Paul Hogan – Australia’s one-man tourist industry
If you watched TV in the 1970s or movies in the 1980s or 90s, you’ll be well aware of Paul Hogan. The man of a thousand soundbites from I’ll throw an extra shrimp on the barbie for you to That’s not a knife almost became the personification of Australia in the last quarter of the 20th century.
It earned Paul plenty of wealth, but not as much happiness as you might think. Now in his 80s, the actor is an exile who just wants to go home to Australia but knows that’s not likely to happen. Let’s find out more about his story.
Early years and finding fame through humor
Born in Sydney, Paul’s childhood years were spent in post-war austerity. He tried a few manual trades, including working as a rigger on Sydney Harbour Bridge as a teenager, but none of them stuck. He dreamed of a career in showbiz and got his big chance in 1971 with an audition on talent show New Faces.
Back in the day, the show was more a vehicle for the judges, who unmercifully mocked the contestants, more interested in scoring points for themselves. Paul saw this coming. His “dancing and juggling” routine was a smokescreen, and he spent most of his slot lampooning the judges. The crowd loved him, and his career as a stand-up comic was assured. Within two years, he had his own TV show, The Paul Hogan Show.
International fame and a Hollywood romance
With his twinkling eye and his sardonic humor, Paul Hogan was much in demand as a brand ambassador. His most famous such role was in a series of commercials for Australian tourism. His ads, including the famous “shrimp on the barbie” one were broadcast around the world and had a huge impact on Australian tourism. For example, in the US, Australia rose from 76th to seventh in the most popular vacation destinations list.
Even greater fame was to follow. In 1986, Crocodile Dundee hit the silver screen and Paul Hogan was suddenly one of the biggest names on the planet. The movie spawned an equally successful sequel the following year and Paul was in heavy demand. He was first choice for the lead role in Ghost, but turned it down to make Almost an Angel instead.
In 1988, he ended his 30-year marriage to Noelene Edwards so that he could marry Crocodile Dundee co-star Linda Kozlowski. As the new millennium dawned, Paul continued to appear in movies, but nothing that approached the popularity of his 1980s heyday. 2001’s Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles saw him reprise the Mick Dundee role, alongside his new wife. The movie attracted poor reviews and felt like a poor imitation of the first two. Also, it was harder for Paul to slip naturally into the role in his early 60s than it had been in his late 40s.
An Australian casino retrospective
In 2013, Paul and Linda separated. Now in his mid-70s, Hoges, as he is popularly known Down Under, returned to where it all began. Just him, a microphone and a room full of people. Australians love their casinos, and this was where he headed, filling out event rooms alongside casino floors full of pokies and roulette wheels. These days, Australians often choose online casinos. That’s fine, there are good reasons to gamble online and you can see all casino reviews here. However, great though the choice of pokies might be, you’re only going to bump into the likes of Paul Hogan at a real casino.
During an electric evening at Jupiter’s on the Gold Coast, punters left the pokies to listen, spellbound. Some noticed a familiar face in the front row. Paul’s ex-wife Noelene was right where she had been more than 40 years earlier, giving support and laughing louder than ever. Paul chatted in his time-honored no-nonsense way about his 50 years in showbiz, sharing various video clips in a two hour show that simply raced by.
Retirement in exile in the US
Now 84, Paul Hogan is mostly retired, but he is the first to admit he is not where he wants to be. His first wife, their five children and 10 grandchildren are all in Sydney, and it is the place that feels like home.
But Paul’s priority is youngest son Chance, the only child of his second marriage. He says: “I’d be happier if I was back in Sydney permanently. But Chance is an American kid. He has all his friends, his bands, girlfriends, hobbies, everything. He was raised here. My other children are nearer 60 than 20 and so I cling to my last child a little bit.”