Melissa George and the actors who went from Summer Bay to superstardom

As the ex Home and Away star begins life as Sam Hunter in BBC1's Hunted, we take a look at some more big hitters from the sun-kissed Aussie soap

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Melissa George and the actors who went from Summer Bay to superstardom
Written By
Tim Glanfield

Students of the late 90s will remember her as Angel Parrish, a waif and stray who turns up in Summer Bay to find herself (and her child), before being widowed and then eventually finding happiness. But now she's security agent Sam Hunter in BBC1's new Spooks-like drama, Hunted. 

In fact, Melissa's career has been going great guns since she left Australia for Hollywood. Steven Soderbergh's 1999 crime movie The Limey kicked things off post-Home and Away but it was her role in David Lynch's 2001 film, Mulholland Drive, that put her on the map. After a turn in US series Charmed, George hit the big time on US TV in 2003 when she landed the role of Lauren Reed on the ABC television series Alias. Since then she's been in HBO's In Treatment and Grey's Anatomy, as well as Lie to Me, The Slap and Bag of Bones to name but a few.

Here she is back in the Bay...


But is Melissa the first star to break out of Summer Bay to bigger (and better) things? No chance. Here's a few other folk who "belong together" on the Hollywood walk of fame (or similar)...

Isla Fisher

In Summer Bay she was schoolgirl activist Shannon Reed, but these days Isla is not only Mrs Sacha Baron-Cohen, she's a serious force in the entertainment world in her own right.

After getting a boost from her 2002 appearance in Scooby-Doo, the 2005 knockabout comedy Wedding Crashers helped Isla step into the Hollywood big time. Since then she's knocked out a number of high-profile films, including Definitely, Maybe opposite Ryan Reynolds and Confessions of a Shopaholic.

Dannii Minogue

While her sister Kylie was off snogging Jason Donovan in Neighbours, Dannii was playing a punk tearaway in Seven Network's Aussie soap.

But the Bay was never going to be big enough for Dannii, who left in 2000 to pursue greater opportunities in the pop world, churning out 26 singles across five studio albums in her career so far.

As well as musical pursuits, Dannii has managed to stay on our TV screens by branching out into talent show hosting. In 2007 she became a judge and mentor on The X Factor and she remained there until 2010, supporting two winners – Leon Jackson and Matt Cardle. Now she’s brought her critical faculties back to her homeland of Oz, becoming a judge on Australia’s Got Talent.

Heath Ledger

Another prodigy of the Bay’s 90s generation, hunky Heath played bad boy Scott Irwin, who drank, canoodled and stole his way through nine episodes in 1997.

The small screen couldn’t contain him for long, though. After making his feature film debut in Aussie flick Blackrock, he managed to break into Hollywood in 1999 with Shakespearean teen romcom 10 Things I Hate about You.

As the millennium turned, Heath’s roles matured and he soon became more than just a pretty face. Playing more serious roles in blockbusters The Patriot and Brokeback Mountain, he earned the credibility he deserved and landed his career-defining role as the Joker in 2008’s The Dark Knight. His villainous performance was astounding, but his sudden and tragic death meant that the Oscar he won for it was awarded posthumously.

Julian McMahon

Like so many residents of Summer Bay, Julian has always been easy on the eye. So much, in fact, that his career began in fashion modelling for brands like Levi Strauss. Playing soldier Ben Lucini from 1990 to 1991, his tumultuous relationship with Carly kept viewers hooked on the soap.

His soap star credentials sent him to American screens in 1993 when he starred in Another World for two years, which paved the way for more US TV in crime drama Profiler and supernatural series Charmed.

He found his defining role in 2003 in Nip/Tuck, slicing his way to a Golden Globe for his performance as an egotistical, womanising plastic surgeon. Since then he’s graced a variety of big-screen productions, including a role as supervillain Doctor Doom in Fantastic Four.

Chris Hemsworth

One of Home and Away’s most recent soap star graduates, Chris was playing no-nonsense Kim Hyde as recently as 2007.

After a small role in JJ Abram’s 2009 Star Trek film, he starred in thrillers A Perfect Getaway and Ca$h in quick succession. But his biggest role came this year, when he stepped into the rather large shoes of a Norse god in superhero blockbuster Thor. He’ll be wielding his hammer more next year, too, returning as Thor in the Marvel thriller The Avengers.

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