Stefan Dennis

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Stefan Dennis
Born (1958-10-30) 30 October 1958 (age 64)
Tawonga, Victoria, Australia
OccupationTelevision actor, musician
Years active1978–present
SpouseGail Easdale (m. 2000)
Children3
WebsiteOfficial website

Stefan Dennis (born 30 October 1958) is an Australian actor and singer best known for playing the role of cold-hearted and ruthless businessman Paul Robinson in the soap opera Neighbours from its first episode on March 18, 1985. He departed Neighbours in 1992 before returning for a short stint in 1993. He then returned in late 2004 and played the character up until the show's temporary ending in 2022 and is set to return to the role in 2023. During his time away from Neighbours he was a cast member of Scottish soap opera River City produced and set in Glasgow, Scotland. He is also known for his 1989 single "Don't It Make You Feel Good", which reached Number 16 in the Irish and UK Singles Chart.[1]

Early life[edit]

Dennis was born in Tawonga, Victoria but his family moved to Queensland for 12 years, where he did most of his schooling. He started showing his genuine interest in music and acting at the age of seven and was eleven years old when he started in amateur theatre in Queensland. His debut with this first theatre company was in Oliver!. Also, at this time he and his brother formed a vocal duo and performed on many occasions. They played at weddings, charity events, and some large concerts.

By the age of 14, Dennis was convinced he wanted to go into the entertainment business. He understood the pitfalls associated with choosing the career of an entertainer, so he decided to get a trade behind him to support him through the times when he might be out of work. He left school at 15 and took an apprenticeship as a chef. On completion of his chef's certificate, he moved from the Gold Coast to Melbourne. In the following five years, he worked hard gaining knowledge and experience.[citation needed]

Career[edit]

Dennis started out in guest roles on programmes such as Cop Shop, Skyways, Carson's Law, Young Ramsay, Prisoner, Home, The Henderson Kids, The Sullivans, The Young Doctors and Sons and Daughters and many others.[2] Dennis has a number of credits to his name. He had a major role in The Henderson Kids, a co-lead in an ABC children's show called Infinity Limited, and he co-starred in The Flying Doctors mini-series. In 1984, he auditioned for the roles of Shane Ramsay and Des Clarke in a new soap opera, Neighbours where he was later cast as Paul Robinson instead.[3][4] His role in Neighbours brought opportunities such as appearing at the Royal Variety Performance alongside fellow cast members.

After finishing Neighbours in 1992, Dennis moved to the UK and worked on a variety of TV shows and theatre productions. He appeared in many pantomimes, plays, and musicals including the pantomime Cinderella in Bournemouth, UK from 10 December 1992 to 17 January 1993. In 1994, he played Mickey in Blood Brothers, touring in New Zealand and Australia before returning to the UK to appear in the show in both the West End, and in a national tour of the UK. He appeared in many television shows, including Dream Team, River City, The Bill and Casualty. He also returned to Australia from time to time for guest roles in shows such as Blue Heelers, Good Guys Bad Guys and Stingers. Dennis has worked as a voiceover artist for many years both in Australia and the UK.[citation needed]

He was part of the team that set a new world record in 1995 for 24-hour endurance outdoor karting. The team – Stefan Dennis, David Brabham, Russ Malkin, Steve Malkin – set the record of 1,664.7 km (1,034.397 mi) on a 1.3 km (0.808 mi) track at Brooklands, Weybridge, Surrey, UK on 24 and 25 February 1995.[citation needed] While in the UK, Dennis became a partner in Lex Film Entertainment, and was associate producer on the film The Truth About Love.

He returned to Neighbours at the end of 2004, and continued as a regular character until the show's final episode in 2022. He is the only current cast member who appeared in the first episode, although he is not the longest serving due to his long break. Of his role in Neighbours, Dennis has said that people struggle to tell the difference between himself and the character and "shy away" from him because "they think I'm going to bark at them". He has conceded that it could be a testament to his acting and says "It's a real compliment though, as people know the character that well, they actually think I am like him in real life".[5] As a matter of fact, although he portrays Paul Robinson as having a prosthetic leg, he has two good legs of his own.[6]

In 2009, Dennis was stalked by two fans while presenting the Best Villain award at the British Soap Awards.[7] He hosted a documentary special celebrating Neighbours' 30th anniversary titled Neighbours 30th: The Stars Reunite, which aired in Australia and the UK in March 2015.[8][9] In 2018, Dennis appeared in the recurring role of Michael Armstrong QC in the sixth series of Wentworth.[10]

Music[edit]

In 1989, Dennis started a side-line music career, and released the single "Don't It Make You Feel Good", which reached No. 16 in the UK Singles Chart,[11] in May of that year. He released a second single, "This Love Affair", which reached No. 67 in the UK in October 1989.[1] Dennis is a talented pipe organist.(cite Australian Organist Association 1990 march)

In 2013, Dennis sang and appeared as Santa Claus in the music video for his Neighbours co-star Alan Fletcher's song "If You Want a Happy Christmas".[12]

Personal life[edit]

Dennis' older brother, John, was killed by a drunk driver at the age of 12. Of the sentencing, Dennis has said: "That driver was fined just $50 for what he did. And that same weekend someone who killed a koala at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary got fined $200. So... well, that's hard."[13] Dennis has used the incident to raise awareness about drink driving via his Twitter account.[citation needed]

Dennis previously dated Natalie Imbruglia and Gayle Blakeney in the 90s while they were co-starring on Neighbours with him.[14]

He met and married his wife, Gail when in the U.K. The couple have two sons, Cameron and Declan, and a daughter Darci. The family are now back living in Australia.[citation needed]

Filmography[edit]

Television[edit]

Date Title Role Notes
1979–1981 Prisoner Shayne Berkley-Peter Richards 2 roles
1 March 1980 Young Ramsay Sid Atkinson Episode "Gift Horse
1981 Cop Shop Vincent Cahill 1 episode
The Sullivans Soldier Guest
1982 The Young Doctors Guest
1983 Infinity Limited Rick
1985–1993, 2004– Neighbours Paul Robinson Regular role
3 April 1985 Five Mile Creek Boy No. 2 Episode "The Best of Mates"
1985 The Flying Doctors Doug Hennassy Mini series
1985 The Henderson Kids Terry
1996 The Office Nigel
1997 World Fun Stefan C Dyson
1 July 1997 Blue Heelers Colin Docker Episode "Poetic Justice"
14 April 1998 Good Guys Bad Guys Andy Caesar Episode "Don't Cry for Me Arch 'n' Tina"
22 February 1999 Stingers Snr. Com. Karl Hiller Episode "Nothing Personal"
14 December 2001 The Big Breakfast Himself
2001–2002 Dream Team Samuel Irving
2002–2003 River City Dr. Marcus McKenzie
9 November 2002 Casualty Mark Christie
7 May 2003 The Bill Gene Bishop
19 July 2005 Rove Live Himself
2015 Neighbours 30th: The Stars Reunite Himself
2018 Wentworth Michael Armstrong

Films[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1984 Channel Chaos Cameraman
2004 The Truth About Love Douglie Associate producer

Theatre[edit]

Year Title Location Notes
1990/91 Robin Hood Liverpool
1991/92 Aladdin Southampton
1992/93 Cinderlla Bournemouth
1993 Whose Life is It Anyway? United Kingdom Tour
1993/94 Jack and the Beanstalk Wimbledon
1994 Blood Brothers Australia
1994 Blood Brothers New Zealand
1994/95 Peter Pan Blackpool
1995 Blood Brothers United Kingdom
1995 Point of Death United Kingdom Tour
1997 Murder by Misadventure United Kingdom Tour
1997 Murder by Misadventure United Kingdom Tour
1998/99 Aladdin Weston-super-Mare
2000 Fool for Love Edinburgh
2007 Aladdin Aberdeen
2009/2010 Cinderella Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b It is a little known fact that Dennis plays the pipe organ .Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 150. ISBN 978-1-904994-10-7.
  2. ^ "Stefan Dennis". Neighbours. Retrieved 21 June 2010.
  3. ^ "Stefan Dennis (Neighbours' Paul Robinson) Interview". Last Broadcast. Archived from the original on 4 October 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  4. ^ Hopwood, Clive (1990). The Official Neighbours Annual 1990. World International. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-7235-6859-9. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
  5. ^ Sperling, Daniel (27 December 2010). "Soaps – News – 'Neighbours' Dennis: 'People think I'm Paul'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  6. ^ "Stefan Dennis makes limp excuse". 31 December 2008.
  7. ^ Green, Kris (12 May 2009). "Soaps – News – 'Neighbours' icon stalked at BSAs". Digital Spy. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  8. ^ Knox, David (28 February 2015). "Airdate: Neighbours 30th: The Stars Reunite". TV Tonight. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  9. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (4 March 2015). "Neighbours 30th anniversary schedule confirmed by Channel 5". Digital Spy. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  10. ^ Dainty, Sophie (1 August 2018). "Neighbours star Stefan Dennis took a break from show to film guest role in Wentworth". Digital Spy. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  11. ^ UK charts Search "Stefan Dennis"
  12. ^ "'Neighbours' star releases Christmas song". Digitalspy.com. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2022.
  13. ^ Duck, Siobhan (6 March 2015). "Neighbours stalwart Stefan Dennis on family heartbreak, royal fans and Hollywood ambition". Herald Sun. Australia. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  14. ^ Hegarty, Tasha (10 July 2022). "Neighbours actor Stefan Dennis reveals he dated co-star". Digital Spy. Retrieved 11 July 2022.

External links[edit]