Grant Bowler is one Aussie talent who has never quite had the time to sit down. As a young buff constable on Blue Heelers in its early heydays, he then went on to score notable guest roles on other Australian drama productions and reality shows. Grant has also been one of the few former Heelers who have tried their luck in the US and New Zealand.
Grant Bowler was born on the 1st of May, 1962 in Perth, Western Australia. 29 years later he graduated from NIDA with a degree in performing arts under his belt before making his big break in television just two short years later. Part of the original Blue Heelers cast, his character, Wayne Patterson, married to the lovely Roz, was one of the boys. He settled into Mt Thomas with his wife, played with the local footy team and was devoted to the police force in a way his colleagues all admired.
When Maggie Doyle arrived, his peaceful life in the sleepy town was thrown into a bit of disarray when he suddenly had an old flame working right beside him. A year or two later, after a painful split with Roz, Wayne lost his life in the episode titled ‘An Act of Randon Violence’ saving the life of a young boy he had befriended. This episode aired on the 2nd of April, 1996. The death was the first major one on Blue Heelers, and was written and directed with tact and respect. Following Wayne’s death, viewers were treated to an in depth look at the impact Wayne had made in the lives of his colleagues and friends. Not many true fans have forgotten Maggie’s heart felt story told to PJ of the friendship she and Wayne shared, or the way his Mt Thomas comrades fronted up to his funeral to give a final salute to their mate and uphold his memory while they paid their final respects.
Following his departure from Blue Heelers, Grant made appearances in Medivac, Pacific Drive and one of many Halifax episodes. In 1998 he appeared in the acclaimed ABC drama Wildside, where he acted alongside the talented likes of Tony Martin and Rachel Blake. In 1999 he scored a short stint on a pay television show titled Change of Heart before quickly moving onto Farscape, Close Contact and On the Beach.
As if Grant hadn’t earnt his stripes in Australian drama enough already, he also made appearances in Stingers for the Nine Network and White Collar Blue for Network Ten between 1999 and 2002. Then in 2002 he landed a permanent gig on Seven’s drama favourite, Always Greener, before his character, Greg Steele, was tragically killed following an allergic reaction after just 11 episodes on air.
Grant also made the rounds of McLeod’s Daughters and All Saints during 2005 after completing a guest role in Through My Eyes: The Lindy Chamberlain Story, the acclaimed mini series about the disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain that aired on Seven in late 2004. Through My Eyes had one of the greatest ensemble casts to ever be assembled for such a project, so Grant was fortunate enough to share the experience with the likes of Bryan Brown, Andrew McFarlene, Paul Mecurio, Miranda Otto, Craig McLachlan, Lucy Bell, Nadine Garner and Lindy Chamberlain herself.
Grant also leant his talents to reality hits for Seven with hosting gigs on The Mole (2001) and the enormously popular ratings winner, Border Security, which continues to thrive today. Grant obviously had proved himself as a favourite as host, because in 2005 when he handed the reigns of The Mole over to dancing carpenter Tom Williams, a petition was started in protest.
Grant had good reason for leaving the much loved show though, as he and his wife, fellow television stalwart Roxane Wilson of Stingers fame, welcomed their first child, Edie, in 2003 and then a son, Zeke, in 2005. But Grant hasn’t totally binned the chance of returning to The Mole if ever asked to host again.
Grant has a rather unknown love in theatre also, and has starred in many a production with the Bell Shakespeare Company, Marian Street Theatre and many acclaimed others. In 2002 Grant extended his talents to the Perth Theatre Company when he was part of the cast of The Return, a play written by West Australian Reg Cribb, and directed by acclaimed actor Jeremy Sims. The play had enjoyed considerable success in Sydney the previous year and upon playing in Perth, Grant, covered in tattoos for the role, shared the stage with the versatile actor comedian musician Tim Minchin.
Grant spent 2006 starring in the New Zealand drama series, Outrageous Fortune, and in 2009 continued his work on Border Security on the Seven Network. He also spent considerable time in the US, shooting a guest spot on the ABC comedy Ugly Betty.