|Born||Joseph Christopher Hasham
4 September 1948
|Occupation||Actor, artistic director|
|Years active||1969 – present|
Joseph Christopher Hasham OAM (Arabic: جو هشام) (born 4 September 1948 Tripoli, Lebanon) is a Lebanese Australian actor who became famous in Australia in the 1970s through his long running role of dependable and decent gay lawyer Don Finlayson in soap opera Number 96.
Early life and education
When Number 96 began in 1972 it was an instant hit and original cast member Hasham became one of the most popular cast members, regarded as a sex symbol by many female fans. He reprised the role in the feature film version of the serial in which his character engaged in a gay kiss with the closeted Simon Carr (John Orcsik), although the shot was later cut from the film. Hasham continued to play the role until Number 96 ended in 1977.
During the run of the series Hasham released a pop-music album, although he was not able to successfully launch a career as a singer. Later in the show's run a spin-off series focusing on Hasham's character switching to a career as a private investigator also failed to pan-out. After Number 96 ended Hasham continued his career with acting roles where he was part of a television series ensemble. Probably his most widely seen post-Number 96 acting performance in Australia was an on-going role as villain, Ken Hansen, in soap opera The Young Doctors in 1979. Through the early 1980s he presented a series of television advertisements for a television rental company called Electronic Sales and Rentals.
Emigration to Malaysia
He emigrated to Malaysia in 1984. There, together with his actor wife Faridah Merican he set up The Actors Studio actor training and theatre company in 1989. He is currently the Artistic Director of the company.
He and Merican are also responsible for the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre (KLPac) along with Living Arts Malaysia which aims to introduce theatre to young Malaysians. Hasham's production company JHA Productions is responsible for many of the commercials screened on Malaysian television.
Order of Australia
'Number 96' cast reunion
In 2007, he and Chard Hayward were surprise guests for a Number 96 cast reunion on Australia's Where Are They Now (TV program). In a previous version of this show (late 90s?), Hasham had been flown back to Australia to surprise John Orcsik.