Stefan Dennis

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Stefan Dennis
Dennis at the Edinburgh Meet and Greet event for the Neighbours Celebration tour (2023)
Born (1958-10-30) 30 October 1958 (age 65)
Tawonga, Victoria, Australia
Occupation(s)Television 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 final episode which aired on July 28, 2022 before returning 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 moved with his family to the Gold Coast when he was an infant and grew up in the coastal city where he attended Southport State High School throughout his upbringing.[2] While on the Gold Coast, he developed a passion for the performing arts and made his acting debut at 11 years old in a local amateur theatre production of Oliver!. He would also regularly perform in a vocal group with his brother at local weddings and charity events throughout the Gold Coast.[3] At 16 years of age, Dennis left school and began a chef's apprenticeship that would last five years.[4] Upon completion of his culinary training he moved from the Gold Coast to Melbourne in hopes of pursuing a career in the entertainment industry.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7][8] 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,[9] 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".[10] As a matter of fact, although he portrays Paul Robinson as having a prosthetic leg, he has two good legs of his own.[11]

In 2009, Dennis was stalked by two fans while presenting the Best Villain award at the British Soap Awards.[12] 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.[13][14] In 2018, Dennis appeared in the recurring role of Michael Armstrong QC in the sixth series of Wentworth.[15] Dennis appears in the 2023 New Zealand thriller film Home Kills.[16]

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,[17] 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".[18]

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."[19] 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 1990s while they were co-starring on Neighbours with him.[20]

He met and married his wife, Gail when in the UK. The couple have two sons, Cameron and Declan, and a daughter Darci. Declan made a few guest appearances in Neighbours playing Louis Curtain (2020-2022). The family reside in Australia.[citation needed]

Filmography[edit]

Television[edit]

Date Title Role Notes
1979–1981 Prisoner Shayne Berkley / Spike / Peter Richards TV series
1980 Young Ramsay Sid Atkinson TV series, episode: "Gift Horse
1981 Cop Shop Vincent Cahill TV series, 1 episode
1981 The Sullivans Soldier TV series
1982 The Young Doctors TV series
1983 Home Paul TV series, episodes 29 & 30
1983 Infinity Limited Rick TV series
1985 Five Mile Creek Boy No. 2 TV series, episode: "The Best of Mates"
1985 The Flying Doctors Doug Hennassy Miniseries
1985 The Henderson Kids Terry TV series
1985–1993, 2004– Neighbours Paul Robinson TV series
1996 The Office Nigel
1997 World Fun Stefan C Dyson
1997 Blue Heelers Colin Docker TV series, episode: "Poetic Justice"
1998 Good Guys, Bad Guys Andy Caesar TV series, episode: "Don't Cry for Me Arch 'n' Tina"
1999 Stingers Snr. Com. Karl Hiller TV series, episode: "Nothing Personal"
2001 The Big Breakfast Himself TV series
2001–2002 Dream Team Samuel Irving TV series
2002–2003 River City Dr. Marcus McKenzie TV series
2002 Casualty Mark Christie TV series
2003 The Bill Gene Bishop TV series
2005 Rove Live Himself TV series
2015 Neighbours 30th: The Stars Reunite Himself TV special
2018 Wentworth Michael Armstrong TV series

Films[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1984 Channel Chaos Cameraman Feature film
2004 The Truth About Love Douglie Feature film (also associate producer)
2021 Apparitions Tom
2023 Home Kills Woods

Theatre[edit]

Year Title Location Notes
1990–1991 Robin Hood Liverpool
1991–1992 Aladdin Southampton
1992–1993 Cinderella Bournemouth
1993 Whose Life is It Anyway? United Kingdom
1993–1994 Jack and the Beanstalk Wimbledon
1994 Blood Brothers Australia
1994 Blood Brothers New Zealand
1994–1995 Peter Pan Blackpool
1995 Blood Brothers United Kingdom
1995 Point of Death United Kingdom Tour
1997 Murder by Misadventure United Kingdom Tour
1998–1999 Aladdin Weston-super-Mare
2000 Fool for Love Edinburgh
2007 Aladdin Aberdeen
2009–2010 Cinderella Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
2023 Neighbours: The Celebration Tour United Kingdom

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. ^ "Gold Coast Star Students: Southport High's 12 best". Gold Coast Bulletin. 14 October 2019. Retrieved 25 October 2023.
  3. ^ "10 Facts About... Stefan Dennis (Neighbour' Paul)". Inside Soap. 16 October 2018. Retrieved 25 October 2023.
  4. ^ "Stefan Dennis cooking on This Morning 7th May 2009". The Morning Show (UK). 7 May 2009. Retrieved 25 October 2023.
  5. ^ "Neighbours Actor Profiles - Stefan Dennis". Perfect Blend. 11 March 2014. Retrieved 12 March 2023.
  6. ^ "Stefan Dennis". Neighbours. Retrieved 21 June 2010.
  7. ^ "Stefan Dennis (Neighbours' Paul Robinson) Interview". Last Broadcast. Archived from the original on 4 October 2011. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  8. ^ Hopwood, Clive (1990). The Official Neighbours Annual 1990. World International. p. 15. ISBN 978-0-7235-6859-9. Retrieved 4 June 2010.
  9. ^ "Television & Radio". The Daily Telegraph. 7 May 2003. Retrieved 11 November 2023 – via Newspapers.com.icon of an open green padlock
  10. ^ Sperling, Daniel (27 December 2010). "Soaps – News – 'Neighbours' Dennis: 'People think I'm Paul'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  11. ^ "Stefan Dennis makes limp excuse". 31 December 2008.
  12. ^ Green, Kris (12 May 2009). "Soaps – News – 'Neighbours' icon stalked at BSAs". Digital Spy. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  13. ^ Knox, David (28 February 2015). "Airdate: Neighbours 30th: The Stars Reunite". TV Tonight. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  14. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (4 March 2015). "Neighbours 30th anniversary schedule confirmed by Channel 5". Digital Spy. Retrieved 5 March 2015.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Newall, Steve (13 July 2023). "Home Kills answers the question 'what if butchers processed people to pay the bills?'". Flicks. Retrieved 17 July 2023.
  17. ^ UK charts Search "Stefan Dennis"
  18. ^ "'Neighbours' star releases Christmas song". Digitalspy.com. 19 November 2013. Retrieved 5 August 2022.
  19. ^ Duck, Siobhan (6 March 2015). "Neighbours stalwart Stefan Dennis on family heartbreak, royal fans and Hollywood ambition". Herald Sun. Australia. Retrieved 17 June 2016.
  20. ^ Hegarty, Tasha (10 July 2022). "Neighbours actor Stefan Dennis reveals he dated co-star". Digital Spy. Retrieved 11 July 2022.

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