Boston-born, Australian-raised actor Tom Long, whose credits include the series East of Everything, SeaChange and Young Lions and the movies The Dish and Two Hands, died from encephalitis on Saturday, aged 51.
Long was forced to quit acting after he collapsed on stage during a performance of the play Coranderrk: We Will Show the Country at the Sydney Opera House in July 2012.
Diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, he underwent chemotherapy, bone marrow transplants and natural therapies to treat the disease.
He was in remission after going to the US last April for a medical trial in which his T cells were harvested and genetically modified to attack his cancer cells.
Screenwise CEO Denise Roberts said: “He fought the hard fight and was given the all clear. The happiness and relief pulled out from under him. So unfair.”
Actor Peter James Finlay, who worked with Long on Coranderrk, described him as a “great, profound actor and a wonderfully modest human being.”
Producer-director Roberto Chuter tells IF: “He was a talented gentleman, generous and bore a great strength. He was an all good, country boy, a terrific actor and part time doco maker.”
Anthony Hayes said: “Tom Long was one of the most beautiful humans I ever met. A rare soul. Kind, funny, warm, all things that matter. This one hurts. Love to his family and all who loved him.”
After graduating from NIDA in 1994, he landed roles in the series Echo Point, telemovie Last of the Ryans, miniseries Kings in Grass Castles and Chris Kennedy’s feature Doing Time for Patsy Cline.
He played Wally in Gregor Jordan’s Two Hands, Glenn Latham in Rob Sitch’s The Dish, Angus Kabiri in the ABC’s SeaChange, Detective Senior Constable Guy ‘Guido’ Martin in the Nine Network’s Young Lions and Vance Watkins in the ABC’s East of Everything.
Among his other credits were the telemovies Murder in the Outback, BlackJack: At the Gates, Big and The Postcard Bandit, the series Two Twisted and Ana Kokkinos’ movie The Book of Revelation.
According to IMDB, his last on-screen role was in Woodley, the 2012 ABC comedy series written by and starring Frank Woodley.
NIDA classmate Rachael Blake posted on Facebook: “So heartbroken to hear of gorgeous Tom Long’s passing. Such a beautiful soul who quietly stole the show in my graduating year at NIDA.”
He is survived by his wife Rebecca and son Ariel.