Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Jake Frost
Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Stanton Daily. Posted by Jake Frost
Crocodile Dundee, Flirting, The Osiris Child
Currently Known For:
February 14, 2019
A lot of people have their favorite bartender, and for the famous “Crocodile Dundee” character in the 1980s, that bartender was played by Maggie Blinco. Before appearing in the film series, Blinco had a lengthy acting career, though she didn’t get her start early. Despite being a bit of a late bloomer, Blinco is still acting today in her mid 80s, and her appearances have actually been quite frequent as of late.
Blinco was born in 1934, but wasn’t trained much in acting while growing up. It wasn’t until she got into college that Blinco started to take some acting classes, making her first appearances on stage. However, Blinco hadn’t really planned on making acting her career once she was finished with college. Instead, she headed to England afterward and did appear on stage, but had gotten married and had a child, opening their own antiques shop after heading back to Australia.
“I didn’t really know how to become (a professional) actress, and that is the truth,” she said. “As passionate as I was, and I loved it. I loved making people laugh. I just didn’t know quite really how to go about it.” With the support of her family, Blinco decided to get back into acting on a full-time basis, joining the Nimrod Theatre Company in Sydney shortly after it opened in 1970.
Blinco started to appear on stage more frequently, and hired an agent to help launch her career. During the early 1970s, television hadn’t been quite as notable in Australia, but it started to take off very quickly. “My career started slowly but I had to learn a lot,” she said. “Theatre had changed, and TV was now huge. Gradually I just built up from there. I’m not a Shakespearean but I am a really good Australian actor.”
With that, Blinco made her on-screen debut in 1975’s “Scobie Malone”, playing a small role as a landlady. Over the course of the next couple of years, Blinco appeared on television series such as “Alvin Purple” and “Chopper Squad” in guest spots, which continued into the 1980s. “Midnite Spares” and the miniseries “1915” followed into what’s perhaps the role she’s most known for.
In 1986, Blinco made an appearance in “Crocodile Dundee”, which became one of the most profitable and popular movies of the 1980s. In the film, Blinco plays Ida, a barkeeper that’s on Dundee’s good side. The memorable scene that involves Blinco has Paul Hogan’s Dundee character approach at the bar with a stuffed crocodile, asking for two beers. “One for me, and one for me mate,” he says. Gladly, Ida hands over the pair of brews. Two years later, Blinco would make another brief appearance in the film’s sequel, though didn’t appear in the much maligned third entry over a decade later.
When talking about Hogan, Blinco said that “He is a highly intelligent man,” adding that “He and (producer) John Cornell knew exactly what they were doing. I think he sat back and watched everybody and learned an awful lot. He was very jolly to work with.” Blinco could’ve been in the third film that was released in 2001, as well, she said. However, Blinco was already filming another movie when she received the offer.
Following her role on “Crocodile Dundee”, Blinco had a second recurring role on the show “A Country Practice”. Her other most notable role came shortly after with the 1991 film “Flirting” as Miss Guinevere MacReady. During the rest of the decade, Blinco appeared on shows such as “Murder Call”, “The Ferals” and “Water Rats”.
In this decade, Blinco has been as busy as ever, especially with many short films. Other notable television shows in which she’s made guest appearances include “Doctor Doctor”, “Blue Heelers” and “All Saints”. He most recent role for Blinco came in 2018 when she guest starred on an episode of “Harrow”, playing Judy Adams. For the future, Blinco has plans to keep plugging away at acting while keeping herself young.
“I do go to the gym a couple of times a week,” she said. “I should go more often. I do if I can. I seem to have a busy life. I am very involved with my family. I have a pretty healthy diet.” She’s now 85 years old, though you certainly wouldn’t be able to tell when speaking with her. Blinco does the typical hobbies that you’d expect from someone at her age, but it’s still acting that’s her true passion, even if it took until nearly her 40s to make it on-screen for the first time.
“Any role is welcome,” she said. “I think it is wonderful to be working. I have a great lust for life and I love my profession because I work with wonderful people and I work with younger people. That is always fascinating. I’ve got to the age where they are always a little respectful for a while, then they find out what I am fairly informal.”