He was the star of a film which won twelve local and international film awards in 1992. Do you know who he is?
He was the star of a film which won twelve local and international film awards in 1992. Do you know who he is?

Who is this 90s sex symbol?

IN 1992 his slinky body slid across the stage in an iconic Australian movie which won twelve local and international film awards and made him an instant star.

The son of a US character actor, he had enjoyed a stage career in another form of entertainment before the role which made him a household name.

It paved the way for a string of movie credits which saw his career on a high burn for the rest of that decade, with guest appearances in some of Australia's most highly acclaimed TV shows and starring stage roles.

It led to a collaboration with Hollywood stars like Will Smith and an American TV campaign for Coca-Cola.

But when he appeared on television last week, as a guest celebrity contestant on the new Rove McManus TV show, his mature appearance had audiences guessing.

Can you guess who the balding man with the Dad bod and the refreshing lack of ego is?

This affable father of three and guest celebrity on the new Rove movie show was a film star and sex symbol of the 1990s.
This affable father of three and guest celebrity on the new Rove movie show was a film star and sex symbol of the 1990s.

Yes, it's Strictly Ballroom star Paul Mercurio.

He appeared on Rove’s new ‘Show Me the Movies’.
He appeared on Rove’s new ‘Show Me the Movies’.

The fact that the now 54-year-old father of three and affable cooking show host is largely unrecognisable was blatantly pointed out when Rove's "Show Me The Movies" featured on Gogglebox on Easter Thursday.

As Gogglebox contestants gasped and gawked at Mercurio's middle-aged looks and receding hairline, one of them quipped, "Strictly Baldroom more like it".

Mercurio was a ballet dancer as a child, the son of gravel-voiced American actor Gus Mercurio OAM, whose 60-year performing career spanned radio, television and film.

Paul Mercurio in the role that made him famous, as the lead in Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom.
Paul Mercurio in the role that made him famous, as the lead in Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom.

Paul Mercurio was appointed principal dancer with the Sydney Dance Company, while still a teenager, and held the position for a decade.

Paul Mercurio revisits his starring role on the 25th anniversary of Strictly Ballroom last year.
Paul Mercurio revisits his starring role on the 25th anniversary of Strictly Ballroom last year.

He went on to found the Australian Choreographic Ensemble, but cast in his film debut in the leading role of Baz Luhrmann's Strictly Ballroom he swept to fame in 1992.

More Australian films like Cosi and Welcome to Woop Woop were to follow, and roles in Blue Heelers, All Saints, Murder Call, Medivac, Heartbreak High and Water Rats.

He won the lead role in the Emmy award-winning US TV miniseries The Bible: Joseph, and acted as a movement consultant on the Will Smith movie I, Robot.

Mercurio was a judge on Dancing With The Stars in both Australia and New Zealand, and more recently hosted cooking show Mercurio's Menu which highlights regional Australian cuisine.

He has been married to his wife Andrea for 30 years and they have three adult daughters, Elise, Emily and Erin.

Mercurio on the set of Show Me The Movies on Channel Ten last week.
Mercurio on the set of Show Me The Movies on Channel Ten last week.
His hit movie made him an international name.
His hit movie made him an international name.
Mercurio (right) and co-star Tara Morice bust a move on the set of 1992’s Strictly Ballroom.
Mercurio (right) and co-star Tara Morice bust a move on the set of 1992’s Strictly Ballroom.
Paul Mercurio and his wife Andrea with their three daughters Elise, Emily and Erin.
Paul Mercurio and his wife Andrea with their three daughters Elise, Emily and Erin.


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