I have been collecting newspaper and magazine articles on Tom since 1980. Where possible I have listed the name of the reporter and the publication as well as the date. My record keeping as a kid was not great so many of the articles had no dates !! I still have 20 years worth of articles to type out or scan - depending on the quality so please visit again soon. Due to the sizes of some of the articles - please be patient while the pages load.
A Portrait of Tom Burlinson, by Alison Gardner. Magazine unknown. Early 1980.
"After too long in a soap opera it can be dangerous, especially when you are starting your career, because you can become typecast." said 24 year old Tom. "I had been with The Restless Years for 16 months and I felt that was enough. So I quit and I hope I can now leave Mickey Pratt behind me."
Tom never dreamed of being an actor, "Right up until halfway through 6th form at age ten I was going to be a lawyer. Then my class did a 19th century melodrama My Fair Lady and I got to dress up in a top hat and a black cape and wore a big black moustache and I thought it was wonderful. I thought about it for a while and decided that I didnt want to be a lawyer anymore I wanted to be an actor. I knew my father wasnt pleased but, anyway, I went ahead and auditioned for NIDA (National Institute of Dramatic Art) and, to every ones surprise including my own I got in."
Three years later Tom emerged as a qualified actor and, diploma in hand, he started doing the rounds. Since his graduation from NIDA Tom has been in work much more than he has been out of it. Two months after leaving NIDA his agent sent him for an audition with the Queensland Theater Company in Brisbane. The part was a 15 year old manic depressive cockney boy in a play called For Years I Couldn't Wear Black. Tom was 21 !.
The director of the Twelfth Night Theater thought Tom was pretty good and offered him a part in a play called Dangerous Corner. "It was a very different part," Tom recalled, "I had to play a 26 year old closet queen." A further stint with the Queensland Theater Co lead to a role in The Merchant of Venice.
Tom then landed a role in an ABC TV production, Kirby's Company, but the series only lasted 6 months. Tom then had parts in Cop Shop and Glenview High before heading back to the theater in an Irish play called "Da". "I wrote out my whole script phonetically to teach myself the Irish accent and it worked." Said Tom.
While Tom was still in The Restless Years he got a part in the play Tribute, where he played the teenage son, Jud, of a has been actor. So he televised The Restless Years during the day and played in Tribute at night.
"This country is great for young actors. Nowhere could you come out of drama school and work consistently for three years like I have. I have worked on TV and the stage and soon, I hope, I'll act in films. But I think actors here reach a point where they cant go any further because the market is so small. When that happens I'll go overseas to work. That's one of my long term plans." says an enthusiastic Tom.
Another of Toms long term plans is marriage and fatherhood. "I can see myself getting married one day. I think having a child is the greatest responsibility in your life apart from the responsibility to yourself."
Right now Tom is concentrating on himself. At the moment he is touring South Australia with a play called One Day Of The Year. "I hope that in the future audiences will see me as someone other than Mickey Pratt. Its going to be hard getting away from him."
But Tom should have no trouble leaving Mickey behind him as long as he remembers some of the Shakespeare he learned - that all the world is his stage.
Tom Is The Man. By Fiona Manning. Magazine unknown. Early 1981.
The first thing you notice about Tom Burlinson is his tanned weather beaten face and ever present smile. Despite recent lean times the former Restless Years star has good reason to smile these days. Cast in the lead role of the movie The Man From Snowy River, currently being made in Victoria, the young actor has landed one of the most coveted roles in films this year.
"The Man is described as a stripling, a young 18 year old who loved the mountains and the freedom to roam in them," says 25 year old Tom of his character Jim Craig. For Tom, the part of the young horseman is a far cry from his part of the troubled but lovable Mickey Pratt in Tens soap The Restless Years.
Tom knew about the part of Jim Craig last October and found it difficult to keep his mouth shut until contracts were signed and announcements made. "I am really enjoying working with Kirk Douglas. I think he is a great actor and he has lots of stories to tell about acting." Tom says.
To train for all the riding sequences, Tom swam daily in the Melbourne Olympic Pool and developed muscles he never knew he had. He also took horsemanship lessons. "At first I found it a chore but now riding horses is a real pleasure as well as being a necessity for the film."
The Man From Snowy River. By Richard L'Estrange. The Western Mail Magazine (Perth TV Guide). Feb 20th 1982.
Kirk Douglas flies into the tiny Victorian town of Mansfield next month for the world premier of his latest movie, The Man From Snowy River. But Douglas won't be the one grabbing the headlines that night. Tom Burlinson and the horse Aces Wild are the real stars of the film scheduled to open in Perth on March 26. (delayed to May 4th).
He breeds a small and weedy beast which is to prove to be a hardy mountain pony for the man from Snowy River when the chase is on. Tom Burlinson fairly well steals the film as Jim Craig, the man from Snowy River.
Plucked from the ruck of 2000 young men considered for the part, Burlinson was exactly what the producers were looking for. "Exactly the same thing happened when we had to find another key actor the horse to play the colt." said Geoff Burrows, producer. "When we finally found him Aces High there was no doubt he was the horse, just like Tom Burlinson was the man."
There is a heartstopping scene when Jack Thompson as Clancy draws back from "that terrible descent" but young Burlinson plunges down. After that plunge, Burlinson rides the wild bush horses into submission and alone and unassisted brings them back.
Burlinson delivers a polished performance in the movie, despite his admission of almost constant nerves. "The thought of playing a legend in Australian literature was a little more than daunting, especially when you consider it was my first film," he says, "but I quickly realised it was a case of getting my head down and getting on with the job.
Since the end of filming, Burlinson has had a short rest before a heavy schedule of promotional visits and press conferences. "I enjoy it, its something I expected. I realised my life would have to change a bit now I just have to handle it." At the moment his future is still undecided. "The nature of this business depends on the opportunities presented and how you respond to them. I am yet to experience the professional reaction to my effort in The Man From Snowy River. Whatever happens I will just try and keep working and keep working at becoming a better actor."
Tom Takes Stock. By Prue MacSween. TV Week. July 24 1982.
The dust has settled after the stampeding success of The Man From Snowy River and its time for Tom Burlinson, the actor who played a legend, to take stock.
A household name since the film broke box office records here, he devoted a year and a half of his life to the project and is expected to visit America next month to promote the film when it is launched there.
Riding on a wave of success to overnight stardom, living with the legend and becoming part of a merchandising machine that is churning out jeans, records and books, Tom remains philosophical with his feet planted firmly on the ground.
"Its certainly made me aware of things in me that I didn't know were there. I haven't really thought about the effects that this instant stardom has had. I don't know whether I have changed because of it. I hope not." he said.
"I think it has made me a bit wary of people. I've met some people who had no time for me before and all of a sudden they come on as though they are my best friends. You know its all nonsense. At the moment I am on the crest of a wave with Snowy River but, hopefully, that will lead to another wave.".
Tom admits it took him a long time to adjust to Sydney living after being in the country for 5 months filming Snowy.
Like Jim Craig, who had to prove himself to be a man, Tom has proved he is one of our leading actors by meeting the challenge of his first film role and coming through with flying colours. "What it was about was commitment and going for it and proving myself in these respects, in terms of the riding and all the practical side of it in he acting. That's why it was it was personally and professionally an amazing development."
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