He graced our screens as stoic sergeant Tom Croydon on Blue Heelers for more than a decade, and won three Logies, a string of nominations and legions of fans in the process.
And now John Wood devotees will be devastated to learn the veteran star has been forced to rein in his career after being diagnosed with a debilitating autoimmune disorder.
‘I now have rheumatoid arthritis which knocks me around a bit,’ he reveals to New Idea.
‘The problem I have is that I can’t do anything terribly active. I can’t bend easily and I can’t touch my toes very well and stuff like that, so it’s a bit hazardous for a working actor to be not so agile.’
While the 70-year-old, who most recently starred in an episode of True Story With Hamish & Andy, says his health has been affected by the condition, he has no plans to retire anytime soon... if ever!
‘It’s not as rough as some things, but it’s just a pest really,’ he explains.
‘I can’t imagine retiring, I don’t know how I would be able to afford it to be honest right at this moment.
‘Actors can go on to work well into old age.’
The grandfather, who lives with his wife Leslie in rural Victoria, is currently starring in stage show Bakersfield Mist alongside long-time Blue Heelers co-star and close friend Julie Nihill.
The humble actor still can’t quite believe the enormous popularity of former Channel Seven drama Blue Heelers, which ran for 12 years and eventually finished up on screens in 2006.
‘It’s amazing it still has such an impact on people,’ he says.
It’s even more amazing, given the fact that John – who’s also famous for the lead role of magistrate Michael Rafferty in legal drama Rafferty’s Rules – very nearly missed out on the role of sergeant Tom Croydon.
‘There was talk at the time that I would be no good in the role,’ he recalls.
‘[They thought] people would only remember me as a magistrate, and it took them quite a while to convince them that Tom Croydon was my role. The fact my father and father- in-law were both called Tom and grew up in [Melbourne’s] Croydon, it seemed like it [the character] was written for me.’
This story originally appeared in this week's New Idea - Out now.
You might also like...