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13 November 2014

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You are in: Leicester > Entertainment > Theatre and Arts > Features > Uppingham's Hollywood Link

Actor Hugh Jackman

Uppingham's Hollywood Link

Not many people know this but Hollywood hunk Hugh Jackman lived for a year in Rutland, where he worked as a teaching assistant. Richard Boston recalls his time there and talks about the lasting impression he left on staff and pupils.

He is described as one of the sexiest men alive and has an international worldwide following but how many people actually know that for a short while, one of Hollywood's hottest hunks spent time living here in Rutland?

Hugh Jackman spent a gap year in 1987 working as a teaching assistant at the prestigious Uppingham School.

He was an assistant house master at the boarding establishment in the East Midlands. On one occasion he found himself drafted in to instruct a class of 14-year-olds.

He is recorded in a previous interview as describing his teaching spell as ironic.

He said: "An 18-year-old Aussie teaching English to a bunch of English kids. I thought, if that was my school fees, I'd be pretty annoyed."

Actor Hugh Jackman

Listen: Hugh Jackman at Uppingham

But despite his concerns he seems to have left quite an impression on those who worked with him. One of them is Richard Boston, retired housemaster and secretary of the Old Boys Association.

Richard spoke to BBC Leicester's Ben Jackson about the his first impressions of the Hollywood star. Listen to the interview...

Richard says the actor arrived at the school from Sydney at the age of 18.

He remembers: "Hugh was a great guy and still is. I remember him coming as a fresh-faced, young gap student.

"He arrived in Uppingham in September 1987 and was with us that winter term.

"I gather he's exactly the same as he always was. A delightful, open sort of person. A great communicator and he would have made a brilliant school master had he continued in that direction, rather than continue with acting."

"Fame has not changed him one iota."

Richard Boston, retired housemaster, Uppingham School

Richard adds he's not surprised that Hugh has reached the heights of fame he is at today, saying he had a natural gift of putting people at ease:

"He was a unique person, so open and so natural. It was his first visit to the UK for some years and to be dumped in an English private school straight from Sydney was quite a cultural gap for him.

"But he worked at it extremely well. Fame has not changed him one iota."

Richard recently went to see his film, Australia and says he could see the same old Hugh.

He explains: "He looked very similar you could see the same old sparkle and the same humour.

"I was impressed by him in the film and in Australia he has a huge following. I tried to contact him when I was in Sydney but he was actually in London on the Jonathan Ross show."

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine

Beyond Uppingham: Stardom Beckons

On his return to Australia he studied at the University of Technology, Sydney, graduating in 1991 with a BA in Communications. After obtaining his BA, Jackman went on to study at the Actors' Centre in Sydney.

After completing the course he was offered a role on the popular soap opera Neighbours, but turned it down to attend the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts of Edith Cowan University in Perth, from which he graduated in 1994.

Jackman became known outside of Australia in 1998, when he played the leading role of Curly in the Royal National Theatre's acclaimed stage production of Oklahoma!, in London's West End.

The performance earned him an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical.

In 2000, Jackman was cast as Wolverine in Bryan Singer's X-Men,  His co-stars include Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry and Ian McKellen.

Since then his career has gone from strength to strength and he is now a Hollywood star in his own right.

But Hugh isn't the only famous link to Uppingham School.

Other famous old Uppinghamians include actor and writer Stephen Fry, England cricketer and now BBC correspondent Jonathan Agnew, actor Sam Riley and chef Rick Stein.

last updated: 28/04/2009 at 09:38
created: 27/04/2009

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