TV

Logies career launches: From Most Popular New Talent to global superstardom

The stars who made it big after their Logie Award win!

By Thomas Mitchell

Some of Australia's brightest stars got their start on local television shows. Along with their break-out roles on Aussie series, often came nominations at the TV WEEK Logie Awards.

From Chris Hemsworth, to Simon Baker, plenty of the Logies' Most Popular New Talent winners have gone on to enjoy success in blockbuster films and critically acclaimed shows.

Click through to see all the actors who went from winning a Graham Kennedy Award for Most Popular New Talent gong at the Logies, to global super-stardom.

1. CHRIS HEMSWORTH

Chris Hemsworth with his co-star Bec Hewitt.
Chris Hemsworth with his co-star Bec Hewitt.

Remember when Chris Hemsworth was just a pupil at Summer Bay High? TV WEEK readers instantly knew he was destined for great things – though not many could have predicted how great those things would turn out to be.

Chris began in Home And Away in 2004, playing Kim Hyde, son of new school principal Barry (Ivar Kants). The following year, he won the Logie for Most Popular New Male Talent and was a nominee for Most Popular Actor.

He had an eventful three years in the show, which saw him on several TV WEEK covers. Highlights included believing he was the father of Hayley's (Bec Cartwright) baby, dating – and later marrying – his doctor Rachel (Amy Mathews), and impregnating Kit (Amy Mizzi) while stranded in the bush following a helicopter crash.

He also managed to find the time to show off his moves on Dancing With The Stars in 2006.

Chris left Home And Away in 2007 and moved to the US to try his luck. Within weeks, he was snapped up for the role of James T Kirk's (Chris Pine) father George in the movie Star Trek (2009).

Bigger roles followed in movies such as The Cabin In The Woods (2012) and Snow White And The Huntsman (2012), in which he starred opposite Kristen Stewart. But it was the title role in 2011's Thor that would set Chris on the road to superstardom. Before shooting began, he hit the gym and packed on muscle.

Chris' Thor became iconic. As well as playing the superhero in a string of films, he branched out into some very different roles. He portrayed Formula 1 champ James Hunt in Rush (2013), lost a scary amount of weight to star in In The Heart Of The Sea (2015), and showed off his comedic talent in 2016's Ghostbusters.

Based in the NSW coastal town of Byron Bay with his actress wife Elsa Pataky and their three kids, Chris, now 34, can pick and choose his roles. He has more Avengers movies to come out, the thriller Bad Times At The El Royale with Jeff Bridges, and plenty of others in the works.

2. MELISSA GEORGE

Melissa George at the Logies.
Melissa George at the Logies.

Roller-skating champion Melissa was just 16 when she moved from Perth to Sydney and stepped into the role of Angel Brooks in Home And Away.

Fans took the teen runaway to their hearts, and Angel's relationship with Shane (Dieter Brummer) was one of the most popular in H&A history. The romance ended tragically with Shane's death from blood poisoning.

"I remember that my love for acting really came from shooting the finale scene of Shane in Home And Away," Melissa has said.

She won the Logie for Most Popular New Talent in 1994, and was Most Popular Actress winner the next year and Gold nominee for two years running in '95 and '96. TV WEEK readers could see she had undeniable star quality.

It wasn't long before network execs in LA saw that too. After a memorable guest spot as a sexy nanny in Friends, Melissa scored a string of major roles. She was Lauren Reed in Alias (2003), Laura Hill in In Treatment (2008) and Dr Sadie Harris in Grey's Anatomy (2008).

Melissa returned to Australia to play mum Rosie in drama The Slap (2011), winning another Logie in 2012, then played the same character in the US version of the series.

More recently, Melissa, now 41, starred as surgeon Dr Alex Panttiere in the series Heartbeat (2016).

3. BINDI IRWIN

Bindi Irwin with her Logie award.
Bindi Irwin with her Logie award.

Bindi was nine when she won the Logie for Most Popular New Female Talent in 2008, beating out older stars such as Packed To The Rafters' Zoe Ventoura.

Of course, she wasn't a newcomer to the spotlight. As the daughter of the world-famous "Crocodile Hunter", Steve Irwin, she'd first appeared on TV at the age of two.

Bindi won the Logie for Bindi: The Jungle Girl, her wildlife series aimed at kids. She dedicated her win to her mum Terri and her dad, who'd died two years earlier.

Canny TV WEEK readers knew what they were doing when they picked Bindi. Just a month later, she became the youngest performer ever to win a Daytime Emmy Award in the US.

Since then, Bindi has been constantly in the public eye in one way or another. She showed off her acting skills by starring in Free Willy: Escape From Pirate's Cove in 2010, as well as Return To Nim's Island in 2013. She hosted the game show Bindi's Bootcamp in 2012, and also gave music a go, releasing several albums.

In 2015, Bindi won hearts in America, being crowned champion on Dancing With The Stars. One of her most emotional performances saw her dedicate "Footprints In The Sand" to her dad Steve.

"I feel that Dad is with me every day," she said on the show.

Up next for the 19-year-old: a new show on Foxtel's Animal Planet following her, Terri and brother Robert as they run Australia Zoo in Queensland and travel the world protecting animals.

4. LUKE MITCHELL

Luke Mitchell celebrates his Logies win.
Luke Mitchell celebrates his Logies win.

Luke spent his teen years on tennis courts and planned to turn pro. But fortunately for TV viewers, he switched to acting.

He made a big impact in a brief stint as Chris Knight in Neighbours in 2008, then played Will in H20: Just Add Water in 2009, before landing the role of flirty Romeo Smith in Home And Away.

In 2010, Luke beat Josh Thomas, James Stewart, Matt Preston and Charlie Pickering to take home the Logie for Most Popular New Male Talent.

In Home And Away, Romeo's love interests included Annie (Charlotte Best) and Indi (Samara Weaving). But it was Rebecca Breeds, the actress playing Ruby, who Luke fell for in real life and later married.

Luke left the drama after four years, following Romeo's diagnosis with terminal skin cancer.

"The storyline was my idea," he said at the time. "I pitched it to the writers and was thrilled they ran with it."

After moving to the US, Luke had instant success, being cast in The Tomorrow People as John Young. The sci-fi series was cancelled after one season, but Luke wasn't short of work.

Before long, he was playing "Inhuman" Lincoln Campbell in Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. After Lincoln's heartbreaking death, Luke was offered the part of Jane Doe's (Jaimie Alexander) brother Roman in Blindspot.

"It's such a different role for me," Luke, 32, says. "Every other character I played was so clean-cut."

Roles in three huge US shows already? TV WEEK readers know talent when they see it!

5. SIMON BAKER

Simon Baker at the Logies.
Simon Baker at the Logies.

TV audiences saw quite a bit of Simon before they heard him.

Simon Denny, as he was then known, featured in sexy music videos such as Melissa Tkautz's "Read My Lips" and Euphoria's "Love You Right", before being cast as Constable Sam Farrell in E Street in 1992.

Ratings for the soapie may have been dropping, but Simon was voted Best New Talent at the Logies in 1993, over Neighbours' Natalie Imbruglia.

"It's been a bit of an eye-opener this year for me," Simon said in his acceptance speech, "and it's sort of ironic, what's happening with the show."

E Street had just been axed. But it was only the beginning for the young actor. After roles in Home And Away (1993-94) and Heartbreak High (1996), he scored a small part in hit movie L.A. Confidential in 1997. Then, in 2001, came the role that made him a TV star in the US: playing Nick Fallin in The Guardian. The legal drama ran for three seasons.

Simon starred in a string of movies, including The Devil Wears Prada in 2006, before being cast as Patrick Jane in The Mentalist in 2008. The show saw Simon nominated for an Emmy Award in 2009.

Now 48, he recently directed his first movie, Breath. Based on the bestselling Tim Winton novel, Simon also stars in it. There's nothing he can't do!

6. STEPHEN PEACOCKE

Steve won his Logie in 2012.
Steve won his Logie in 2012.

An ex-jackaroo and labourer, country boy Stephen brought something very real to the role of Darryl "Brax" Braxton in Home And Away – and TV WEEK readers couldn't get enough of him.

Stephen started in the show in 2011 along with Dan Ewing and Lincoln Younes, the three playing the bad-boy brothers known as The River Boys. For the first few months, Stephen was just enjoying his job.

"I remember a producer telling me that everything would change when I went to air," he says. "And I thought, 'Yeah, whatever.'"

Everything did change when The River Boys' episodes aired. Fans loved the trio, especially Brax. Stephen won the Logie for Most Popular New Talent in 2012.

The Logies just kept on coming, and he was nominated three times for the Gold gong. He was also on the cover of TV WEEK 50 times.

Brax had some emotional storylines. They included his romance with local cop Charlie (Esther Anderson), which ended with her death, and his troubled relationship with Ricky (Bonnie Sveen), who gave birth to his son.

Stephen left the drama after five years to seek work in LA. Almost immediately, he landed roles in two movies: Me Before You in 2016, with Emilia Clarke, and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot in 2016, with Tina Fey and Margot Robbie.

"I was lucky," Stephen says. "Had I not been able to grab a few jobs straight off the bat, maybe it would have been more difficult to say goodbye."

Stephen, now 36, returned home in 2016 to star in the series Wanted with Rebecca Gibney. But he's now back in LA with his actress wife Bridgette Sneddon.

For more amazing Logies stories, pick up a copy of TV WEEK's souvenir edition. On sale now!

read more from