Tom Burlinson was born in Toronto, Canada on Valentines Day February 14th 1956. His English born parents had migrated to Canada after Word War 11. The family transferred to New Jersey USA in 1958. In 1962 the family transferred to England due to his father's job and a young Tom took his North American accent to school. In 1965, Tom's family transferred again, this time to Australia. After six months his parents divorced and his mother and two younger sisters went back to England, leaving Tom with his dad and his older sister, Susan.
His first public appearance was as Colonel Pickering in Mosman Primary School's production of My Fair Lady. Moving to Bayview, Tom went to Pittwater High School. becoming school captain in his final year.
His father wanted him to be a lawyer but he had other ideas. A friend had been accepted for NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Art) so he auditioned and to his great surprise was accepted into the class of '74. He graduated in 1976. In 1977 he appeared on stage in productions of For Years I Couldn't Wear My Black, The Merchant Of Venice and Dangerous Corner. He started making appearances on Australian television in 1977 and scored a regular part in the popular soap opera The Restless Years in 1979 as Mickey Pratt that lasted 16 months.
In 1978 he appeared as Charlie in the Old Tote Theatre Company production of Da and as Jud Templeton in the play Tribute in 1979. In 1980 he played Hughie in the Anzac Day play The One Day Of The Year. He also featured in the TV police drama Cop Shop in 1980/81 and in Skyways.
In 1981 his career break came when he was cast as Jim Craig in The Man From Snowy River , alongside Kirk Douglas, Jack Thompson and Sigrid Thornton. He had just a few short weeks to learn how to ride a horse and make it look like he had been born in the saddle !! He performed many of the stunts including the iconic cliff ride remembered by anyone who watches the film. When Snowy River was released in Australia in 1982 it quickly became the highest grossing Australian film ever at that time. With a grose of $17 million over 20 years later it remains 7th out of the highest grossing Australian films of all time. It turned Tom into a household name and warranted a sequel released in 1988.
In 1982 Tom starred in Phar Lap in the movie based on the Melbourne Cup winning horse of the same name , playing the real life young stable trainer Tommy Woodcock, alongside Martin Vaughan. Showing true dedication to his art, Tom learned an entirely different style of riding to portray a jockey / trainer
These two movies had Tom forever etched in the Australian publics mind as an actor who could do a movie as long as the co star was a horse. He has spent the rest of his career trying to escape this typecasting.
With his career threatening to strand him permanently typecast in horsey period pieces, Tom bleached his hair and played a windsurfer in the modern day comedy romance Windrider alongside an up-and-coming rising teen star Nicole Kidman, before plunging even further into the future in The Time Guardian.
The Time Guardian was a futuristic drama in which Tom played Ballard - a visitor from another world. He starred opposite Hollywood stars Dean Stockwell and Carrie Fisher. But the past would forever call him back, with historical roles in the cult film Flesh and Blood, the Australian mini series Melba and Eureka Stockade, and Kootenai Brown - a true story filmed in Canada. UK mini series Piece Of Cake was set in wartime England in 1939 and was based on true events of the pilots in the airforce.
A childhood obsession with Frank Sinatra led Tom to composing an ode to Ol' Blue Eyes and he made the most of a 1990 appearance on Ray Martins' Midday Show to nervously debut his singing voice to the Australian public with "The Man In The Hat". He was no longer just the cute guy on the horse - the Man could sing too. This led to the fantastic opportunity for Tina Sinatra to use Tom's voice as the young Sinatra in a mini series she was producing on her fathers life.
With new doors now open to him Tom auditioned for several musicals.
He hit the stage in How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying in 1993. He starred with some of Australia's great stage performers in Noel Ferrier, June Bronhill and Jackie Love. More stage roles rolled in 1996 with the Sydney Theatre Company. He starred as Franklin in Merrily We Roll Along, and as Ricky in Miracle City.
In 1998 Tom created Frank, The Sinatra Story In Song which opened at the Seymour Centre in Sydney then on to other major cities. Incredibly, Old Blue Eyes, The Chairman of the Board, Sinatra died just two weeks before opening night. Tom always wanted it known that he wasn't out to cash in on the death of Sinatra. His musical was a wonderful tribute to a man he held in great esteem. From 1998 to 2003 Tom toured Australia regularly and also took the show to corporate events. In 2001 the shows name was changed to Frank - A Life In Song, due to the legalities of using the Sinatra name. In 2002 Tom took 'Frank' to Toronto, Canada for a successful season. Tom continues to perform his Sinatra tribute at many venues around Australia.
Tom's versatility has also seen him appear on TV's Carols By Candlelight in 1999 and 2002 where his strong voice proved worthy of the christmas classics. He has also made a special guest appearance on ABC doctor drama GP and hosted Animal Hospital.
Tom returned to the world of theatre in April 2004 in the lead role of Leo Bloom in Mel Brooks brilliantly funny musical The Producers. The all singing, all dancing, all tapping role is Tom as we have never seen him before. Tom co starred with Reg Livermore, Bert Newton and Chloe Dallimore.
In 2010/11 Tom can be seen in the play Snow on Mars, the movie The Cup, and at a venue near you with his night of swing Now We're Swinging.
While on tour with How To Succeed he met singer and dancer Mandy Carnie. They married in December 1996 and had their first child Mia in April '99. Son Guy followed in March 2001. Daughter Ricky was born in 2007.
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