The quiet ACHIEVER

Jus­tine Clarke steps back to a sim­pler time to play our most fa­mous ex-wife Noe­lene Ho­gan, writes HOLLY BYRNES

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - TV GUIDE -

SHE was ar­guably the found­ing mem­ber of Aus­tralia’s First Wives Club, but Jus­tine Clarke be­lieves Noe­lene Ho­gan was also the un­sung hero in Ho­ges: The Paul Ho­gan Story.

Clarke, who plays the mother of five and Ho­gan’s high school sweet­heart in Chan­nel 7’s two-part tele­movie, says Noe­lene is of­ten over­looked as the do­mes­tic force be­hind his un­likely rise to fame and for­tune.

The cou­ple, who met grow­ing up in Sydney’s south west, had been mar­ried for 13 years when the Har­bour Bridge painter made his TV de­but.

As last week’s open­ing episode in this biopic de­tailed, they also had five chil­dren to sup­port, with Noe­lene play­ing house­wife and pick­ing up part­time work while her hus­band in­dulged his early TV and com­edy op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“The do­mes­tic pres­sures were al­ways off him be­cause of Noe­lene,” Clarke said. “He was the bread-win­ner and they never had much money, but it was still his job to go out and work. I think he was re­ally lucky to have her in his life.” The Play School and Time of our Lives favourite drew much of the in­spi­ra­tion for her char­ac­ter from Ho­gan’s 1992 book Prat­tling On With Noe­lene Ho­gan.

A small vol­ume of handy hints and snip­pets from her sub­ur­ban life gave Clarke an in­sight into this quiet achiever.

“What I learnt from that was what a ter­rific out­look she has and what a won­der­ful qual­ity it is to be able to laugh at your­self,” Clarke said.

“They both did that very well through­out their lives. They’ve never taken them­selves very se­ri­ously.”

When the Croc­o­dile Dundee star left his wife for his glam­orous co-star Linda Koslowski, the split was de­scribed at the time as the ugli­est di­vorce in Aus­tralian his­tory.

Play­ing the du­ti­ful wife may not con­nect with con­tem­po­rary au­di­ences, but Clarke said: “It was a sim­pler time ... when life was a lit­tle bit eas­ier, not so com­pli­cated.”



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