In the early years of his acting career, Ray Meagher, star of Home and Away, drove taxis.
The 79-year-old actor aired the first-ever episode of the Channel 5 soap opera in 1988, playing the character of Alf Stewart.
Even though Ray is well-known for being one of the most recognisable characters from the soap opera, he disclosed that in order to continue trying out for roles, he had to work a second job before being cast.
After getting his taxi licence, Ray used to drive on the weekends in order to make some extra cash.
He told Stuff, “I got a cab licence early on as an actor, but I really only drove cabs for probably half a dozen weekends.” “I was able to audition because I had enough money in my little hand to last me through the week.”
Even with the enormous success he has received from Home and Away, Ray acknowledged he wasn’t sure he could pursue acting as a full-time vocation and had held onto his driver’s licence for years as a fallback. He clarified, “I kind of thought, ‘I’m just not going to get more acting work, so I held on to that cab licence for about 10 years.”
“I’ll hang on, it’s all going to dry up,” I told myself. I persisted in hanging on while continuing to work and complete small tasks. “Not a lot early on, but enough to scrape by from one job to the next,” the TV personality continued.
In an earlier interview with The Sun, Ray acknowledged that he was “more cynical” when he initially joined the cast and that’s why he would only commit to six months in Summer Bay instead of signing a two-year contract.
Ray, who spent 35 years on the Australian soap opera, clarified, saying, “I would not sign the two-year contract they wanted me to sign. It seems ridiculous now.” Since I was older and more pessimistic, I was certain that it would crash and burn like most things do after we completed the pilot.
“You have to be kidding me when you say we’re going to do a series and we want all the main characters to stick around for two years!” I told them there was no way I was signing for two years since it felt like a lifetime. Once more, I declined their offer to sign a one-year contract.
“In the end, I agreed to six months,” Ray went on. I had quite loved being all over the store over the years, but I felt it would be wonderful to be able to return to my own bed every night after work instead of shooting something in Melbourne or Western Australia. I was a little tempted by it and signed for a further six months after having been home for six months.”
The actress from the soap opera continued, “Then they suggested, what about another year? After that, it changed to three-year and five-year contracts. Now, 35 years later, I’m much older.