Aussie actor Michael Falzon dead at 48
Australian musical theatre actor Michael Falzon has died following a battle with a rare and aggressive form of cancer.
Falzon, 48, was a prolific musical theatre performer, best known for leading roles in productions of Rock of Ages, War of the Worlds and We Will Rock You.
Performing arts publicist Ian Phipps broke the news on social media overnight, with Falzon's friend David Campbell leading the charge of musical theatre figures paying tribute this morning:
We lost the great @michaelfalzon last night. A vital member of this industry. He was a leading man and producer. He loved the arts and he loved what we do. He had a smile that could light up a stage and the first ten rows. Sending my love to his wife Jane and his family. DC pic.twitter.com/N1oXrNTZeV— David Campbell OAM (@DavidCampbell73) June 23, 2020
Words fail me...@michaelfalzon You were a one off. Not only an incredible performer and business man but you were also a beautiful soul. You fought so hard and I’m so glad I got to hug you on my travels last year in… https://t.co/H5ZBrmMKjo— Jenna Lee-James (@jennaleejames) June 23, 2020
Vale Michael Falzon. You fought valiantly until the last, my friend. Your beaming smile, huge talent and incredible positivity will be missed by so many friends, family and fans. We are the better for having known you. Love to Jane and your family. pic.twitter.com/SaTp0Qdr5Y— Ian Phipps (@ippublicity) June 23, 2020
"Incredibly sad. We have lost a very special man," wrote fellow actor Rodger Corser.
In an interview with Studio 10 in October last year, Falzon - who lived an active, healthy lifestyle and was a vegetarian - called his diagnosis in May of 2019 "dumb luck."
"It was a surprise - I was in rehearsals for Sweeney Todd, I'd just finished Evita, everything was going well, and then you get struck down," he said.
He had no symptoms but underwent immediate treatment for the rare and aggressive form of germ cell cancer, cancelling all future performances and keeping fans updated on his treatment via social media:
"Because I am fit and healthy, it's allowed me to have the most aggressive treatment for the type of cancer I had," he told Studio 10. "It's unfair for anybody... (but) it just happened. I'm not responsible for it."
In the interview, Falzon said he was through one round of treatment and facing another: "They're still chasing it. I feel good - I keep bouncing back, which they're pleased with."
Falzon's musical theatre career was kickstarted in 2003 when he was cast in the lead role of Galileo in the Australian production of We Will Rock You. From that breakthrough performance, Falzon starred in productions of The War of The Worlds- Alive on Stage (2007), Rock Of Ages (2011) and Evita (2018-19). He was forced to withdraw from what would have been his final production, last year's Sweeney Todd, when he was diagnosed with cancer.
Falzon is survived by his wife, violinist Jane Cho.
Falzon's death comes five months after the passing of another much-loved Australian actor from a rare type of cancer - SeaChange and The Dish actor Tom Long died in January aged 50 after an eight-year battle with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow.
Originally published as Aussie actor Michael Falzon dead at 48