Alan Hopgood, veteran actor and playwright, has died from cancer at the age of 87.
Born in Tasmania, Hopgood made his TV acting debut in 1957, starring in the ABC play Sound Of Thunder. He went on to appear in a number of one-off plays for television including Tragedy In A Temporary Town, Antony And Cleopatra, The Astronauts, Who Killed Kovali? and the TV adaptations of his own plays And The Big Men Fly and The Cheerful Cuckold.
Later credits included Dynasty, Homicide and Matlock Police before scoring an ongoing role in the ABC serial Bellbird. He played the part of Dr Reed for five years. In 2003, he and co-star Maggie Millar reprised their husband and wife roles from the series in a stage play.
Other television credits included Skyways, Burn The Butterflies, All The Green Years, Cop Shop, Sword Of Honour, The Petrov Affair, A Country Practice, The Flying Doctors, Good Vibrations, Phoenix, Wedlocked, Law Of The Land and State Coroner.
He played the recurring role of Wally Wallace in Prisoner for four years and played the caravan-residing entrepreneur Jack Lassiter in Neighbours. His Neighbours role was short-lived though the hotel and retail complex that carries the Lassiter name continues to feature prominently in the series.
He narrated the special 40 Years In The Making, commemorating 40 years of ABC television in Melbourne in 1996, and continued to make guest appearances in various series, including The Games, The Secret Life Of Us, Round The Twist, The Saddle Club, Blue Heelers, MDA and City Homicide.
His last credited TV acting role was a return to Neighbours to reprise the role of Jack Lassiter in 2013.
In his later years he wrote a book, Surviving Prostate Cancer – One Man’s Journey, before writing and performing plays aimed at addressing various health issues under the banner HealthPlay. He also became a regular speaker at conferences and seminars.
As well as his plays, Hopgood’s writing credits for television included Barley Charley, Alvin Purple, And Here Comes Bucknuckle, Prisoner, Sugar And Spice, Flair, Chances, Pugwall, The Flying Doctors, Blue Heelers and Neighbours.
Earlier this year, Hopgood was an interview guest on the YouTube channel Talking Prisoner and recently featured on ABC Radio National‘s Big Ideas.
YouTube: Talking Prisoner
In 2005 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for services to the performing arts as an actor, playwright and producer, and to the community through raising awareness of mens health issues.