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(From Canberra Times)
SYDNEY'S King's Cross with its early-morning shuttered bars and nightclubs seems far removed from actor Leon Ford's leafy family home in quiet suburban Narrabundah. But then, Ford's performance of Hamlet for the Bell Shakespeare Company is a far cry from his role as Dr Schoen in my Narrabundah College production of Frank Wedekind's Lulu in 1992. 'It was getting a lead role in that production that made me begin to think of myself as an actor,' Ford recalls. It was then that he wrote 'actor' as his preferred profession on his reference form and decided to audition for Theatre Nepean. It was the only school to which he applied, and his determination was given a further boost when he was accepted.
'It was one of those dreams you don't admit to. You do it half as a laugh, half serious deep down.' It certainly wasn't the career his parents had expected him to follow. 'You know that you stopped Leon from becoming an economist,' I was once told by his uncle. It was shortly after Leon had appeared in an episode of Water Rats, and the rebuke was gently delivered in a voice swollen with pride.
'My beautiful parents will always bear me out,' Ford says.
Occasionally, they have helped him through some of the more difficult moments, when Ford was forced to support himself with the occasional bar work at Penrith's Q Theatre and a stint as an usher at Sydney's Footbridge Theatre. He laughs when he recalls his time as a phone salesman for Cellarmasters. Every actor has a story to tell about the …