Jack Thompson (actor)

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Jack Thompson
Jack Thompson speaks at the media.jpg
Jack Thompson in 2014
Born John Hadley Pain
(1940-08-31) 31 August 1940 (age 78)
Sydney, Australia
Occupation Actor
Years active 1968–present
Agent DPN
Spouse(s) Leona King
Children 2
Awards Inductee into the Australian Film Walk of Fame 2011
Chauvel Award 2006
Inside Film Living Legend Award 2005
Film Critics Circle of Australia Award For Contribution to Australian Cinema 1998
Logie Hall of Fame 1995
Raymond Longford Award 1994
Australian Film Institute Award Best Actor "Breaker Morant" 1980
Cannes Award Best Supporting Actor Breaker Morant 1980
Hoyts Prize for Best Performance Sunday Too Far Away 1975

Jack Thompson, AM (born 31 August 1940) is an Australian actor and one of the major figures of Australian cinema. He was educated at University of Queensland, before embarking on his acting career. In 2002, he was made an honorary member of the Australian Cinematographers Society (ACS). He is best known as a lead actor in several acclaimed Australian films, including such classics as The Club (1980), Sunday Too Far Away (1975), The Man from Snowy River (1982) and Breaker Morant (1980). He won Cannes and AFI acting awards for the latter film. He was the recipient of a Living Legend Award at the 2005 Inside Film Awards.

Early life[edit]

Born John Hadley Pain in Manly, a suburb of Sydney, Thompson was 4 years old when his mother died, leaving his father, a merchant seaman, unable to care for him and his brother, David.[1] He was then sent to an orphanage by his aunt and was subsequently adopted by John and Pat Thompson and changed his surname.[2] The film reviewer Peter Thompson is his adopted brother.[3] Thompson was educated at Sydney Boys High School.[4] He left school at 14, and became a jackaroo in the Northern Territory, as well as taking labouring jobs in New South Wales.[4]

Career[edit]

Theatre[edit]

After working in an agricultural lab, Thompson joined the army in 1960 so that he could earn a science degree. He enrolled at the University of Queensland in 1963 and transferred to an arts degree,[5][6] performing in theatre at night, including the Twelfth Night Theatre and UQ Dramatic Society[7] in Brisbane.

He appeared on stage in The Devils in 1968.[8]

Early television appearances[edit]

Thompson decided to take acting seriously, giving himself twelve months to make a go of it.[9] His TV career began with the soap opera Motel (1968), and guest appearances on Riptide, Woobinda, Animal Doctor, Skippy, The Rovers, Division 4, Homicide and Matlock Police. He also appeared in a documentary short Personnel, or People? (1969), directed by Donald Crombie. Thompson made his film debut in That Lady from Peking (1968). He played the lead in a TV movie Silo 15 (shot in 1969, released 1971).

Spyforce[edit]

Thompson took the lead role in spy drama series Spyforce (1971–73), playing the role of Erskine who did missions in World War Two. [10]

Thompson also had a key support role in the film Wake in Fright (1971). He continued to guest star on shows such as Over There, Matlock Police (again), Ryan, Boney and Elephant Boy.

Thompson received excellent reviews for his performance in one of the stories in Libido (1973); his segment was written by David Williamson.

He starred in a TV movie Linehaul (1973), playing a truckie, and guest starred on The Evil Touch and Homicide again; he also appeared in Marijuana: Possession and the Law (1974).[11][12]

Film stardom[edit]

Thompson became an Australian film star playing the title role in Petersen (1974), written by Williamson and directed by Tim Burstall. The film was a success at the box office.[13] He did a TV movie Human Target (1974) then starred in another highly acclaimed Australian film, Sunday Too Far Away (1975) playing a shearer.

Thompson played the title role in Scobie Malone (1975), based on the Jon Cleary novel Helga's Web. It was produced by American Casey Robinson who said "Jack Thompson is a great part of my reason to become involved in this venture. I have no doubt whatsoever that when this film is seen overseas he'll be turned instantly into an international star. There aren't many male actors like him around any more. There's something there that reminds me very much of Bogart."[14] The film was a big flop.

He did an episode of Armchair Theatre shot in Australia, "Tully". [15]

Thompson had a support role in Caddie (1976), directed by Crombie, which was a big success.[16]

Thompson had become nationally famous playing "macho" type roles. "I think it reflects its time so accurately," he said later. "There was a preoccupation with the macho Australian male, it's a thing that had to be examined or purged in film."[9]

Character actor[edit]

Thompson then deliberately decided to take character parts, out of a fear of typecasting and "also an understanding that unless I could get out of that target area, then I wouldn't be allowed to be seen as an actor."[9]

He guest starred in an episode of Luke's Kingdom and played the second lead in Mad Dog Morgan (1976) with Dennis Hopper.He took some time off to work on a script with his brother then had a key support role in The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1978). He supported imported stars Karen Black and Keir Dullea in a TV movie shot in Australia, Because He's My Friend (1978).

Thompson returned to acting after another break to play the lead role in a sex comedy, The Journalist (1979). "I haven't made any films since then because I haven't liked the parts I've been offered, and also I've been too busy promoting the Australian film industry overseas", said Thompson at the time.[17] The film became a notorious flop. He worked on a script with his brother called Welcome Stranger.[9]

He was offered a role in Breaker Morant (1980), directed by Bruce Beresford - the part of Private Hancock. Thompson turned it down, Beresford rewrote the script and offered him the part again, and Thompson accepted. Then filming was delayed. John Hargreaves who was to play the lawyer became unavailable; Thompson took that part and Bryan Brown played Hancock.[9] The film was a considerable success. Thompson won Best Supporting Actor at Cannes.[18]

Thompson supported US stars William Holden and Rick Schroeder in The Earthling (1980) then was top billed in The Club (1980), directed by Berresford from a play by Williamson.[19]

"You get awfully fed up with the public image that you must live up to," he said in an interview around this time. "I just want to continue becoming a part of the Australian film industry, not for materialistic reasons but because I enjoy it. I not only want to act, but produce and possibly direct".[9]

Thompson went to New Zealand to make Bad Blood (1982) playing killer Stanley Graham, then had a support role in The Man from Snowy River (1982), playing Clancy of the Overflow.

International career[edit]

Thompson went overseas to support Ingrid Bergman in A Woman Called Golda (1982). He was Lee Remick's husband in a remake of The Letter (1982) and played a British POW in Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983) with David Bowie and Tom Conti.

Back in Australia Thompsons starred in a mini series about wharfies in the Depression, Waterfront (1983). He went to Europe to star in a swashbuckler for Paul Verhoeven, Flesh + Blood (1985), then returned to Australia to star in Burke and Wills (1985). This film was a box office disappointment.

Thompson supported Linda Evans and Jason Robards in a TV mini series The Last Frontier (1986) which was a huge ratings success. In the US he had a role in Kojak: The Price of Justice (1987) then returned home to play an ASIO officer in Ground Zero (1987).

Thompson was a love interest for Stefanie Powers in Beryl Markham: A Shadow on the Sun (1988) on US TV and had the lead in an Australian TV movie, The Riddle of the Stinson (1989), playing Bernard O'Reilly.

He co-starred with Raquel Welch in Trouble in Paradise (1989) for US TV then did a mini series in New Zealand, The Rainbow Warrior Conspiracy (1989).

He did a US TV movie After the Shock (1990) and had a support part in Turtle Beach (1992) and Wind (1992).

Character actor[edit]

Thompson began to increasingly work as a character actor in the US with roles in Ruby Cairo (1993), directed by Graeme Clifford, and A Far Off Place (1994).

He returned to Australia to play Russell Crowe's father in The Sum of Us (1994) then did A Woman of Independent Means (1995) in the US and Flight of the Albatross (1995) in New Zealand.

He had a support role in Broken Arrow (1996), did The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years (1996) back home and Last Dance (1996) for Beresford in the US.

Thompson starred in the Australian TV movie McLeod's Daughters (1996). He was Alicia Silverstone's father in Excess Baggage (1997), then did Under the Lighthouse Dancing (1997) in Australia. For Clint Eastwood he appeared in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997).

Back in Australia Thompson provided a voice for The Magic Pudding (2000) and appeared in Yolngu Boy (2001). He had a support part in the new version of South Pacific (2001), the mini series based on My Brother Jack (2001), Original Sin (2001), Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002), The Assassination of Richard Nixon (2004), and Oyster Farmer (2005).

Thompson had a key role in two films directed by Brett Leonard: Man-Thing (2005) and Feed (2006), the latter written by and starring his son.

Thompson had support roles in The Good German (2006), Bastard Boys (2007), December Boys (2007), Leatherheads (2008), Ten Empty (2008), Australia (2008), Mao's Last Dancer (2009) for Beresford, The Karenskys (2009), Don't Be Afraid of the Dark (2010), Rake (2010), Blinder (2013), The Great Gatsby (2013), Mystery Road (2013), Around the Block (2013), Bonnie & Clyde (2013) for Beresford, Devil's Playground (2014), Ruben Guthrie (2015), The Light Between Oceans (2016), Don't Tell (2017), Blue World Order (2017) and Swinging Safari (2018).

He has also acted in television miniseries and appeared as the host of the Channel 7 factual series Find My Family.

Other appearances[edit]

Thompson was the first nude male centrefold in Cleo in 1972.[20] He has also appeared in television commercials, including as the face of the Bank of Melbourne for a decade,[21] and for Claytons. Thompson is featured in a series of recordings of Australian poetry, reciting poems by Henry Lawson, Banjo Paterson, C. J. Dennis, Patrick Joseph Hartigan (aka John O'Brien) and John O'Grady. (see Discography below).[22] Interviewed in the Sydney Morning Herald he explains his love of poetry, noting that 'Poetry is sometimes seen as too arty and perhaps not a suitable interest for blokes.'[23]

Personal life[edit]

Thompson married Beverley Hackett in 1963 and the five-year marriage produced his son Patrick Thompson. He then entered into a 15-year polyamorous relationship in the 1970s and 1980s with both Leona King and her sister Bunkie. He stayed with Leona following the birth of his second son, Billy.[24]

Thompson featured in the first episode of the Australian version of Who Do You Think You Are?, which was televised on 13 January 2008 on SBS, with Thompson discovering that his great-grandfather was Captain Thomas Pain, and his great-great uncle was Alfred Lee, a prominent figure in Sydney society, who donated the journal of Joseph Banks, from Captain Cook's navigation to Australia in the 1770s, to the Mitchell Library in Sydney.[25] Thompson used to own Hotel Gearin in Katoomba, Blue Mountains. He sold the hotel in June 2011.[26]

Filmography[edit]

Film
Year Title Role Notes
1969 Personnel, or People?
1971 Wake in Fright Dick
1973 Libido Ken Segment: "The Family Man"
1974 Marijuana: Possession and the Law
1974 'Jock' Petersen Tony Petersen
1975 Sunday Too Far Away Foley
1975 Scobie Malone Scobie Malone
1975 That Lady from Peking Flunky
1976 Caddie Ted
1976 Mad Dog Morgan Detective Manwaring
1976 Jeremy and Teapot Narrator Short film
1978 The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith Reverend Neville
1979 The Journalist Simon Morris
1980 Breaker Morant Major J.F. Thomas
1980 The Earthling Ross Daley
1980 The Club Laurie Holden
1982 The Man from Snowy River Clancy
1982 Bad Blood Stan Graham
1983 It's a Living Passenger
1983 Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence Group Capt. Hicksley
1985 Flesh and Blood Hawkwood
1985 Burke & Wills Robert O'Hara Burke
1986 Short Circuit Party Guest
1987 Ground Zero Trebilcock
1992 Turtle Beach Ralph
1992 Wind Jack Neville
1993 A Far Off Place John Ricketts
1993 Ruby Cairo Ed
1994 The Sum of Us Harry Mitchell
1994 Resistance Mr. Wilson
1995 Der Flug des Albatros Mike
1996 Broken Arrow Chairman, Joint Chief of Staff
1996 Last Dance The Governor
1997 Excess Baggage Alexander
1997 Under the Lighthouse Dancing Harry
1997 Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil Sonny Seiler
1999 Feeling Sexy Magazine Vendor (uncredited)
2000 The Magic Pudding Buncle (voice)
2001 Yolngu Boy Policeman
2001 Original Sin Alan Jordan
2002 Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones Cliegg Lars
2004 The Assassination of Richard Nixon Jack Jones
2004 Oyster Farmer Skippy
2005 Man-Thing Frederic Schist
2005 Feed Richard
2006 Tryst Cosmos Storyteller Short film
2006 The Good German Congressman Breimer
2007 The Manual Professor Grey Short film
2007 December Boys Bandy
2008 Ten Empty Bobby Thompson
2008 Leatherheads Harvey
2008 Australia Kipling Flynn
2009 Mao's Last Dancer Judge Woodrow Seals
2010 Don't Be Afraid of the Dark Harris
2011 Oakie's Outback Adventures Orpheus
2011 The Telegram Man Bill Williams Short film
2011 The Forgotten Men Publican Short film
2013 Around the Block Mr. O'Donnell
2013 Mystery Road Charley Murray
2013 Blinder Coach Chang
2013 The Great Gatsby Nick Carraway's Doctor, Walter Perkins
2016 Blue World Order Harris
2016 The Light Between Oceans Ralph Addicott
2017 Don't Tell Bob Myers
2018 Swinging Safari Mayor
Television
Year Title Role Notes
1968 Motel Bill Burke Episode: "1.132"
Episode: "1.134"
1969 Riptide Wally
Ted
Episode: "Hagan's Kingdom"
Episode: "Flight of the Curlew"
1970 Woobinda, Animal Doctor Lenny Episode: "Lenny"
1970 Skippy Stefan Imard Episode: "High Fashion"
1970 The Rovers Kenneth Baker
Bill
Episode: "Wright's Peak"
Episode: "A Place of My Own"
1970 Homicide Jack Skinner
Kevin Ford
Episode: "The Doll"
Episode: "All Correct"
1970 Division 4 Charlie Penn Episode: "A Trip to the City"
1971-1973 Spyforce Erskine 42 episodes
1972 Over There Corporal Harry Logan Episode: "The Lord Sends the Food and the Devil Sends the Cook"
1972 Behind the Legend Charles Kingsford-Smith (1972) TV series
1972 Matlock Police Ron Cook Episode: "Cook's Endeavor"
1973 Matlock Police Robbo Episode: "Squaring Off"
1973 Linehaul Dave Morgan TV movie
1973 Boney Jack
Red Kelly
Episode: "Boney and the Strangler"
Episode: "Boney and the Kelly Gang"
1973 Ryan John Mitchell
Brian Duncan
Episode: "But When She Was Bad"
Episode: "Where Thunder Sleeps"
1973 Elephant Boy Chuck Ryder Episode: "Conservation Man"
1973 Homicide Ray Enright Episode: "Mother Superior"
1973 The Evil Touch Hammer
Evan
Episode "George"
Episode: "Scared to Death"
1974 The Evil Touch Stockman Episode: "Kadaitcha Country"
1974 Human Target Anderson TV movie
1974 Homicide Det. Sgt Jack Beck Episode: "Time and Tide"
1975 Armchair Cinema Vic Parkes Episode: "Tully"
1978 Because He's My Friend Geoff TV movie
1982 A Shifting Dreaming TV movie
1982 A Woman Called Golda Ariel TV movie
1982 The Letter Robert Crosbie TV movie
1984 Waterfront Maxey Woodbury TV miniseries
1986 The Last Frontier Nick Stenning TV movie
1987 The Riddle of the Stinson Bernard O'Reilly TV movie
1987 Kojak: The Price of Justice Aubrey Dubose TV movie
1988 Beryl Markham: A Shadow on the Sun Tom Campbell Black TV movie
1989 The Rainbow Warrior Conspiracy Irvine TV movie
1989 Trouble in Paradise Jake TV movie
1990 After the Shock Fireman TV movie
1994 The Dwelling Place Richard TV miniseries
1994 Girl Victor Martin TV movie
1995 A Woman of Independent Means Sam Garner TV miniseries
1996 The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years The Judge TV movie
1996 McLeod's Daughters Jack McLeod TV movie
2001 My Brother Jack Bernard Brewster TV movie
2001 South Pacific Capt. George Brackett TV movie
2007 Bastard Boys Tony Tully TV movie
2009 The Karenskys Max Karensky TV movie
2012 Rake Mr Justice Beesdon Episode: "R vs. Fenton"
2013 Camp Jack Jessup Episode: "Harvest Moon"
2014 Devil's Playground Cardinal Constantine Neville TV miniseries

Awards[edit]

Thompson's plaque at the Australian Film Walk of Fame, the Ritz Cinema, Randwick, Sydney

Thompson also served as an UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador.

Discography[edit]

  • Jack Thompson: The Bush Poems of A.B. (Banjo) Paterson (Audio recording)|The Bush Poems of A.B. (Banjo) Paterson (2008)
  • Jack Thompson: The Campfire Yarns of Henry Lawson (2009)
  • Jack Thompson: The Sentimental Bloke, The Poems of C.J. Dennis (2009)
  • Jack Thompson: The Battlefield Poems of A.B (Banjo) Paterson (2010)
  • Jack Thompson: Favourite Australian Poems (2010)
  • Jack Thompson: The Poems of Henry Lawson (2011)[29]
  • Jack Thompson: Live at the Gearin Hotel (DVD & CD) (2011)
  • Jack Thompson: The Poems of Lewis Carroll (2011)
  • Jack Thompson: Live at the Lighthouse CD (2011)

References[edit]

  1. ^ NSW Death record[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "Jack Thompson interview on Enough Rope, 30 May 2005". Enough Rope transcript. Retrieved 2008-01-13. 
  3. ^ George Negus (22 October 2003). "Jack & Peter Thompson Interview". ABC Television. Retrieved 2011-08-15. 
  4. ^ a b "Jack's back". The Sydney Morning Herald. 22 June 2005. 
  5. ^ "Jack's back - Film - Entertainment - smh.com.au". www.smh.com.au. Retrieved 2017-06-15. 
  6. ^ Williams, Sally (October 11, 1983). [espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:252110/SF_1983_Edition12.pdf "No more mister nice guy?"] Check |url= value (help) (PDF). Semper. No 12: t – via UQ eSpace. 
  7. ^ The University of Queensland Library, Fryer Library (2012). "UQFL135 University of Queensland Dramatic Society Collection" (PDF). 
  8. ^ "AUSTRALIAN UNIVERSITIES DRAMA FESTIVAL". Tharunka. 14, (14). New South Wales, Australia. 17 September 1968. p. 13. Retrieved 3 September 2018 – via National Library of Australia. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f "JACK THOMPSON Reluctant Star". Tharunka. 26, (25). New South Wales, Australia. 14 October 1980. p. 9. Retrieved 3 September 2018 – via National Library of Australia. 
  10. ^ "AUSTRALIA'S OWN SPY SERIES". The Australian Women's Weekly. 39, (11). Australia, Australia. 11 August 1971. p. 12. Retrieved 3 September 2018 – via National Library of Australia. 
  11. ^ "IT'S AUGUST, SO THIS MUST BE AUSTRALIA". The Australian Women's Weekly. 40, (12). Australia, Australia. 23 August 1972. p. 10. Retrieved 3 September 2018 – via National Library of Australia. 
  12. ^ "Big local series planned for later this year". The Australian Women's Weekly. 40, (49). Australia, Australia. 9 May 1973. p. 10. Retrieved 3 September 2018 – via National Library of Australia. 
  13. ^ "'More scope' for film actor in Australia". The Canberra Times. 49, (13,897). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 28 October 1974. p. 6. Retrieved 3 September 2018 – via National Library of Australia. 
  14. ^ Johnson, M. 'Casey now at bat down under' Los Angeles Times 20 July 1975 pp. T33-t33]
  15. ^ "'THE SEXIEST MAN SINCE CLARK GABLE'". The Australian Women's Weekly. 42, (44). Australia, Australia. 2 April 1975. p. 23. Retrieved 3 September 2018 – via National Library of Australia. 
  16. ^ "COMPACT". The Australian Women's Weekly. 43, (45). Australia, Australia. 7 April 1976. p. 29. Retrieved 3 September 2018 – via National Library of Australia. 
  17. ^ "LIFE STYLE". The Canberra Times. 53, (15,828). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 23 January 1979. p. 13. Retrieved 3 September 2018 – via National Library of Australia. 
  18. ^ "Thompson wins at Cannes". The Canberra Times. 54, (16,312). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 24 May 1980. p. 1. Retrieved 3 September 2018 – via National Library of Australia. 
  19. ^ "Aussie rule team helps actors train for 'The Club'". The Canberra Times. 54, (16,222). Australian Capital Territory, Australia. 24 February 1980. p. 17. Retrieved 3 September 2018 – via National Library of Australia. 
  20. ^ "Jack Thompson reveals all about nuding up". Retrieved 2017-06-15. 
  21. ^ Mark Russell (30 January 2004). "Bank of Melbourne to lose its identity". The Age. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  22. ^ National Library of Australia collection: Jack Thompson. Retrieved 2011-05-30.
  23. ^ [1] The Bard of the Bush - Sydney Morning Herald, 30 November 2008. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
  24. ^ Tim Elliot (22 June 2005). "Jack's Back". The Sun-Herald. Retrieved 2011-08-15. 
  25. ^ "Episode featuring Jack Thompson". Who Do You Think You Are?. SBS. Archived from the original on 17 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-13. 
  26. ^ "Jack Thompson's letters of regret to staff after hotel sale". The Daily Telegraph. 18 August 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-07. 
  27. ^ "Mr John Hadley (Jack) THOMPSON". Australian Honours List. Commonwealth of Australia. Archived from the original on 18 March 2007. Retrieved 2006-03-26. 
  28. ^ "Australian Film Festival Kicks Off". FilmInk. Archived from the original on 5 March 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2011. 
  29. ^ "The Campfire Yarns of Henry Lawson - Fine Poets". Finepoets.com. Retrieved 2016-12-21. 

External links[edit]

(Australian theatre performances at Ausstage