Jack Thompson on His Plan to Become A Grey Nomad


Regrets? He has none. But the Australian actor wouldn’t mind leading the life of a house cat.

What is your greatest strength? 


What is your greatest weakness?


What scares you?

Insensitivity. It can have truly disastrous consequences.

What virtue do you most admire in people?


If you could do another job, what would it be?

I’d be a musician. I find being in the company of people making music very satisfying and stimulating.

What’s one thing about you that would surprise people?

My interest in history, anthropology and biochemistry. In the ’60s, I studied history and anthropology part-time at The University of Queensland while I was a staff sergeant in the Australian Army’s Medical Corps – I was in charge of the pathology laboratory at the 1st Military Hospital in Yeronga. I’ve continued to read as much about biochemistry as I can to stay informed of more recent research. I was also involved in the establishment of the National Museum of Australia.

What’s your most treasured possession?

A book of my father John’s poetry because of its sense and sensitivity.

What’s your idea of absolute happiness?

Being at home with family and friends – a sunny, lazy afternoon that goes on into the evening.

If you could have dinner with two famous people, who would you choose?

Bob Dylan and Dr Lynne Kelly, author of The Memory Code [about memory techniques in indigenous cultures]. I think the conversation would be scintillating.

What travel experience is on your bucket list?

I want to see more of this extraordinary country by road as a grey nomad. I’ve seen quite a bit already yet I know there’s so much more to experience.

How do you switch off?

Sailing or on the back of a horse.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

I always try to avoid associating guilt with pleasure.

If you could turn back time, what would you change in your life?

I would change nothing. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

What is your greatest achievement?

Still celebrating life at 77. 

Who is your personal hero? 

Bob Brown [former Australian Greens leader]. He navigated the stormy waters, reefs and shoals of a political life to make a real difference to the environment. 

What’s the most Australian thing about you?

The understanding that a mate is someone who doesn’t need you; the relationship is reciprocal, not unconditional. 

Where would we find you at a party?

As close to the music as I can get. 

If you were an animal, what would it be?

A cat – in a good, cat-loving home. Life appears to be mostly bliss and/or sleep.

If you were down to your last $20, what would you spend it on?

A bunch of flowers for my darling, Leona King. I can think of nothing more valuable than that moment of mutual pleasure.

How would you like to be remembered? 

As a good mate who could act. 

SEE ALSO: Why Eric Bana Wishes He’d Never Quit Comedy

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