If the answer to staying employed in the arts industry in Australia is to be versatile, Shane Jacobson could write the rule book.
Asking this genial character what he does elicits a long list of different jobs, all of which he seems to enjoy.
Soon to be in our lounge rooms on Sunday nights as the host of the Channel Seven program Little Big Shots, the father of four is clear about how he wants the program to work.
“I hope that children and family will sit down together and laugh along with, and be amazed by the personalities and talents of these young, gifted children!” Shane tells Warcry.
While our screens are overloaded with talent programs for the younger generation, Little Big Shots is a different concept, as it’s not a competition and there are no prizes—it’s just a chance for children to take to the stage to showcase their passion.
So would little Shane Jacobson have popped up on Little Big Shots if it had been around when he was a boy?
“I would have loved to perform on Little Big Shots when I was a kid, but the truth is I would not have been talented enough—I had to wait until I was old enough to host it to get on the show,” Shane chuckles.
“I always wanted to be an actor and an entertainer, which means I am one of those lucky people who can honestly say that my dreams have come true—and no other industry on earth would accept me!”
Shane’s big break was his role as the likeable plumber Kenny in the film of the same name, but his performing life began at the age of 10 in amateur theatre. This led to stand-up comedy gigs, being a television audience ‘warm-up guy’, music videos, TV commercials and short films.
Australian film audiences took Kenny to their hearts, as it was the highest-grossing Australian film in three years, before it became the highest-selling Australian DVD release.
Kenny opened the door to Shane’s feature film career, leading to the 2012 Hollywood blockbuster The Bourne Legacy and acclaimed local films such as Oddball and The Dressmaker, among many others.
Several major roles in television series followed, and he is also the author of his
2014 autobiography The Long Road to Overnight Success, which became a
No. 1 bestseller.
Away from the limelight, Shane is passionate about sharing his good fortune with those who need a helping hand.
He is the Chief Scout for Scouts Victoria, and a patron of the Mirabel Foundation which assists children who have been orphaned or abandoned due to parental illicit drug use, and who are in the care of extended family. Shane is also the ambassador for HeartKids Australia, which provides support for Australian children with heart disease, and is a patron of Entertainment Assist which provides benevolent relief for Australian musicians and entertainers who are suffering misfortune. He is also involved with Parkinson’s Victoria, which supports people living with Parkinson’s disease.
Behind that infectious grin, Shane Jacobson is obviously a man with a big heart.
With so many strings to his bow, what is Shane’s favourite career achievement thus far?
“Kenny will always be my favourite, but I love all acting, from big-budget movies all the way down to singing in the shower,” he laughed.
If we are looking for a role model of what it means to be a true blue Aussie making a positive difference to people’s lives, Shane Jacobson is the man.