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Former Young Talent Time star a granddad living at the Bay

Entertainer Rob McCullough now calls the Fraser Coast home.
Entertainer Rob McCullough now calls the Fraser Coast home. Robyne Cuerel

AT 16, he was one of the chosen.

A golden child in one of Australia's highest rating television shows - Young Talent Time.

Robert McCullough had the world at his feet.

Four decades later, from the comfort of his simple brick home at Eli Waters, Rob reflects on more than four decades of life in the fickle but fabulous world of show business.

And to think it all began with a mother's love.

"We weren't into sport and Mum wanted to get us out into society so she took us to auditions. I was 11-years-old when I scored the lead role in the production of Oliver."

Former Young Talent Time star Rob McCullough says it's the simple pleasures in life that bring you happiness.
Former Young Talent Time star Rob McCullough says it's the simple pleasures in life that bring you happiness. Robyne Cuerel

His career path was established.

Fast forward to age 16 when Rob became a regular member on Young Talent Time and he became a household name.

"Young Talent Time for me, was the pinnacle of young performers.

"I was the oldest member of the show. I loved the dance practice, vocal rehearsals and performing live on television every week.

"The team members of that era are still my dear friends.

"To this day we share a strong bond."

Mr McCullough said the team was treated like stars and had the time of their lives concert touring and recording.

"I will be forever grateful to Johnny Young for giving me such a wonderful opportunity," he said.

Following two years and four months on the show, Rob believed his future success was a given so it was a rude awakening to discover that people weren't clamouring for his services.

"I thought I was going to be a big star, but no-one was knocking at my door," he said.

It was difficult to come to terms with being a celebrity on television and then having nothing.

To make ends meet, he earned a living as a waiter and an usher.

"I'm not the type to sit around and waiting for phone to ring, I literally got out there - show yourself, first impressions," he said.

Hard work and persistence paid off.

Then came Jesus Christ Superstar with Marcia Hines, television appearances in shows such as The Box, The Sullivans, Mike Walsh Show, Ray Martin Show.

But starring in a multi-million dollar production called Starz at Jupiter's Casino on the Gold Coast, Rob said, was a pivotal time in his career.

It was there he met Danny La Rue who introduced him to show business in one of the biggest cities in the world.

In London, he landed a role in the Bill and performed in various shows in London's West End.

He recalls a champagne lifestyle on a beer budget.

"The whole thing, meeting with Danny, I knew Peter Allen well... chauffeur driven limousines. It was 'pinch yourself' time... it really was."

Following what he calls Danny's entourage, he met a friend who enabled him to live in Covent Garden, rent free, for five years.

From this base in Europe, he went on to perform all over the world and can rattle off enough experiences to make the regular person envious.

Rocky in the Rocky Horror Picture Show in Italy, revues in Portugal, Istanbul, Singapore, Burma, cruise ships out of Mexico and the Caribbean.

But from his comfortable couch at his home in the 'burbs, the well travelled consummate performer and now grandfather says that lifestyle isn't what it seems to be.

He recalls an ultra famous personality who appeared to have everything a person could ever wish for, but he told Rob that when he went home to his hotel room, he felt like the loneliest person in the world.

"People think when they get 'all of that' they'll be happy, but in the end those things don't bring you happiness - the material world is really very shallow."

"It's the simple pleasures, like having a birdie on your arm while playing the keyboard, or a garden patch, walking along the beach with your wife."

Rob loves his new life in Hervey Bay and is thrilled to be sharing his talent at venues around the Fraser Coast with his wife Julie at his side.

Julie, he says, was a divine appointment.

He said he was overwhelmed with the support of the local community and relishes the opportunity to foster talent of any age.

At the recent Fraser Coast Cultural Festival Rob honoured his friend Peter Allen with an a cappella rendition of I Still Call Australia Home.

If Peter was around today, Rob would be singing the praises of the Fraser Coast - the place he is now proud to call home.

Topics:  entertainment, hervey bay, star



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