Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Simon Burke

I think Simon Burke might be another Play School presenter. I say that because I may have seen his name yesterday when I was looking at Play School stuff.

Lord Wiki's entry on Burke is kind of weird. He pretty much just lists what Burke has been in. There is also a birthday listed though. Baby Simon was born on 8 October 1961. So he recently turned forty-eight.

I'm going to leave the TV and Film stuff for IMDb. But Lord Wiki also lists the theater stuff that Burke has been in. I'll take a look at that. I'm going to list only the plays I'm familar with.

In the late 1980's, he played Marius in Les Miserables.

 In 1992, he played Raoul in The Phantom of the Opera

In 2008, he played Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music.

The Sound of Music production was in London.

All right. I'm going to hop over to IMDb. Both IMDb and Lord Wiki want me to know that Burke was the best man at Anthony Warlow's wedding. This must be important for some reason. I don't even know who Warlow is. Well, Lord Wiki says he's a theater guy too. Warlow looks interesting. I'll add him to my list.

It looks like Burke's first screen role was The Devil's Playground. That sounds familar to me. I wonder if I've encountered it before. Or maybe I'm thinking of The Devil's Arithmetic.

Burke did The Devil's Playground in 1976. He would have been about fifteen then. Okay. I HAVE encountered this movie before. You know who was in it? Thomas Kenneally!

Well, this is impressive. Burke won an AFI award for the movie. Wow. He was a young winner.

The movie is basically about sexuality and religion. I bet it's interesting. The movie also won the best film, director, and screenplay award.

Here's something from the movie. I'm not sure if its a trailer, or just some scenes.

And here's a sermon about from the movie. Oh! According to the YouTube person who put the video up, that's Kenneally doing the sermon. The scene shows one of the most negative aspects of organized religion...using fear to control people.

In 1976, Burke was in The Sullivans...that show which starred Lorraine Bayly. Burke didn't play one of the actual Sullivans. He was Peter Robinson. Maybe on the set, he had conversations with Bayly which encouraged him to one day do Play School.

In the late 1970's, Burke did a soap opera called The Restless Years. The show focused on young adult characters, and it's viewers were pretty young too.

In 1978, Burke did a movie called The Irishman. Burke portrayed a member of the Doolan family.

In 1981, Burke did a TV movie called A Hard God. I was about to say it's probably a homosexual story, but maybe not. IMDb says the plot is A 16 year old falls in love with his best mate in this drama set in a working class Irish Family in 1940's Australia. His best mate could be a girl, but I think the whole mate thing is usually between men.

Well, the movie is based on a play by Peter Kenna. This website has an article about the play. I'll see if it's gay or not.

Okay. It is a gay thing. It's also about religion. That's a perfect mix in my opinion....very thought-provoking. Sex and religion. I guess it might have some things in common with The Devil's Playground.

In 1982, we have another film involving sexuality. This one was a comedy about a venereal disease clinic. The Clinic. Fun. I wonder if religion plays a part in this film as well. I'm sensing a pattern here.

In 1983, Burke did a TV show called Kings. It looks like a soap opera, but I can't find much information about it.

Also in 1983, he was in a miniseries called Scales of Justice. It's about corruption in politics. A YouTube user named i-spy says:

The Australian public up to this time had never seen anything like "Scales of Justice", because it detailed the everyday corruption of public officials, from the lowly Police Constable on the beat through to the highest corridors of power in the Parliament of the Government. The average television viewer up to this time may have thought they had some vague idea of what the word "corruption" meant, but when this series hit television screens people were "shocked out of their socks"

There's corruption almost everywhere. It's a bit depressing. I don't think there's many people out there that you can truly trust.

In 1986, Burke lent his voice to an animation project. This was Ivanhoe.

In 1987, he did Melba with Hugo Weaving. The character he played was John McCormack. Lord Wiki says McCormack was an Irish tenor who toured Australia in 1911.

Also in 1987, Burke did a movie called Slate, Wyn and Me. Burke played Wyn. It was a crime type thing. That's about all I know.

In 1988, Burke started on Play School. I'm not sure how long he was on the show. IMDb isn't very clear about that. They say 1988-20??. It's like a mystery!

Also that year, Burke was in a movie called Always Afternoon. This was about Australians with German ancestry being put into camps during World War I.

This website has some information about the subject. They say that 6,890 Germans were interned. Out of these six thousand, 4500 had been residents of Australia before 1914. There was a strong anti-German sentiment during those years. It's interesting. When Australia rejected the masses of Jews coming to Australia after World War II, was it because they were Jewish, or because they were German? Maybe it was a little bit of both.

In 1991, Burke did that miniseries with Naomi Watts. Brides of Christ. I think this is the third project that Burke has been in that involved Catholicism.

Also that year, Burke did a TV movie called Heroes II: The Return. Obviously, it was a sequel. But Burke wasn't in the first one.

The movie is about a World War II thing called Operation Rimau. Australian and British troops tried to blow up Japanese ships in Singapore.

In 1996, Burke did a British TV movie filmed in South Africa. The One that Got Away. It was directed by Paul Greengrass, the guy who directed The Bourne Supremacy and it's sequel.

The movie involves Iraq and Saddam Hussein stuff.

Burke next did a few guest star stuff on some TV shows. I'm going to be lazy and skip over that.

In 1999, he was in a movie about Percy Grainger! I'd love to see that. Burke didn't play Grainger. He played Herman Sandby. Who is Herman Sandby?

Well, I did a little googling. It looks like he's a cellist. This website has a photo of him.

In 2000, Burke was in a movie that I've actually seen. Pitch Black. It was an American movie filmed in Australia.

I don't remember very much about the movie, except that it was my first introduction to Vin Diesel. Didn't he play an ex-convict or something?

IMDb is helping to jog my memory. It's about people in space. Oh! People crash on a planet. I guess Australia plays the planet.

Lord Wiki says I'm right. Vin Diesel is an escaped convict. But then I think he eventually joins forces with the other guys. Oh! He has had special surgery on his eyes to give him night vision. How cool is that.

I don't think Burke had a very huge role in the film.

Here's the trailer from the movie. It looks fun, but confusing. I bet it was one of those movies where I had to keep asking Tim questions so I could figure out what was going on.

The trivia page for IMDb says it was filmed where Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome was filmed. They also say the desert in which it filmed was cold...about ten degrees. I didn't realize deserts in Australia would get that cold, at least not during the day.

Well, this website talks about a cold front in the Australian outback that occurred this past May. Uluru had temperatures in the low teens. Yikes! That's not something I imagined.

Well, we learn something new everyday.

In 2001, Burke participated in another American movie filmed in Australia. This one was a musical. South Pacific. This movie starred Harry Connick Jr. who would later come back to Australia and be deeply offended.

Here's a scene from the musical. I'm not sure if Burke is in it. It looks good. I've actually never seen South Pacific. I'd probably love it. I like this scene at least.

In 2002, Burke was in a TV movie called Heroes Mountain. Burke portrayed the relative of a guy stuck in a very dire situation. The movie was about people buried under a landslide. I guess it's a true story. Yeah. Lord Wiki says in 1997 there was an event called the Thredbo landslide. It happened at a ski resort. Eighteen people died. One man, Stuart Diver, survived. Like Baby Jessica in America, he was rescued by several brave people. It's horribly sad though. His wife was there, and she drowned next to him. From what I'm reading, people were in the ski lodge when it happened. That's very scary. I guess not all holidays are fun, happy, and relaxing.

I wonder if Burke's character was someone outside the lodge...someone worried about his relative. Or had he been on holiday with Stuart Diver? Maybe Burke's character is one of those who died.

Here's a brief scene from the movie. It's full of suspenseful drama. I feel better knowing that Diver survived. Well, I guess everyone watching the movie knew he survived. It's funny how movies can be suspenseful even when you already know the outcome.

In 2003, Burke was in a TV movie called The Postcard Bandit. It was based on a real bank robber who did his thing in the 1980's and 1990's. He sent photos of his travels to the police. Lord Wiki says he's now in custody.

I'm learning so much new stuff today. Bank robbers I've never heard of, horrific ski lodge accidents, imprisoned Germans, chilly outback weather...... All thanks to Simon Burke.

Also, in 2003, Burke did another project with Hugo Weaving. This one was a miniseries called After the Deluge. It's a family drama thing involving Alzheimer's.

Here's a scene from the series. I don't know if Burke is in it. I doubt it. I don't think he's one of the main stars. The movie seems pretty decent though. I like Hugo Weaving.

That's not all for 2003. We also get Burke in Traveling Light. The Fandago website has a synopsis of the film, and from what I can see here, Burke didn't have a big part.

I'm getting the idea that Burke is more of a character actor. He has a small role here and there.

His role MIGHT have been a little bigger in the TV show The Alice. Well, he was in all twenty-two episodes of the show. That must mean something.

Jessica Napier from McLeod's Daughters was on the show!

Back to the Fandago website again.... It sounds like the show had some science fiction elements. Maybe. Well, there's mention of a solar eclipse. I know solar eclipses themselves aren't science FICTION, but I'm guessing there's more to the story than just that.

In 2006, Burke worked with another McLeod's Daughters star....Lisa Chappell. This was in a miniseries I mentioned in a recent post. Small Claims: The Reunion. Rebecca Gibney was in this.

Since then, Burke's TV and film appearances have been limited. He's done some guest appearances on All Saints and Hustle. I'm guessing that he's been busy with theater stuff.

The IMDb trivia page says that Burke is the president of Actors Equity Australia. That seems pretty prestigious.

Here is the official website of Simon Burke.

Burke has an album. Well, obviously he sings. He's been in musicals. Right?

I'm listening to him sing "Edelweiss". Well, he's not Christopher Plummer, but I guess he's all right. No, actually he's not. No one should be Captain Von Trapp except for Christopher Plummer. Someone should make a law about that.

Burke's other songs are okay.

This page of the site says that recently Burke was in Morocco attending a world meeting for The International Federation of Actors. Next he went to Geneva. That's where he was when Obama was elected. Burke went to a party for Obama supporters.

He's finished with playing Von Trapp. I feel kind of guilty for what I said earlier. I'm sure he did a GREAT job as the captain. I just don't think I could accept it. My sister and I talked about Mamma Mia last night. I've seen the movie. She's seen the play. I can't imagine seeing the story without Pierce Bronsan, Meryl Streep, Molly Weasley, etc. My sister said she tried watching the movie after seeing the play, and didn't like it.

My feeling is you get used to one thing or another, and then it's hard to accept anything else. You would think though that growing up with Days of our Lives would have gotten me adjusted to same changes. How many different actors have played Roman Brady? They also switched actors for Bo Brady, Carrie Brady, Jack (forgot his last name) Jennifer (forgot her last name too) Brady Black, Belle Black, etc.

This is sweet. In a little blog-like blurb, he talks about paying close attention to the Australian Federal election....when Kevin Rudd got the big job. He said when he sang "Edelweiss" that night, the lines Bless my homeland forever it had special meaning to him. Aw, that gave me a little lump in my throat. I think I have a thing about Australian patriotism. It makes me a bit emotional.

From what I read in his little blog like thing, Burke sounds like a very nice guy. I don't know. He seems cheerful and friendly. But who knows. He might not even be writing this stuff. I personally feel he is writing it though. That's what my instincts are saying. I'll be embarrassed if I'm wrong. Oh well.

Here's Simon Burke guest starring on a show called Pam Ann. Ah! They show a clip of him on Play School. He's singing a song from Mary Poppins. I think he has a good voice there.

After the clip, Burke appears. And on the set, they have the Jemima doll, and the Humpty Dumpty one too.

Pam Ann asks if Jemima is a lesbian. Burke replies that they're very diverse on Play School. It's good to know that.

Here's an interview with Burke. It's pretty recent. He's doing another show in London. La Cage Aux Follies. Is that the play that The Bird Cage is based off of?

Okay, yeah. Lord Wiki says it is.

The interview says that he's younger than most men who have been in the role. I'm guessing Burke plays one of the gay men. Is he the one with the daughter, or the one without? No, wait. The interview says it's a son...not a daughter. I can't remember. It's been awhile since I've seen the movie.

Well, there's more stuff I could look at. But I have major laundry to catch up with. I have to start getting stuff together for our upcoming trip to Disney World. The weird thing the time I post this, we will be IN Disney World. Or we'll be home already. I won't be doing research days in Disney World....of course. So once I get home, my posts won't be so way behind. There will be a smaller gap between when I write and post. Does that matter? I don't know.


  1. I have enjoyed these last two posts especially but they're all good. Lorraine and Simon are both great and so is Kamahl. I would recommend Brides of Christ, too, as well as the Devil's Playground. The former mainly follows the lives of several friends who become novice nuns against the background of social and political upheaval in Australia mid-century but mainly focused on the personalities in the convent and their choices. One is played by Sigrid Thornton, another great noted Aussie actor. Keneally is actually one of the good guys in the Devil's Playground.

    I was going to write why don't you write about the Mentalist but then I looked it up and it seems I've been confusing him with Simon Baker all these years.

    I have to say I would have preferred Mamma Mia without the singing of Pierce Brosnan.

  2. Actually, now that I think of it he's mainly known for his ongoing character role in A Country Practice, which is an iconic Australian soap as is Restless Years, and for his years on Playschool and I don't know how I can have mixed him up with Simon Baker. Actually I've realised that it's because I always thought the kid in Devil's Playground was supposed to be Baker. Now I know better. It's fascinating how many great actors have been on Playschool for extended periods.

  3. Love it!
    I'd highly recommend 'Slate, Wyn & Me' it's quite a large part for Simon, and an intense (albeit predictable) story, with some quite beautiful moments.
    Avoid 'South Pacific' you should NEVER remake a classic, also it's a musical . . . and Simon doesnt sing in it. What on earth.
    He does indeed have a fantastic voice, the new album is amazing, he's also featured on a lot of other 'musicals' albums over the years, all sublime.
    Ok, i appear to be gushing now, so i'll stop and just say, fantastic blog, it's nice to see him getting a bit more recognition.

  4. We went to see something he was in and we saw him entering the stage door. He was very cute, but it was a long time ago. Ah, no mention of a wife and I seem to recall something about him being in a maid's outfit at a party.

  5. Martin: Thank you! I didn't realize Kenneally was one of the good guys. Was that him making the speech in the scene I linked to? In what ways was he good?

    lol about Simon Baker. I get people confused too. My big one is Hugo Weaving and Guy Pearce. I can't keep them straight.

    I think I'm the only person in the world who didn't mind Pierce Brosnan's singing. I thought it was darling. I'm pretty sure there's something wrong with me.

    Bluegenie: Hi! I like your gushing : ) We all need to gush now and then. I probably wouldn't like "Slate, Wyn, and Me" probably because I don't like those types of movies. But who knows...maybe I'll see it one day. Sad that Burke doesn't sing in South Pacific. What's the deal with THAT?

  6. Andrew,

    Does no wife=gay?

    Well, at times I've assumed every man is gay...whether married or not.

  7. Yes, he is indeed gay and openly so.
    Currently lives with long term partner Peter, whom is an art director and was responsible for the design on the new album.

    Andrew: saw him recently and is still very cute

    Dina: If i'm completely honest the main purpose for me liking 'Slate, Wyn, & me' is because Simon spends most the time half naked and soaking wet . . . but yeah, erm . . the storyline is deeply moving. (did that sound convincing)

  8. bluegenie25,

    Hey, that's a perfectly legitimate excuse to enjoy a movie ; )

    So have you been a fan of Burke's for a long time?

  9. Speaking of spunky men in movies Guy is the one with the six pack from Priscilla and Neighbours and Hugo is the one with the child in Priscilla. Now I'm gushing (or blushing).

    Yes that was Keneally. He was good in the sense that he was virtually the only brother (or father?) who hadn't allowed himself to become bitter, closed off or sexually weird because of his celibacy. He was jolly like Keneally himself and supportive of the boys (apart from in that sermon, I guess). You'd have to see the movie but it seems to have the premise that that way of being (humane) was some achievement in that time and place.

  10. Martin,

    Are you gushing over Pearce or Weaving...or both?

    I never saw the whole Priscilla movie. Maybe that's my problem.

    I can divide them pretty well...usually. Pearce is Memento and Neighbours. Weaving is Matrix and Lord of the Rings. My problem is when I come across a movie I've written about before, but I don't remember it well. All I'll remember is that EITHER Pearce or Weaving was in the movie. But I can't remember which one!

    I think you're right about Kenneally being jolly. He came to some Jewish event in America, and I saw him speak. There's something very sweet about him.

  11. I'm gushing more over Pearce, actually. He was my sole reason for watching Neighbours for a while there when they were always doing episodes with him diving at the pool. Hugo's OK but I guess you can imagine why I personally wouldn't mix them up - I knew of Pearce well before I had registered anything done by Hugo.

    As for Priscilla, it's fun and all and Guy's body was on display again which was great (I'm not shallow much) but I have to admit I much preferred Muriel's Wedding which came out at around the same time here. I've never seen all of Memento at once, actually, so I hope when I do it will make more sense than it has so far.

    Yes, I think it's difficult not to like Thomas K (not that I've actually tried, I must admit).

  12. Not really too long, about 2 years, since he appeared as Captain von Trapp in the 'sound of music' He has such a fabulous voice you cant help but gape in awe. And i have a bit of a voice fetish so did endeavouir to find out as much about this man as i could, and now have quite a collection of films and CDs (he's been a busy man over the years)
    So you can imagine my sheer delight when i heard he was going to be Georges in 'La cage aux folles' there are some beautiful songs in that show, and he completely does them justice.
    Plus his co-star is John Barrowman, enough said.

    Although did have quite a girly moment a few months back whilst raiding through some old boxes in my mums attic. Found some old theatre programmes, turns out i saw Simon as Raoul in 'phantom of the opera' about 16 years ago.

    and Memento, i had to watch that about three times before it really made sense, but it was good nontheless

  13. Martin: Pearce wasn't in Muriel's Wedding, was he? Or are you just mentioning it because it came out at the same time?

    I prefer least for now. Although I think there's something appealing about both of them. Well, to be honest...I probably find almost any Australian man somewhat appealing. No, actually that's not true anymore. But it was at one time.

    Bluegenie25: Did you see Phantom in London? I'm wondering if I saw him too. We were there the summer of 1992, and saw Phantom. That would be funny.

    I think I have a voice fetish too. I probably care more about voice than how someone looks. I had a thing for Anthony Hopkins and Jeremy Irons just because of their voice.

    Back to Phantom. I was probably disappointed that we weren't seeing Michael Crawford.

  14. Yes it came out at the same time and they were the two at the time that got most attention outside Australia I think so they are stuck together in my memory. No, Pearce wasn't in Muriel's Wedding. By the way, cool new avatar (if that's what it's called)!

  15. Martin,

    Thanks : )

    I guess it's an avatar. Maybe not. Maybe it's just a profile picture? I thought an avatar was when you used a picture of someone not a character.

    I'm not an expert on such things though.

  16. oooh, i'm not 100% sure but i think Simon took over from John Barrowman in late '92. So I'd say you probably saw John as Raoul.