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Australian actor Alan Hopgood, known for his roles in Neighbours, Prisoner and Bellbird, has died at the age of 87 after a long battle with prostate cancer.
The Tasmanian-born author, actor and playwright passed away in Melbourne on Saturday and is survived by his wife Gay, son Sam, daughter Finci and four grandsons.
Alan played the character of Jack Lassiter on Neighbours in 1986, before making a brief return to Erinsborough in 2013. At the time, Jack held the record for the longest time span between two on-screen appearances for a character on the show.
He also wrote 22 episodes of the long-running soap opera between 1998 and 2001.
Alan’s death has sparked an outpouring of tributes, with a close friend describing him as a “wonderful man”.
“He was in just about every Australian TV show, he’s had a role in all of them,” they told the Herald Sun. “His most famous work was in 1963 when he wrote the first play about football. That was a huge success in Melbourne and everybody wanted to go and see it because all of a sudden there was a play written about football.
“He was a wonderful man and the other great thing about him is everyone always used to say that he was such a charming person.”
Fans also took to social media to pay their respects to the actor and celebrate his life.
“RIP Alan Hopgood. Although never a Ramsay Street regular, his presence looms large on the show right to the end. Really pleased we got to have that swan song storyline for Jack Lassiter in recent years,” one person tweeted.
“I knew Alan Hopgood a bit over quite a few years,” another shard. “Amenable, witty, a writer, great company and a family man. I am very sad that he has lost the battle - one he fought with equanimity and courage. Vale. Best wishes to Gay and family.”
“From year 10 teachers everywhere who’ve been using And The Big Men Fly as a text for reading-resistant youth since Alan Hopgood wrote this great play about footy in 1963. RIP,” someone else said.
After being diagnosed with prostate cancer in the ‘90s, Alan released a book in 1996 titled Surviving Prostate Cancer – One Man’s Journey documenting his experience with the disease.
He also wrote 11 plays about his health and spoke openly about his ongoing battle with cancer at comedy shows and seminars, and in 2006 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to the performing arts and to the community through raising awareness of men's health issues.
He worked alongside several big-name actors across his decades-spanning career in the entertainment industry, including Meryl Streep, Brooke Shields, Sam Neill and Judy Davis.
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