"Dean's Aussie Saga"

Michelle Lollo

Woman's Day, May 9, 1994


Chomping on the end of a large cigar, and elegantly dressed in top hat and tails, Hollywood actor Dean Stockwell looks a little out of place walking along a dirt track in Victoria's picturesque Great Dividing Range.


The rugged Australian bush is a long way from the Hollywood hills, but the 58-year-old America actor feels right at home in his new role in Australia's grand romantic western, Banjo Peterson's The Man From Snowy River.


Dean slides into his role as the blind piano tuner, Professor Julius Waugh, with ease, which is little wonder when you consider his previous roles.


He has played a mincing homosexual drug dealer in David Lynch's Blue Velvet, the evil Dr Yueh in Dune, and an eccentric former astronaut who appeared as a holographic image in the television series Quantum Leap.  He was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of the lecherous Mafia don, Tony "The Tiger" Russo, opposite Michelle Pfeiffer in the hit comedy Married to the Mob.


During a break in filming, Dean says, "The Julius Waugh role is a good one and I had some time in my schedule so I thought, why not?  I was flattered to be asked, because the legend obviously means a lot to Australians."


Shot in the stunning Victoria high country, the 13-hour mini-series follows the successful release of the first series, The Man From Snowy River, watched by 55 million American families on a cable network last year.


The first series, set 25 years on from Matt McGregor's famous horse ride, will be released on the Nine Network later this year.


Dean's colleagues include Olivia Newton-John, Australian actor Wendy Hughes, who's now based in the States, Andrew Clarke, and Jane Badler, an American now living here, so he doesn't feel like a token American in a major Australian production.


"I don't feel like the odd one out, I'm having a really enjoyable time with these guys and I'm getting to work with all the pretty girls," Dean chuckles.


The visit to Australia may be only his second in almost a decade, but Dean hasn't wasted a moment during his short stay.  Between scenes he spends his spare time brushing up on his latest love, golf, on any flat piece of land he can find.


"I only took up golf six months ago and I love it.  So any chance I get I like to practise a bit.  And what a beautiful spot to play in!"


The End