James Smillie

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James Smillie
Born 1944 (age 72–73)
Other names James Smillie, Jim Smillie,
Spouse(s) Caroline Smillie (nee Lea)

James Smillie is a British and Australian actor known for his roles in stage and television productions and voice over. Smillie was born in Scotland and emigrated from the Glasgow tenements, carving out a career in Australia before returning to the United Kingdom to appear in stage roles in London's West End. On television, he is probably best known internationally for his role as Dr. Dan Marshall in the lavish 1980s Australian soap opera Return to Eden.[1]


Smillie has appeared in a multitude of television shows and stage plays, both in the UK and Australia. His television credits include The Tomorrow People, Adventure Island, Space: 1999, Thriller, Prisoner: Cell Block H, The Gentle Touch, Skin Deep, Comedy Playhouse, The Mackinnons, Red Dwarf and Highlander: The Series. He has also made numerous appearances in a variety of light entertainment shows, including Highway with Sir Harry Secombe, An Evening with Barry Humphries, the BBC series Battle of the Sexes, and A Tribute to Robbie Burns for Scottish television. In the 1960s, he was also one of the earlier hosts for the BBC children's series Crackerjack, and hosted another show, I Like Music, in 1971. Smillie also has four Royal Variety Performances to his credit.[citation needed]

However, his best known role was that of Dr. Dan Marshall in the Australian television drama Return to Eden, first in the 1983 mini-series, where as a plastic surgeon he transformed ugly duckling Stephanie Harper into a beautiful woman and then reprised the role for the 1986 weekly continuation series as her husband. His other best known role was that of the voice of the bearded Narrator in the live-action/animated feature film, Opéra imaginaire.

On the London stage, he played Tony in West Side Story in 1972. The following years saw him playing leading men in a string of West End productions, notably: an Italian Lothario in Brian Clemens' whodunit Lover (Ambassadors Theatre); Henry II in Thomas and The King (Her Majestys Theatre); Dr. Thomas Barnardo in Barnardo (Royalty Theatre); Nicos in Zorba; Georges in La Cage aux Folles (London Palladium); and also as Fred Graham in 'Kiss Me Kate' (RSC Savoy). Smillie has played this role on three occasions, most recently on tour in 1991/92. Following this, he toured in George Bernard Shaw's Candida as the Reverend James Mavor Morrell.

His other stage credits include Orin in Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra, Chance Williams in Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird of Youth, Eilif in Mother Courage and Her Children, the lead in Tom Jones, Emile de Beque in South Pacific, and as Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music. Followed by his success as Mack Sennet in the 1996 London production of Mack & Mabel, Smilie recorded the part of Fred/Petruchio again in the full live production of 'Kiss Me Kate' for the BBC in London with the BBC Concert Orchestra.

1998/99 and 2000 saw Smillie touring England in the UK Productions tour of 42nd Street, playing the lead role of producer Julian Marsh. In 2001, he returned to Australia to play Pastor Manders in Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts for the Perth International Arts Festival. In 2003, he returned to the UK to play Charles in Stephen Sondheim's Putting It Together at the Library Theatre in Manchester. This was followed in 2004 by Daddy Warbucks in a touring production of Annie with Su Pollard and Caesar in a Sadlers Wells Lost Musicals production of Harold Rome, Joshua Logan and S. N. Behrman's Fanny.

In film, Smillie has had small roles in International Velvet and Jaguar Lives!. In 2005, he appeared in two German-made films – Dark Ride and Rich Girl, Poor Girl. Smillie is also a regular radio and concert broadcaster for the BBC, particularly on the popular series Friday Night is Music Night, presenting special occasions such as Sondheim on the South Bank, An Evening with Cole Porter at the Royal Festival Hall, and as Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar at the Barbican Centre. He is also a voice-over artist on commercials, audiovisuals, documentaries, and talking books. He has played Satan in a dramatised audio version of John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost.


  1. ^ Super Aussie Soaps, Andrew Mercado, p243, 2004, ISBN 1-86403-191-3, accessed January 2008

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