A FORMER TV star who was on one of the biggest soaps revealed he still had to drive a cab for ten years.
The actor rose to fame for playing the role of Alf Stewart in Home and Away.
He played that role from 1972 to present.
Now, Ray Meagher has revealed that, although appearing to be on a career high and allegedly making big bucks from the soap, his reality was far from it.
The star shared that early on in his acting career he got a cab licence and he used to drive on some weekends.
"Early on as an actor I got a cab licence, but I really only drove cabs for probably half a dozen weekends," Ray told Stuff.
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He continued: "That gave me enough cash in my little hand to get through the week so I could still audition.
Ray admitted that he was unsure whether his acting profession would be constant, so he kept his cab licence as a backup plan in case he didn't make money.
The actor said: "I held on to that cab licence for about 10 years because I sort of thought, ‘I’m just not going to get more acting work. It’s all going to dry up, so I’ll hang on’, and I hung on and hung on but I kept working and doing bits and pieces."
"Not a lot early on, but enough to scrape through from one job to the next."
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But Alf's thinking wasn't actually right, since he extended his contract with Home and Away for another five years earlier this year.
He told The Sun: "It seems ridiculous now but I wouldn’t agree to the two-year contract they wanted me to sign."
But in an exclusive interview with The Sun Online, actor Ray Meagher, 78, who is celebrating 35 years as Alf Stewart as the soap reaches its special milestone today, reveals that he initially refused to sign a two-year contract and would only commit to six months in Summer Bay.
Ray said: “It seems ridiculous now but I wouldn’t agree to the two-year contract they wanted me to sign.
“We’d done the pilot and to be honest, I was older and more cynical, and was convinced it would crash and burn like most do. So when they said we’re going to series and we want all the main characters to stay for two years, I was like you’ve got to be joking!
“It seemed like a lifetime, so I told them there was no way I was signing for two years. Then they tried to get me to sign for a year, but again I refused.
"In the end I agreed to six months. I thought it would be nice being able to go back to my own bed after work every night rather than shooting something in Melbourne or Western Australia, or being all over the shop which I had quite enjoyed over the years.
“Having been home for six months I was a bit seduced by that and signed for another six months.
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“Then they said what about another year? And then it became three-year deals and five -ear deals, and here were are 35 years later and I’m a lot older.”
Ray has been at the heart of Summer Bay ever since it first aired in Australia on the January 17, 1988. The Aussie soap, which initially revolved around foster parents Tom and Pippa Fletcher and their foster kids, burst onto British screens the following year.
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