Entertainment Celebrity Iconic Australian actor Paul Cronin has died aged 81

Iconic Australian actor Paul Cronin has died aged 81

Cronin was also a passionate AFL supporter, who founded the Brisbane Lions team in the late 1980s. Photo: Getty
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Iconic Australian actor Paul Cronin, best known for his role in The Sullivans, has died aged 81.

Surrounded by his daughters and grandchildren, Cronin, who played beloved father Dave Sullivan in the long-running Australian WW11 television series The Sullivans, passed away in Melbourne on Friday night.

His daughters, Susanne, Jules, Katherine and Jane paid tribute to him on Saturday morning, describing their father as “protective”, who “would have done anything for his girls”.

Daughter Jules Cronin posted on Facebook her father encouraged her, supported her love of horses and pushed her to “do anything”.

“My first love, my lasting love, my whole world … you were everything to me , the most beautiful kind loving man, you protected us girls through everything. I can’t imagine this world without you in it. “You’re a Cronin” you kept saying, “you can do anything” you said …”90%of problems solve themselves” you said….

“I really hope I have the strength to keep your legacy alive and teach my children what you taught me about life and loving people & animals with all my heart and being a Cronin.

Daughter Susanne told Melbourne’s Herald-Sun newspaper: “He was the most wonderful father, he was protective, he would have done everything for his girls,” his daughter Susanne said.

“We loved him so much, he adored mum so much.”

Paul and Helen Cronin in 2006. Photo: Getty

She revealed Cronin, who was born in Jamestown in South Australia in 1938, was devastated after the death of his wife Helen in 2013, who he still called “his bride” after 50 years of marriage. She was the one who encouraged him to enter the Australian television industry.

“The story goes he was watching TV one night with mum and he said ‘I reckon I could do that’, and she said, ‘why don’t you?’,” Susanne told the newspaper.

“He got a walk on role in one of the Crawford Productions and then he got Matlock and the rest is history.”

Tributes flowed from across the show business and sporting communities, including a touching post from the AFL’s Brisbane Lions, where Cronin was president from 1987 to 1989.

“Cronin was instrumental in growing the game of Aussie Rules in Queensland when he was awarded a license for the Brisbane Bears in 1986, after leading a consortium with Christopher Skase,” a statement read.

“Paul was the inaugural Chairman of the Brisbane Bears and is a key figure in our Club’s history,” Brisbane Lions Chairman Andrew Wellington said.

“A national Australian Rules football competition exists today because of the passion and energy of people like Paul and we are very grateful for his contribution to this legacy.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

The Brisbane Lions will wear two black armbands when they meet GWS GIANTS tonight, as a mark of respect for Cronin and Danny Frawley.

Cronin, who also starred in other iconic Australian dramas including Matlock PoliceSolo One, Matthew and Son and A Place to Call Home, won five silver Logies over the course of his long and illustrious television acting career.

In the 1980s, Cronin fronted a series of TV commercials about drink-driving, with his tagline “What sort of friend are you? … Would you let a mate drink and drive?”

Cronin played a lead role in The Sullivans in 1114 episodes over eight seasons from 1976-1983.

Australian entertainers have paid tribute to the actor online.

“Saddened to hear of the death of our old family friend Paul Cronin. Great actor, great guy. Will be missed,” wrote comedian Marty Fields on Twitter.

Radio host Simon Owens said he shared many laughs while working together.

“So sad to hear of the passing of the lovely Paul Cronin. It was an honour to have worked with the great man. Many, many laughs. There will never be another Dave Sullivan,” he wrote.