Two prominent soap operas in Australia have been the starting platform for some of the most talented actors in the world. Some of the most famous stars and even Oscar-Winners started out in these two TV shows.
Neighbours and Home and Away are Australia’s longest-running soaps and have kick-started the careers of the many famous Aussies you see in Hollywood today. Neighbours, which started 1985, has recently been canceled after it was dropped from UK television but not before producing some of the most famous and beloved exports. Home and Away came later in 1988 and has been the career launchpad for superheroes, CW starlets and even an Oscar winner! Both of these shows depicted the daily lives of working-class people living in Australia.
These are the celebrities who owe their international fame and highly successful career to their appearance in Neighbours or Home and Away.
9 Russell Crowe Was Kenny Larkin On ‘Neighbours’
Russell Crowe moved to Australia from his native New Zealand and starred as ex-convict Kenny Larkin on Neighbours in 1987. His character caused chaos on Ramsay Street, upsetting the close-knit community by sabotaging Henry Mitchell’s gardening business and stealing money during his four-episode appearance.
After success in the Australian film industry, Crowe earned his breakout role in LA Confidential. Since then, he has enjoyed great success in the U.S., including two Academy Award nominations and one win for his performance in Gladiator.
8 Margot Robbie Played Donna Freedman On ‘Neighbours’
The Oscar-nominated actress and producer first landed the role of Donna Freedman in 2008, and appeared in Neighbours for three years, despite only initially signing up to appear in a few episodes. Robbie was nominated for two Logie Awards for her role in the show. She made headlines with her groundbreaking same-sex kiss with Sunny Lee.
She quit the TV show in 2011, and the Queensland-born star headed to Hollywood, where she got her big break in The Wolf of Wall Street in 2013, alongside Leonardo DiCaprio.
Since appearing in the film, Margot Robbie has gone on to have a hugely successful career, including earning an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Tonya Harding in I,Tonya and starring as Harley Quinn in the DCEU. She has also set up her own production company, LuckyChap Entertainment, with her husband Tom Ackerley, producing films like Promising Young Woman.
7 Liam Hemsworth Was Josh Taylor In ‘Neighbours’
The actor played Bridget Parker’s paraplegic friend Josh Taylor, who was left paralyzed following a surfing accident, between 2007 and 2008. Liam Hemsworth appeared in Neighbours for just under a year, following in his big brother’s footsteps and heading to Hollywood.
He originally auditioned for the role of Thor, which went to his brother but found fame when appearing in The Last Song alongside Miley Cyrus in 2010. He went on to star in The Hunger Games with Jennifer Lawrence and Independence Day: Resurgence.
6 Chris Hemsworth Was In ‘Home And Away’
Liam Hemsworth’s older brother Chris appeared on Home and Away between 2004 and 2007. He originally auditioned for the role of Robbie Hunter, which went to Jason Smith. Chris Hemsworth was nominated for Most Popular Actor for two years running at the Logie awards. He left the show to head to Hollywood where he played George Kirk in Star Trek and became most famous as the title character in the Thor franchise. He also runs a successful fitness app which was recently sold to Jeff Bezos’ brother.
Hemsworth returned to the Home and Away in 2014 to appear as an extra at the Pier Diner. He also made a one-episode appearance as a mechanic in 2012.
5 Guy Pearce Played Mike Young In ‘Neighbours’
Guy Pearce played Mike Young from 1986 to 1989 and starred alongside Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan, who would go on to have successful musical careers in their own right.
After his critically-acclaimed turn in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, he went to Hollywood to star in successful movies like L.A. Confidential, Memento and Iron Man 3. He recently appeared in HBO drama Mare of Easttown.
4 Isla Fisher Was In ‘Home And Away’ For Over 400 Episodes
Isla Fisher was just 19 when she joined the cast of Home and Away in 1994, shortly after finishing the role of Robyn Devereaux on another Australian soap opera, Paradise Beach.
Her character over the 400 episodes she starred in had important storylines including anorexia, bisexuality and adoption. She left in 1997 to train in Paris, taking on more theater roles in Europe.
Fisher transitioned to Hollywood roles in 2002, when she played Shaggy’s love interest in the live-action version of Scooby-Doo. Her breakthrough would come later with her role in Wedding Crashers. She has been married to English comedian and actor Sacha Baron Cohen since 2010, after meeting him in 2001 at a Sydney party. They have three children together.
3 Naomi Watts Was Julie Gibson In ‘Home And Away’
Naomi Watts played Julie Gibson on Home and Away in 1991, a character who was left in a wheelchair after a car accident left her paralyzed.
After Watts’ six-week stint in Home and Away, she moved to the U.S. where she struggled for many years. Her breakout role was in Mulholland Drive in 2001. Since then, she has appeared in blockbusters like King Kong and has been twice nominated for roles in 21 Grams and The Impossible.
2 Melissa George Played Angel Brooks In ‘Home And Away’
Melissa George’s first-ever acting job was playing Angel Brooks, one-half of one of the ’90s most popular TV couples in Australia. Her role as a wheelchair-bound teenage runaway melted hearts, especially as she struggled to her feet to walk down the aisle and marry Shane (played by the later Dieter Brummer)
When her character left the soap to move to England, George left in real life for Hollywood. She has appeared in many popular TV shows including Alias, The Good Wife, and Grey’s Anatomy.
1 Heath Ledger Had A Guest Starring Role In ‘Home And Away’
The late Heath Ledger had a guest-starring role as bad boy Scott Irwin on Home and Away in 1997. This was the same year he starred in his first movie, Black Rock. Ledger went on to act in many high profile roles, both in his native Australia and in Hollywood, including Brokeback Mountain, Candy and I’m Not There.
In 2008 Ledger tragically died at the age of 28. He was awarded a posthumous Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as The Joker in The Dark Knight.
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About The Author
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Amelia Harvey is a freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer. She is a Rotten Tomatoes approved critic who also writes for Frame Rated, The People’s Movies and Screen Queens, amongst others. When not writing about culture, you find her at rock music gigs and traveling to cities around the world.
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