Former Home and Away star on harsh reality of fame

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·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
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Former Home and Away star Bruce Samazan has opened up about the dark side of fame following the recent death of cast-mate Dieter Brummer.

The 50-year-old, who also starred on Neighbours and E Street in the nineties, quit acting in 2000 to become a real estate agent, telling Private Sydney, "There is definitely a shelf-life to that sort of fame."

Bruce Samazan with E Street co-star Toni Pearen
Former Home and Away star Bruce Samazan (pictured with E Street co-star Toni Pearen) has opened up on the curse of starring on the Aussie soap after the death of Dieter Brummer. Photo: Getty

"I’d go to auditions and be told that I was too commercial, that I had no creditability as a serious actor because I’d done soaps ... eventually I had no choice but to find something different, something I could rely on. For a while that was hard to accept, because TV was the most fun you could ever imagine for a young bloke."

Bruce says it was the advice of late actress Bunney Brooke, that convinced him to have a back-up plan, "She encouraged me to have a back-up plan in case it all suddenly stopped ... and she was absolutely right."

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Former Hey Dad! actress Sarah Monahan also recently reflected on the criticism child stars often receive if they choose to quit acting for a more 'normal' job.

Sarah spoke on the TV Blackbox podcast, saying it might have been difficult for Dieter after he retired from acting and began his high-rise window cleaning business.

Dieter Brummer
Dieter Brummer was sadly found dead in his home at the age of 45 on Saturday, July 24. Photo: Getty

"I think a lot of people are very unsympathetic when your flame burns early," she said.

Sarah quit acting in the early 2000s after she was sexually abused by paedophile actor Robert Hughes.

"People like to call us has-beens if we don't stay in the industry and people will be like, 'You're just a washed-up, has-been former child star.' And it's like, 'I'm sorry if I did more before I was 18 than you've done in your entire life.'"

"Just because you have not accomplished anything doesn't mean you should put down what I've done," she said.

She added that if teenagers who worked at McDonald's got another job in a different field, they wouldn't be made to feel bad for moving in a different direction, yet the same can't be said for child actors.

"For some reason, if you are a child actor and you find success, people believe that you should just keep staying in the industry and become bigger and bigger and bigger," she said.

Former Hey Dad! actress Sarah Monahan
Former Hey Dad! actress Sarah Monahan quit acting in the early 2000s. Photo: Instagram/Sarah Monahan

"I was on the most successful TV show in the country. I've done it, I'm happy. I'm no longer finding joy in this, and I prefer to move on to a different industry. And nobody else will f**king accept it. And they keep telling you that you should be doing something else."

"Maybe Dieter was very happy cleaning windows, and he found joy because it was something that was easy and simple and it didn't have the pressure of the industry," she speculated.

"But I'm sure people were still like, 'You should be, you should be, you should be.'"

Dieter spoke about his career change with TV Tonight in 2010, saying, "People say I'm just a window cleaner; in reality it's substantially more involved than that. Working at heights, it's a relatively specialist trade."

He added that he was able to use his rock-climbing skills in the new job and liked that it gave him different life experience. 

"I just wanted to get a bit of real life experience under my belt, but I'd always intended on coming back to the acting game at some point."

If you are concerned about the mental health of yourself or a loved one, seek support and information by calling Lifeline 13 11 14, Mensline 1300 789 978, or Kidshelpline 1800 551 800. Online support is available via Beyond Blue.

For sexual assault and family and domestic violence support you can call 1800respect on 1800 737 732.

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