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 77)
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]


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.

His TV career began with the soap opera Motel (1968), and guest appearances on Homicide and Matlock Police. He then took the lead role in spy drama series Spyforce (1971–72), playing the role of Erskine. He eventually moved into feature film lead roles, and is best known primarily for his performance in Breaker Morant.[8] He has also acted in television miniseries and appeared as the host of the Channel 7 factual series Find My Family.

Thompson was the first nude male centrefold in Cleo in 1972.[9] He has also appeared in television commercials, including as the face of the Bank of Melbourne for a decade,[10] 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).[11] 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.'[12]

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.[13]

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.[14] Thompson used to own Hotel Gearin in Katoomba, Blue Mountains. He sold the hotel in June 2011.[15]


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
Year Title Role Notes
1968 Motel Bill Burke Episode: "1.132"
Episode: "1.134"
1969 Riptide Wally
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
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
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


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

Thompson also served as an UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador.


  • 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)[18]
  • 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)


  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. ^ "Jack Thompson". IMDb. Retrieved 2017-09-29. 
  9. ^ "Jack Thompson reveals all about nuding up". Retrieved 2017-06-15. 
  10. ^ Mark Russell (30 January 2004). "Bank of Melbourne to lose its identity". The Age. Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  11. ^ National Library of Australia collection: Jack Thompson. Retrieved 2011-05-30.
  12. ^ [1] The Bard of the Bush - Sydney Morning Herald, 30 November 2008. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
  13. ^ Tim Elliot (22 June 2005). "Jack's Back". The Sun-Herald. Retrieved 2011-08-15. 
  14. ^ "Episode featuring Jack Thompson". Who Do You Think You Are?. SBS. Archived from the original on 17 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-13. 
  15. ^ "Jack Thompson's letters of regret to staff after hotel sale". The Daily Telegraph. 18 August 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-07. 
  16. ^ "Mr John Hadley (Jack) THOMPSON". Australian Honours List. Commonwealth of Australia. Archived from the original on 18 March 2007. Retrieved 2006-03-26. 
  17. ^ "Australian Film Festival Kicks Off". FilmInk. Archived from the original on 5 March 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2011. 
  18. ^ "The Campfire Yarns of Henry Lawson - Fine Poets". Finepoets.com. Retrieved 2016-12-21. 

External links[edit]