. RIP, says -he.
Mr. Zogoolas (pictured left with Molly Meldrum) was one of the most charismatic venue owners in town and was fondly remembered by his friends.
Mr Zogoolas (above) is remembered as a ‘mad storyteller’, ‘mad hatter’ and ‘king of the clubs’.
Other friends called him “Melbourne’s iconic personality in the nightclub industry” and a “genius storyteller”.
A former Mr Zogoolas performer has recalled how the nightclub czar gave her a chance as she started out in the hospitality industry.
“You saw something in me and always treated me like a princess and often called me that,” she wrote on social media.
‘The phrase ‘Baby!! Go upstairs and work in this room” will forever be in my fondest memories, a weekly occurrence that will always make me laugh.
“Thank you for everything and for the huge hand you had in shaping me into the queen I am today, it’s a sad day for many. Here comes the king of clubs and the mad hatter of our little wonderland .
He is survived by his two sons whom he had with ex-wife Janet Roach (far right), who appeared on hit reality show The Real Housewives of Melbourne
Ms Roach (left) and Mr Zogoolas divorced after the birth of their sons, she has since been romantically involved with the CEO of Chemist Warehouse
He had his two sons Paul and Jake with reality star Ms Roach, 58.
Ms Roach appeared on the Real Housewives of Melbourne and was romantically involved with drugstore tycoon Sam Gance during her appearance on the Real Housewives of Melbourne.
She had known the Chemist Warehouse co-founder for about 30 years before the two got together.
She and her son Jake together run their brand of tea, which is supplied by the drugstore chain.
Jake also founded a burns charity after he was set on fire by burning petrol while standing by a campfire in rural New South Wales in 2011.
The 22-year-old was airlifted to hospital, put into a coma and treated for his severe burns.
Mr Zogoolas’ former club still operate as the Love Machine but have been embroiled in scandals in recent years.
A deadly double shooting in 2019 sparked the nightclub’s woes when two men walked past the club after midnight and opened fire, killing a security guard and a club boss.
In 2021, a glazing in the club caused a violent fight before the attackers were kicked by the bouncers.
The bloodied rivals, however, disappeared from the venue only to later engage in a shootout in the suburbs.
Earlier in 2022, a corporate banker killed himself while facing charges of sexual assault which allegedly took place at the club on New Years Day 2020.
Police alleged that two assaults occurred just 10 minutes apart in the day, infuriating a friend of one of the alleged victims.
The club still operates under its license and is a lively venue on the bustling strip.