Home & Away: The stars that made it big | Virgin Media
Home & Away: The stars that made it big

Home & Away: The stars that made it big



The Aussie soap opera likes of Home & Away and Neighbours were the cornerstones of most of our childhoods, and during the glory years of the 80s and 90s, you’d be surprised at just how many famous faces graced the small screen Down Under in all their big-haired, dungaree-clad glory.

As hotly-anticipated new US drama The Slap starts on Thursday 12th May at 10pm on Lifetime kicks off this month, starring H&A’s very own Melissa George opposite the likes of Uma Thurman, no less, we take a look at some of the stars who graduated from Summer Bay to the red carpet. 

Melissa George

Home and Away: Melissa George

Played:  Angel Parrish; spirited teen runaway with a penchant for braided pigtails; taken in by Donald ‘Flathead’ Fisher, who – like 95% of Summer Bay adults – was a licensed foster parent, and widowed by bad boy Shane, who died from septicaemia on their wedding anniversary. Yes, really.

Career High: As well as playing the “hot nanny” in Friends, who – much to Joey’s frustration (and delight) – turns out to be lesbian, Melissa bagged herself a Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe nomination for her role in edgy US drama, In Treatment.  She has also had successful turns in Grey’s Anatomy, The Good Wife and currently, Heartbeat (no, not that Heartbeat). Her role as Rosie, mother of the titular slapped child, in The Slap, looks set to make further waves Stateside.

Career Low: The less said about The Amityville Horror remake of 2005, the better. Even a shirtless Ryan Reynolds couldn’t save it. 


Dannii Minogue

Home and Away - Dannii Minogue

Played: Spunky punk Emma Jackson, who – with her black lippy, witchy locks and fondness for slamming doors - frightened everyone in sunny Summer Bay.

Career High: Though her pop career never matched her big sister, Kylie’s, Dannii enjoyed huge success when she switched to dance music in the late 90s, a move which saw her become the best-selling artist on the UK Dance Chart ever. A turn as a judge and mentor on The X Factor didn’t hurt her profile either.

Career Low: The rumoured sex scandal with Simon Cowell – and the subsequent grubby details that emerged – is no doubt, better best forgotten. It even made Sharon Osbourne’s “stomach churn” (her words). This from a woman whose husband snorts ants.


Chris Hemsworth

Home and Away: Chris Hemsworth

Played: Kim Hyde – lifeguard. He even had girls feigning drowning so he could save them. We can’t say we blame them.

Career High: Who better to play the God of Thunder than he of heavenly bod himself? Chris Hemsworth’s turn as Thor in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe has made him a bonafide Hollywood heavyweight, not to mention the Sexiest Man Alive 2014 according to People Magazine.

Career Low: 2012’s Red Dawn remake was not well-received. Nor was the necessary shaving of Chris Hemsworth’s “Point Break” locks for the role. No, no, no. 


Heath Ledger

Home and Away: Heath Ledger

Played: Resident bad boy Scott Irwin, who in a very short stint on the show managed to score a night with Sally Fletcher in the back of a van before getting suspended from school for stealing Flathead’s records.

Career High: Such promise; it’s hard to choose, but his heart-breaking turn in Brokeback Mountain is standout, as is his career-defining, intensely dark and twisted performance of The Joker in The Dark Knight Rises; a role that earned him a posthumous Oscar.

Career Low: For us, the fact that he was taken too soon. Tragically, Heath passed away in 2008, aged just 28. 


Simon Baker

Home and Away: Simon Baker

Played: School teacher James Healy for a few short weeks, possibly most fondly remembered for running along the beach in teeny-tiny shorts. Most unbecoming to a school teacher.

Career High: Simon has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, you know! He wowed viewers as Patrick Jane, former psychic and police consultant, in hit US crime drama The Mentalist for seven seasons.

Career Low: He teamed up with fellow Home & Away graduate Naomi Watts for The Ring 2, a nonsensical sequel to the far superior original which, much like the infamous videotape, should remain unseen.


Christopher Egan

Home and Away: Christopher Egan

Played: Will Smith (yes, really)’s younger brother, Nick, a troubled child who eventually leaves the Bay for LA. In a case of art imitating life, non?

Career High: Chris’s Hollywood career looked promising when the young Aussie bagged roles in big movies such as Eragon and the Resident Evil franchise practically upon stepping off the plane. After a romantic role opposite Amanda Seyfried in 2010’s Letters to Juliet, Chris bagged the lead role in Dominion, an apocalyptic supernatural series loosely based on the movie, Legion.

Career Low: Dominion was cancelled after just two seasons, and Christopher’s been strangely quiet since. That’s gotta sting. 


Matt Doran

Home and Away: Matt Doran

Played: Nerdy schoolboy-turned-priest Damian Roberts

Career High: Who wasn’t shocked and quietly impressed when “Damian” rocked up aboard The Nebuchadnezzar as “The Little One” Mouse in sci-fi classic, The Matrix. He got to wear leather and shoot the shiz out of twin machine guns, you know! Then he played the questionably named Elan Sleazebaggano for about four seconds of Star Wars: Episode II – Attack Of The Clones.

Career Low: Everything since, really. 


Isla Fisher

Home and Away: Isla Fisher

Played: Flamed-haired lovely, Shannon Reed, who had a fling with her adopted brother, Curtis, before anorexia and lesbianism followed.

Career High:  Isla’s made a name for herself in Hollywood with loveable roles in many a rom-com, including a scene-stealing turn as a nutty nympho opposite Vince Vaughan in Wedding Crashers. She’s also Mrs Borat, you know? The starlet wed comedian Sacha Baron Cohen in 2010 and the couple have three children.

Career Low: Breaking into Hollywood isn’t easy when you’re just a lowly Aussie soapie; Isla confessed: “"After Wedding Crashers, I had 12 months where I was auditioning three times a day and I didn't get a single job. That was a real low point.”


Naomi Watts

Home and Away: Naomi Watts

Played: Perpetually-unlucky wheelchair-bound Julie Gibson for a very short time. In just one month, she had love thwarted by her overbearing brother, lost her father to a heart attack and left Summer Bay to study at university.

Career High: Now one of Hollywood’s leading actresses, Naomi first garnered attention for the brilliant David Lynch film-noir-fest Mulholland Drive, before turns in 21 Grams and The Impossible saw her rack up two Best Actress Oscar nominations.

Career Low: We’ve said it before. We’ll say it again. The Ring Two. ‘Nuff said. 


Ryan Kwanten

Home and Away: Ryan Kwanten

Played: Rich kid and supposed ladies’ man-turned- stripper and fraudster, Vincent “Vinnie” Patterson.

Career High: Scoring the part of Jason Stackhouse, the dim-witted, hormone-fuelled brother of Sookie in award-winning sexy Vampire series True Blood – the role he was born to play. One character once said of him: "God gave that boy a penis and a brain, and only enough blood to run one of 'em." Indeed.

Career Low: Sadly, it’s all gone a bit quiet for Ryan since True Blood ended in 2014. We hope to see more of him on the big or small screen again soon.

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