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Remembered Today:

Jon Blake


Will O'Brien
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Sort of on topic given the roles this actor undertook..................A question which suddenly occurred to me today (for no particular reason) that one of our Australian Pals or a TV/Film buff may know.................I recall that the actor Jon Blake who played Flannagan in ANZAC's & Scotty in The Lighthorsemen was very seriously hurt in a car accident shortly after the Lighthorsemen was filmed & that his injuries left him with permanent brain damage & in a semi-vegetative state (if that is the correct terminology). I also seem to remember that the insurance company of person who caused the accident had to pay out substantial sums for Jon Blakes care...............My question is.......does anyone know whether Jon Blake's condition has improved at all since the accident (almost twenty years has now gone by)

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Will,

Just put a search into comp with Jon Blake Australian actor. This is some of what i found.

Actor's $33m damages cut By ANABEL DEAN 12/02/1997 Sydney Morning Herald

The record $33 million compensation awarded to Jon Blake, the crippled actor once described as "the new Mel Gibson", has been overturned in the NSW Court of Appeal and is expected to be cut to about $9 million.

The court will confirm the final amount this afternoon.

Mr Blake, 38, was awarded Australia's highest damages payout after a car accident on the last day of filming The Lighthorsemen, in December 1986, left him severely brain-damaged and quadriplegic.

The State Government Insurance Commission of South Australia claimed the assessment of damages for loss of earning capacity was grossly excessive and flawed.

Yesterday, the Court of Appeal ruled that the trial judge, Justice Hulme, had used a "fundamentally erroneous" method to calculate $33,384,041.

He had accepted there were four possible career paths with varying levels of success in Australia and the United States. It was calculated that Mr Blake had a 15 per cent chance of following in the footsteps of Mel Gibson and attaining superstar status, a 35 per cent chance of considerable success in Hollywood, a 25 per cent chance of moderate success, and a 25 per cent chance of remaining in Australia to pursue acting.

Justice Clarke, presiding on the Appeal Court, said the possibilities were infinite and the calculation method had failed to take into account that Mr Blake might have disliked Hollywood, or preferred stage acting, or been unsuccessful in the United States or disliked the lifestyle of a film actor.

The chance that Mr Blake "would be the one among a great many to become a superstar was so speculative that it is impossible to assess".

Appeal court slashes actor's compensation to $7 million By LOUISE MARTIN Sydney Morning Herald/The Age 13/02/1997

The $33.3 million compensation payment to the actor Jon Blake was yesterday reduced to $7.67 million by the New South Wales Court of Appeal.

Blake was awarded the payment when a car crash on the last day of the filming of The Lighthorsemen in 1986 left him severely brain damaged and a quadriplegic.

The State Government Insurance Commission of South Australia said the assessment of damages for loss of earning capacity was excessive and flawed. The Court of Appeal ruled the Supreme Court judge Justice Robert Hulme had used an erroneous method to calculate the payment.

Justice Hulme had said Blake had a 15 per cent chance of attaining superstar status and a 35 per cent chance of considerable success in Hollywood.

Justice Clarke of the NSW Appeal Court said the chance that Blake "would be the one among a great many to become a superstar was so speculative that it was impossible to assess". -- with Sydney Morning Herald

Blake, his mum and his mates. By BRETT THOMAS 16/02/1997 Sun Herald

JON Blake wasn't at the court hearing that changed his life last week.

Like every other day since his release from an Adelaide hospital in 1987, he was at the Castlecrag home of his devoted mother, Mascot , while an Appeals Court judge decided on the $33 million compensation awarded to Blake, 38, in 1995.

Blake, who was left severely brain damaged when his car crashed after the wrap-up party for his last movie, The Lighthorsemen, in 1986, can move his legs and, with the help of a speech therapist, says his mother, is trying to talk.

"He's good," Mrs Blake said. "He's down on the floor having a kick and trying terrifically hard to talk. He's getting there but we don't have the facilities in this country for the type of specialised things he needs."

Mrs Blake, hinting that further legal action could be ahead, would not comment on Justice Clarke's decision to slash the compensation payout by $22 million but friends and colleagues were perplexed by the dramatic turnaround.

"It's a great pity and a big disappointment," said producer Hal McElroy, who was one of many in the movie and television industries who gave testimonials on Blake's talent at the original compensation hearing.

"For a start he had to wait something like nine years for the first decision after suffering tremendously traumatic injuries. It seems extraordinary that the first decision was perceived to be so wrong - this is a significant reduction."

Actor and author Peter Phelps reckoned his mate wouldn't have even cared about the money.

"Jon just wanted to act," said Phelps, who starred with the one-time up-and-coming young star in the fateful The Lighthorsemen. "Even if he got $100 million, I'm sure I'd know what he'd really want - he'd like to keep working in the acting profession."

Blake was once confidently described by peers and a Supreme Court judge as "the next Mel Gibson".

But last week's decision by Justice Clarke - in which future earnings originally based on a stellar, Gibson-like career were amended to those of one of Blake's Lighthorsemen co-stars.

Now Blake will be known as the actor who might have been the next Gary Sweet or the next Peter Phelps.

One of those men is Actor C, the unidentified young performer whose career path following that film was used as the basis for Justice Clarke's new ruling in the Appeals Court.

The most likely candidate is Sweet, now Australia's biggest male television star. According to Business Review Weeklymagazine, Sweet, starring in Channel 10's new series Big Sky, earned $700,000 in 1995. That's a great salary by Australian standards but pales into insignificance behind Gibson's estimated earnings for the same year of $16 million.

Sweet would not comment. A spokeswoman said, however: "Gary Sweet is not Actor C."

60 Minutes - Channel 9. The Fight Of His Life: Jon Blake's Battle September 19, 1999

Reporter - Jeff McMullen. Producers - Andrew Corbett-Jones, Cliff Neville.

Jon Blake was once the rising star of Australian film with a career ahead of him so promising that a court awarded him $32 million damages for the car accident that left him brain damaged and paralysed.An appeal reduced that to $7 million %4 still enough, you might think, for Jon Blake to continue receiving the medical care he needs.Not so. As his mother, Mascot, reveals to Jeff McMullen, legal fees as well as bureaucratic and medical costs have whittled away Blake's nest-egg to the extent there's only enough to last him the next eight years.She tells of her 13-year battle with bureaucracy to manage her son's care - a battle she says she is fighting for the hundreds of others who are in dispute with an all-powerful but little known government agency called the Office of the Protective Commissioner.

Film star's court costs `scandalous'. By Ben Hills 09/09/2000 Sydney Morning Herald

Last month came the good news. Mrs Mascot Blake was cautiously celebrating her victory in a six-year tug-of-war with the NSW guardianship authorities for the right to care for her terribly injured son, the former movie star Jon Blake.

This week she was devastated to learn that most of the costs of the Supreme Court case, estimated at $750,000, would have to be paid out of Jon's estate, originally an $8 million damages award which has now dwindled to less than half that.

``I think it is absolutely scandalous that I should have to battle these people all these years, and then when I win, the court should take the money out of his estate, all he has to support him for the rest of his life," Mrs Blake said.

Jon, now aged 40, has been lying severely brain-damaged and quadriplegic in specially built quarters under their home in Castlecrag for 14 years. He needs 24-hour-a-day nursing, which costs about $6,000 a week.

Jon, once hailed as ``the next Mel Gibson", was injured when his car crashed near Port Augusta.

Ever since Blake was awarded an Australian record $33 million damages in 1995 (it was reduced on appeal), NSW guardianship authorities have taken control of his finances, and have been trying to remove him from his mother's home. In a series of bitterly fought cases, Mrs Blake, a feisty 74-year-old, has won guardianship of her son, and in August Supreme Court Justice David Hodgson ordered his financial affairs to be taken out of the hands of the Office of the Protective Commissioner and managed by the Perpetual Trustee Company.

However, this week Justice Hodgson ruled that Jon Blake should pay all the costs of the case, apart from those incurred since last August when the office ignored a settlement offer.

This will mean that of the $9.5 million Blake received ($8 million plus interest) five years ago, more than half has been spent.

Seems he suffered sever brain damage and never recovered to act again.

great shame

Arm.

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Will,

I was not aware of his condition until you posted. I wondered why he never emerged into other things.

I know that Anzacs is not that accurate but it is still one of the best WW1 programs i have watched. Lighthorseman was also a good film.

regards

Arm

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At last I have found some up to date information on Jon Blakes condition but is anyone aware of an address to which I can write to contact his mother or carers or even press agent etc?

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Several years ago the Radio Times printed an appeal for people not to write to Jon or his family. That must have been a long time ago, possibly after one of the reshowings of 'Anzacs'. I'd like to see the series again, particularly as I missed the first couple of episodes. I've no doubt mentioned this before on the forum, but as I recall the show became a hit in the UK by accident. The BBC was showing it on weekday afternoons and lots of people saw the odd episode while off work/school during a spell of wintry weather. There were so many enquiries about it that the Corporation repeated it very quickly in a primetime slot.

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Several years ago the Radio Times printed an appeal for people not to write to Jon or his family. That must have been a long time ago, possibly after one of the reshowings of 'Anzacs'. I'd like to see the series again, particularly as I missed the first couple of episodes. I've no doubt mentioned this before on the forum, but as I recall the show became a hit in the UK by accident. The BBC was showing it on weekday afternoons and lots of people saw the odd episode while off work/school during a spell of wintry weather. There were so many enquiries about it that the Corporation repeated it very quickly in a primetime slot.

Met Jon through "The Lighthorseman" (I was an extra) - nice fella. Found we had a couple of common acquaintances.

From what I am led to believe he has not improved markedly.

Cheers

Edward

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  • 2 weeks later...
I know that Anzacs is not that accurate but it is still one of the best WW1 programs i have watched.

Though it was extremely corny and cheesey in parts, it was damn entertaining and extremely watchable. In fact I just watched the first 4 parts again yesterday (original 1980's TV video recording - afraid that the 5th episode was KIA on re-wind!!!).

Sorry to hear about Jon Blake. I, too, was unaware of his condition :(

Dave.

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I'd like to see the series again, particularly as I missed the first couple of episodes.

Mark.

I think I'll get the first 4 surviving episodes convirted to DVD in the next week or so (shame about my episode 5!). Send me a PM if you want a copy of them.

Dave.

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Mark.

I think I'll get the first 4 surviving episodes convirted to DVD in the next week or so (shame about my episode 5!). Send me a PM if you want a copy of them.

Dave.

Dave

Just sent you an email about your missing in action episode 5

John

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Hi -jacking the thread slightly, does anyone else remember an Australian series called 1915? It featured an actress called Sigrid Thornton and 2 lads, one blond the other dark.The lads go to gallipoli, one becomes a sniper and is badly wounded in the head, the other is taken prisoner.

Is this ringing any bells?

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Michelle

I remember the series; it was made in the early 1980s and featured Scott Burgess as Billy McKenzie and Scott McGregor as Walter Gilchrist . The scenes where the two young soldiers from the bush met the family of the city girl that one of them (McKenzie?) fancied, looked like they were shot in Mosman. The trees along Bradleys Head Road, that would have been fairly newly planted in 1915, were fully grown in the backgrounds.

The book on which it was based was recently re-released, see http://www.dymocks.com.au/ContentDynamic/F...ISBN=1740511298

Regards

Gareth

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How many episodes were there, Dave? Am I right in thinking that they split it up differently when it was repeated? My favourite sequence was the Third Ypres pillbox attack which struck me as pretty authentic when I first saw it. 'Blooie' the Lewis Gunner was a classic 'digger' type.

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Hi -jacking the thread slightly, does anyone else remember an Australian series called 1915? It featured an actress called Sigrid Thornton and 2 lads, one blond the other dark.The lads go to gallipoli, one becomes a sniper and is badly wounded in the head, the other is taken prisoner.

Is this ringing any bells?

Ah Sigrid Thornton...............any man of my age should remember her

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How many episodes were there, Dave? Am I right in thinking that they split it up differently when it was repeated?

I don't know about the repeat, but I recorded all 5 episodes of the original showing.

Dave.

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Just sent you an email about your missing in action episode 5

Thanks very much for that, John. I've replied to your email.

(PS. my episode 5 isn't missing in action , it's definately dead - I saw him fall and I buried him (in the bin) with my own hands!!! :D )

Dave.

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Hi Michelle

I saw a few episodes of this series again recently as it was on a cable station in April. They showed all the episodes in one day, though unfortunately I only saw a few of them.

When I originally saw it I remember it being quite a good series.

Scott Burgess, who played Billy, has appeared in a few series in the last 10 or so years, one of which was Water Rats which was about the Water Police in Sydney.

Cheers

Andrew

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