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Dieter Brummer

Author: Interview Paul Connolly
Date: 25/04/2010
Words: 697
Source: SHD
          Publication: Sun Herald
Section: Sunday Life
Page: 9
an early knack for mimicry led to soap superstardom for this actor, who has found his feet again on TV.

1. Wunderkind

This would have been taken in about 1979 when I was three.

I grew up in Sydney's north-west on the outskirts of suburbia. At times I felt like an only child because my brother, Richard, and sister, Karlene, were seven and 10 years older than me respectively. I never saw a lot of my sister and I had a slightly - what's the diplomatic way to put it? - difficult relationship with my brother. But later in life we ended up purchasing a house together. I'm not sure why I was the only kid to get a German name. Perhaps my dad, Rudi, who came to Australia as a young adult, saw it as a last chance to recognise his German heritage. As a kid and through my early teens I wished I'd been called something more normal. But after I got into TV, it served me well because it was slightly different.

2. shall we dance?

Although I wasn't in high school, this photo was taken in the auditorium of what would be my high school a year or so later. I can't remember the occasion, but it seems my mum, Dawn, and I went to some function as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Mum was a primary school teacher and taught all three of us. Dad was a plumber. I wasn't a performer back then, but it would have been in Mum's mind because I could recite the lines of every TV advertisement with the same inflection and feeling. I think she thought I was destined to be an actor. In year 6, I started doing Saturday drama classes and it was around then I got my first "professional" job in a McDonald's commercial.

3. star turn

Once I was in high school I continued drama classes and scored another commercial, for Cadbury. But when I was nearly 16, I auditioned for a role on Home and Away and got it. Once I made it on air, the recognition was instant and quite bizarre. I didn't realise what being in Home and Away would be like. This photo was taken after I started on the show. These are my high-school friends - and my mate's mum - at her holiday home on the Central Coast [Brummer is centre, wearing a hat]. I'm still in contact with the majority of this group. It was good to get away from the hustle and bustle of the set.

4. reel life

My sister Karlene - who's in this photo with me from 2005 -was very supportive and when I started on Home and Away she set up a fan club to help me deal with the fan mail. It was amazing, the response, but I was always determined to keep my feet on the ground and not believe the publicity. In fact, my down-to-earth attitude, if anything, had an adverse effect - which was why I decided to leave the show after about four years. A big part of me wanted to get a "real" job - whether in the industry, labouring, or whatever - to make sure I didn't become full of myself. Whatever will be will be, I thought.

5. miles from home

Through most of [the 2000s] I did mainly rope-access work, such as high-rise window cleaning. I had no regrets about quitting Home and Away, and always found it ridiculous to read comments suggesting I must have found it hard to see [former Home and Away co-star] Melissa George making it big in Hollywood. It was my choice to leave, just as it was my choice to seek involvement in Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities. This is me on set [second from left] with, I have to point out, a real moustache. I was lucky to get on the show and work with such a great cast and crew. I'm 32 now, I'm not married, no kids and pretty much single, so hopefully the day is close when I will no longer be referred to as "former Home and Away star".

Underbelly: The Golden Mile airs on Sundays at 8.30pm on Nine.

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