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What famous actors started in Neighbours? 11 stars who shot to fame

Kylie and Jason hug on Ramsay Street as Neighbours icons Scott and Charlene
Kylie and Jason on Ramsay Street as Neighbours icons Scott and Charlene. (Image credit: Channel 5)

It’s time to say farewell to Neighbours as the Australian soap reaches its emotional finale. For 37 years, viewers have been following the lives and loves of the residents of Ramsay Street, and have taken its characters into their hearts.

So, what famous actors started in Neighbours? The soap has been responsible for launching the careers of some of the biggest names in the world of showbiz — from pop superstar Kylie Minogue, to Hollywood heartthrobs Chris and Liam Hemsworth, and A-list royalty Russell Crowe and Margot Robbie.

All of these talented actors saw their careers propel into the stratosphere after their stint on Ramsay Street, and went on to achieve incredible successes in the film, theatre and music industries. And they aren’t the only ones.

What famous actors started in Neighbours? Let’s take a look at the top 11 celebrities who gained worldwide fame after saying so long to Soapland...

Kylie Minogue (Charlene Robinson)

Kylie Minogue

Kylie's incredible pop career has spanned over three decades. (Image credit: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

Melbourne-born Kylie Minogue didn’t have to travel far to work when she landed the part of garage mechanic Charlene Mitchell in 1986. Shortly after her arrival, Kylie began an on and off-screen romance with co-star Jason Donovan (who played Scott Robinson), which gained the couple an army of adoring fans. Kylie starred in Neighbours for just over two years, before embarking on a music career which, to date, has seen her sell a staggering 80 million records worldwide. 

Constantly reinventing her image, Kylie has been responsible for delivering dance floor fillers such as "Spinning Around", "On A Night Like This" and "Get Can’t You Out of My Head". She’s won a Grammy, three Brits and 17 ARIA Music Awards, is the recipient of an OBE and even launched her own wine label during the pandemic. 

And now 24 years on from her Neighbours departure, Kylie has stepped back into Charlene’s boiler suit to reprise her iconic role one last time. The Princess of Pop may be a global superstar, but she hasn’t forgotten her roots.

 Jason Donovan (Scott Robinson)

Guy Pearce and Jason Donovan

Jason Donovan (right) stole hearts as Neighbours' Scott Robinson. (Image credit: Freemantle)

Jason Donovan was the second actor to play Scott Robinson, after replacing Darius Perkins in 1986. With his blonde hair and blue eyes, handsome Scott became the show’s male pin up, and his romance with Charlene Mitchell, played by Kylie Minogue, gained attention across the globe. 

Hysteria reached fever pitch when Jason and Kylie revealed they were dating in real life, and a whopping 20 million viewers tuned in to watch their characters tie the knot. After launching his music career in 1988 while he was still appearing in Neighbours, Jason has enjoyed four UK number ones, including his duet with Kylie, Especially For You. He made the switch from screen to stage in 1991, taking the West End by storm playing the lead in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. And in 2019 Jason returned to the London Palladium in a new production of Joseph, this time as the Pharaoh. 

Having watched his daughter Jemma follow in his footsteps (she played Neighbours Harlow Robinson from 2019 to 2022), Jason is returning to where it all began and reprising his role of Scott for Neighbours last ever episode.

Russell Crowe (Kenny Larkin)

Russell Crowe

Russell Crowe won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2001. (Image credit: Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

Russell Crowe originally hailed from New Zealand, but moved to Australia permanently at the age of 21. In 1987 he had a four-episode stint on Neighbours, playing Kenny Larkin, the former cellmate of Street resident Henry Ramsay. Fast forward 14 years and Russell had become a fully-fledged Hollywood A-lister after winning the Best Actor Oscar for his standout performance as Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius in Gladiator. And his trophy collection quickly grew, scooping Golden Globe and BAFTA gongs for his role as mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr in the biopic A Beautiful Mind

Although famed for typically playing the hard man, Russell has proved himself to be a versatile talent and showcased his live singing skills in the musical drama Les Misérables.

Chris Hemsworth (Jamie Kane) and Liam Hemsworth (Josh Taylor)

Former Neighbours stars Chris and Liam Hemsworth

Hunky brothers Chris and Liam Hemsworth are Hollywood hot property. (Image credit: Getty Images)

Hollywood’s hottest siblings, Chris and Liam Hemsworth both got their big breaks on Aussie soaps. Before becoming a regular in Home and Away, Chris appeared in a single episode of Neighbours, playing mechanic Jamie Kane in 2002. And five years later, younger brother Liam joined the cast as Josh Taylor, a wheelchair-bound teen who’d been paralyzed after a surfing accident. 

After quitting their respective soaps, the brothers moved Stateside and their careers skyrocketed. Chris has starred in several huge franchises, including The Avengers and Thor, while Liam is best known for playing Gale Hawthorne in The Hunger Games movies and his former marriage to singer Miley Cyrus.

Margot Robbie (Donna Freedman)

Margot Robbie

Margot Robbie is playing the lead role of Barbie in the upcoming movie. (Image credit: Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Queensland born and bred, Margot Robbie was a regular in Neighbours for three years, playing Donna Freedman between 2008 and 2011. Originally brought in as an obsessive fan of musician Ty Harper, Donna chilled out and made friends with her fellow teens on Ramsay Street. The character’s storylines included an affair with Andrew Robinson, same-sex snog with Sunny Lee and marriage to Ringo Brown. 

After deciding not to renew her contract, Margot spoke about her desire to crack Hollywood and achieved her goal by landing the lead role of Naomi Lapaglia in The Wolf of Wall Street, opposite Leonardo DiCaprio. Ranked by Forbes magazine in 2019 as one of the world’s highest-paid actresses, Margot has received Academy Award nominations for her performances in I, Tonya and Bombshell. In 2016, she married filmmaker Tom Ackerley, and together they co-founded LuckyChap Entertainment, which has produced several film and TV shows, including the miniseries, Maid.

It's been confirmed Margot will be making one last appearance as Donna, via Zoom, for the Neighbours' grand finale. And she will also be seen in the movie Barbie.

Guy Pearce (Mike Young)

Guy Pearce

Guy Pearce reprised his role as Mike Young for the final episodes of Neighbours. (Image credit: Dominik Bindl/Getty Images)

English born Guy Pearce was in his final year of school when he won the part of Mike Young in 1986. A newcomer to television, Guy had only ever acted in amateur theatre. 

During his three years in Erinsborough, Mike trained to be a maths teacher, enjoyed a romance with Jane Harris and was bessie mates with Scott and Charlene. 

After quitting the soap in 1989, Guy gained international recognition for his role in the Aussie movie, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. He’s starred in Hollywood blockbusters such as The King’s Speech and Memento, and received a Primetime Emmy for Mildred Pierce. Guy, was delighted to be asked to reprise his role for the star-studded Neighbours finale and revealed his former co-star Kate Winslet was "beside herself" when she found out he was returning.

Natalie Imbruglia (Beth Brennan)

Natalie Imbruglia

Natalie's debut single Torn was a huge hit in the UK. (Image credit: Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images)

Natalie Imbruglia's character Beth Brennan was originally written into Neighbours for a few weeks, but ended up staying two years. Unlike the other girls in Ramsay Street at the time, Beth was a tomboy and worked as a trainee builder in construction, but when it came to men she was bit of a pushover. Her first wedding to surfer Brad Willis was a non-event after Beth realised he’d been bedding her bridesmaid, Lauren Carpenter. The couple made it second time lucky and left Erinsborough as man and wife in 1994, although their marriage didn’t last. 

After reinventing herself as a pop star, Natalie stormed the UK charts with her debut single, "Torn". The catchy song sold over four million copies worldwide, and Natalie’s career went from strength to strength — winning two BRIT awards and receiving three Grammy nominations. These days, Natalie is still making music and is a proud mummy to her two-year-old son, Max Valentine. 

Delta Goodrem (Nina Tucker)

Delta Goodrem

Songstress Delta Goodrem has scored nine number one singles. (Image credit: Photo by Don Arnold/WireImage)

Delta Goodrem had already signed a record deal with Sony Music when she was approached by the Neighbours’ producers wanting her to play aspiring singer Nina Tucker. The character was originally pitched as a bad girl, but the writers rewrote the role for Delta, and Nina was introduced to audiences in June 2002 as a shy girl-next-door type. Her appearance in the show helped re-launch Delta's music career, and her piano-based ballad ‘Born to Try’ topped the charts in Australia and reached number three in the UK. 

After being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, the actress took a break from filming to undergo treatment, but returned 2004 to tie up Nina’s storylines. In 2005, she made an appearance in a special episode to mark Neighbours’ 20th anniversary and returned again in March 2015 for its 30th celebrations. To date, Delta has achieved nine number-one singles, and has appeared as a judge on several seasons of The Voice Australia. And she's back on our screens this week, as Nina joins fellow former Ramsay Street residents say goodbye in the show's finale.

Alan Dale (Jim Robinson)

Former Neighbours star Alan Dale

Neighbours OG Alan Dale succeeded in cracking America. (Image credit: Getty)

One of Neighbours’ original 12 cast members, Alan Dale made his debut as Jim Robinson on 18 March 1985. As the head of the Robinson clan, widower Jim lived at Number 26 Ramsay Street with his children Paul, Julie, Scott and Lucy, and was a real anchor in the community. Alan stayed with the show for eight years, before his character was killed off in dramatic scenes aired in 1993. 

After initially struggling to find work in Oz, which he blamed on being typecast, the star relocated to America in 2000 to join their audition circuit. It turned out to be a very wise move, and roles in hit shows such as Ugly Betty, 24, Lost and The O.C have made Alan a recognizable face on US television.

Holly Valance (Felicity Scully)

Former Neighbours star Holly Valance

Holly Valance is the ultimate triple threat - she can sing, dance and act. (Image credit: Getty)

Holly Valance had only previously acted in commercials when she successfully auditioned for the part of Felicity "Flick’"Scully in 1999. Arriving on Ramsay Street with the rest of the Scully clan, feisty Flick didn’t have any trouble attracting the opposite sex and often found herself caught up in love triangles. 

The most famous of these was when she fell for sister Steph’s fiancé, Marc, and their affair was exposed in dramatic style on the couple’s wedding day. After three years on the show, Holly left to focus on her music career and scored a UK number one with her debut single, "Kiss Kiss". 

She didn’t give up on her acting, and relocated to Los Angeles where she had roles in films including DOA: Dead or Alive and Taken, and appeared in episodes CSI: Miami and Entourage. In 2009, Holly returned to the UK and took part in the 2011 series of Strictly Come Dancing. She currently lives in the Cotswolds with her billionaire property developer husband Nick Candy and their two young daughters.

 

Fans will be able to watch the antepenultimate episode of Neighbours at the usual time of 1:45pm and 6pm on Friday, July 29 followed by the history-making finale which will air as a double episode special at 9pm the same evening.

After the final episode Channel 5 will also air two special Neighbours documentaries — Neighbours Made Me A Star at 10:05pm, followed by Neighbours Greatest Hits at 11:30pm.

Laura Morgan
Laura Morgan

Laura has been a journalist for over a decade, writing about soaps, TV entertainment, fashion, beauty, and food. After graduating from university, she started her career working at a national soap and TV magazine. During her seven-year stint there she joined the cast of Emmerdale for a tour around the famous village, partied with soap stars at awards bashes, interviewed her acting idol David Suchet, and sat in the front row of Strictly Come Dancing

Her heart lies with the soaps, and her all-time favourite character has to be EastEnders' Pat Butcher - no one rocked a big earring quite like her. She's also a huge fan of detective crime dramas, particularly old school Inspector Morse, Endeavour, and adaptations of Agatha Christie's Marple and Poirot. When she's not writing, she loves a spot of second-hand shopping and going on adventures with her young son.