SA­MUEL’S NEW CA­REER

Sa­muel John­son puts act­ing on hold to fo­cus on his char­ity work with Love Your Sis­ter

QT Magazine - - COVER STORY - BY HAY­DEN JOHN­SON (NO RE­LA­TION)

WHILE the au­di­ence sat in tears lis­ten­ing to Sa­muel John­son’s story, the hum­ble ex-ac­tor stood up and shat­tered the sad­ness with an­other anec­dote of his life.

The say­ing; ‘a roller­coaster of emo­tions’, could have been in­vented to de­scribe the feel­ing one gets sit­ting in a room lis­ten­ing to John­son.

It has been seven months since Connie passed but her brother’s un­wa­ver­ing jour­ney to find a cure for cancer is as strong as ever.

About 100 lucky Ip­swich res­i­dents lis­tened re­cently as John­son laughed and cried his way around the in­ti­mate stage – au­di­ence in tow – at the Ip­swich Li­braries Cock­tail Hour.

Af­ter the talk, John­son re­vealed he took as much from the event as those who at­tended.

"I’ve done over 700 talks in the seven months since my sis­ter died and I’m not just say­ing it, this was the most fun," he said.

"Cancer is a se­ri­ous topic and thank god Ip­swich didn’t re­quire me to do that (be se­ri­ous)."

The hour-long talk pro­vided an in­sight into Sa­muel’s jour­ney and how his stoic and re­silient sis­ter lived.

The pain of Connie’s death re­mains raw for John­son, his emo­tion ev­i­dent when a video of their Love Your Sis­ter jour­ney played on the big screen.

"I’m nearly at the point where I can watch her and not cry," he said.

"It’s been seven months and I’m yet to watch a video of my sis­ter alive and not cry, but I’m get­ting there."

John­son has come a long way since 2001 when he starred as the scruffy writer, Evan Wylde in The Se­cret Life of Us.

In 2016, John­son starred as Molly Mel­drum in the minis­eries Molly, for which he won the Gold Lo­gie.

He re­mains a house­hold name, first for act­ing and then for his charge in the bat­tle against cancer.

Af­ter play­ing Molly, John­son promised not to act again un­til Love Your Sis­ter had raised $10 mil­lion.

With the char­ity pass­ing $7 mil­lion ear­lier this year, John­son ad­mits a re­turn to act­ing is on the cards.

"I can start to think about soon, I’m still a few mil­lion away though so I’ve got time to pon­der it," he said.

"We’ll see what’s around when the dust set­tles."

Like Robin Wil­liams, John­son bounces across the stage with an en­ergy syn­ony­mous with those on a high.

"For my whole life peo­ple have ac­cused me of be­ing on drugs, I’m just nat­u­rally so su­per­charged," he laughed.

"I get in the dol­drums as much as any­body else but I love what I do so I don’t have to fake my en­thu­si­asm.

"I can’t not be en­thu­si­as­tic about healthy fam­i­lies."

The man who once ad­ver­tised for Voda­fone and Hun­gry Jacks feels at peace fi­nally sell­ing some­thing he be­lieves in.

"I’m not re­ally try­ing to ed­u­cate peo­ple be­cause I’m just a re­tired ac­tor," he said.

"I more just share my story in the hope it might get peo­ple to think about the value of fam­ily and the evil of cancer."

While John­son is known for the re­la­tion­ship with his sis­ter, he has known by mil­lions of Aus­tralians as their own brother.

His friendly na­ture and ooz­ing love saw hun­dreds of men and women em­braced John­son af­ter his talk and left him feel­ing "over-ap­pre­ci­ated".

"I get thanked way too of­ten but I never get sick of it," he said.

Visit John­son’s vil­lage at lovey­our­sis­ter.org.

PHO­TOS: COUR­TESY TAN­GI­BLE ME­DIA

Sa­muel John­son at Ip­swich Li­brary. Sa­muel John­son en­ter­tains at Ip­swich Li­brary.

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