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However, there’s a lot more to the Almost an Angel actor and sometime Foster’s beer salesman than you may have realised. Now an octogenarian, Paul Hogan has lived a long and full life already.
Paul Hogan Net Worth
As of 2019, Paul Hogan has a net worth of around $20 million. During his hay-day as Crocodile Dundee, Hogan was able to earn big bucks after financing and distributing the movie in a unique way. The first $8.8 million of the movie budget, he managed to raise independently. He then sold the rights to the movie to various countries allowing him to retain a reported 60% ownership stake in the film’s eventual profits. According to sources, Crocodile Dundee I went on to earn more than $320 globally. Crocodile Dundee II grossed $240 million and Crocodile Dundee III earned $40 million. During this time Hogans net worth increased to $75 million.
Following this, Hogan lost a lot of his fortune in a battle with the tax office and from his divorce to his then wife Noelene Edwards.
Read on for 20 fascinating facts about the man, the myth, the (incredibly Aussie) legend that is Paul Hogan.
20. He used to be a maintenance guy for Sydney Harbour Bridge
At the start of Crocodile Dundee, the Sydney Harbour Bridge is shown from a hotel window, in a reference to Paul Hogan’s real life.
Hogan himself once worked on the bridge as a ‘rigger’ (not as a painter as this picture would suggest, and as previous reports have claimed).
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Despite many assuming that Hogan worked on the team responsible for painting the bridge, Hogan himself said he would have hated to have that job.
Hogan has been quoted as saying: ”Look, if I had been a painter and you’d turn up every day and said, ‘What colour are we going to do today boys? Ah, Battleship Grey…’ I’d have jumped off!”
The Sydney Harbour Bridge took eight years to complete once construction began, and was being built between 1925 to 1932.
When it was finally finished, it earned the nickname “The Coathanger”, thanks to its unusual shape and design.
19. He began his career as a ‘tap-dancing knife thrower’
Hogan’s first public appearance came way back in 1971, on an Australian talent show called New Faces, where he initially claimed to be a ‘tap-dancing knife thrower’.
Hogan then proceeded to make a number of jokes about the show’s judges before simply throwing his knives on the floor, a performance that, bizarrely, proved to be incredibly popular.
Related Story – What The Cast Of Crocodile Dundee Look Like Nowadays
It later transpired that Hogan had completely misunderstood the point of the show, and believed it was a comedy show where you were supposed to poke fun at the concept.
Thankfully for Hogan, his misunderstanding actually paid off, as a producer on the show said he appreciated Hogan’s gamble, as well as his natural comedic timing.
Hogan was then invited back on New Faces three more times to do various comedy acts disguised as talents.
In one memorable episode, Hogan simply banged two spades together three times, before going on to insult the judges. Wow.
18. Hogan had his own popular sketch show in Australia
Paul Hogan’s hilarious and weird performances on New Faces led directly to him being scouted for bigger projects, including his very own TV show.
It was called The Paul Hogan Show and ran for a total of 60 episodes between 1973 and 1984; it was extremely popular both in Australia and the UK, as well as South Africa.
Starring alongside John Cornell and Delvene Delaney, Hogan played ‘Hoges’, an exaggerated version of himself, and an assortment of other characters.
One of the other characters was Arthur Dunger, an ‘Ocker’ who has the ability to turn into a superhero called SuperDag.
The Paul Hogan show was just as incomprehensibly Australian as it sounds, but it still garnered a dedicated fanbase around the world.
Its popularity in the UK can mostly be attributed to it being given a peak slot on Channel 4, and being part of the line-up of shows aired on Channel 4’s first day.
17. He came up with the story for Crocodile Dundee himself
Despite ongoing suspicions that Paul Hogan based the character of Mike Dundee on various existing people, Hogan has maintained that he created the character from scratch.
Hogan claimed that he wanted to create an Australian folk hero, who knew how to handle snakes, chop wood and ride horses.
Hogan has been quoted as saying: “There’s a lot about Dundee that we all think we’re like, but we’re not, because we live in Sydney. He’s a mythical outback Australian”
Hogan went on to explain that Crocodile Dundee was more a reflection of what Americans believe Australians are like, rather than what they really are.
Paul Hogan’s idea came together in full when he went on holiday to New York City, and felt like an alien on another planet.
He realised that if he felt out of place in America, then a much more outdoorsy and survivalist Australian would definitely seem like he came from another world.
16. He personally provided some of the film’s budget
Crocodile Dundee had a fairly modest budget of $10 million, $600,000 of which was provided by Hogan himself, which added to the funds that had already been received from a number of other investors.
His investment turned out to be sound when the film went on to make a whopping $328 million worldwide, with Hogan being entitled to a cut of the profits.
Crocodile Dundee went on to be the highest-grossing movie of all time Australia, overtaking the previous record set by E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.
However, changes had to be made before the Australian version could be released worldwide.
The version of Crocodile Dundee released worldwide was changed to remove any Australian slang that was deemed too incomprehensible to make sense to a general audience.
That resulted in a cut of the movie almost ten minutes shorter than the original, showing just how much Australian slang was in there to begin with.
15. He was nominated for an Oscar (and won a Golden Globe) for Crocodile Dundee
As we’ve already seen, Hogan received many accolades early in his career, mostly for his contributions to comedy.
These awards mostly focussed on his work on The Paul Hogan show, as well as his contributions to New Faces.
However, it was Crocodile Dundee that finally allowed Hogan to finally be nominated for the bigger more prestigious awards, such as the Oscars.
Hogan was nominated for the Oscar for ‘Best Original Screenplay’ for Crocodile Dundee, and not only that but he actually won the Golden Globe Award for ‘Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy’.
The 1987 Oscar instead went to Woody Allen for his screenplay for Hannah and Her Sisters, but Paul Hogan eventually got an arguably greater accolade.
In December of 1989, Crocodile Dundee became the most-watched Christmas Day film ever, which is a record that still stands to this day.
14. The ‘real’ Crocodile Dundee took Hogan to court
Though Paul Hogan has always maintained that Crocodile Dundee is his own original creation, there are those that disagree.
In fact, it is a popular rumour that Paul Hogan was based on Rodney Ansell, an Australian cattle grazier and buffalo hunter.
Ansell became a famous name when in 1977 he was stranded in a remote part of the Northern Territory, and was forced to survive for 56 days.
Ansell survived by hunting wild cattle and buffalo to feed himself and his two dogs, and sometimes drinking animal blood when there was no water.
Rodney Ansell took Paul Hogan to court after Crocodile Dundee became a big hit, believing that he was entitled to royalties.
His case proved to be unsuccessful and he never received any money from the film. Even more tragic were the reports that Ansell remained bitter about this until he passed away in 1999.
13. Who is Paul Hogan Spouse?
Paul Hogan and his first wife, Noelene Edwards, married in 1958 but divorced in 1981 before remarrying less than one year later.
They then divorced again in 1986, the same year Crocodile Dundee was released, in what is considered the messiest breakup in Australian celebrity history.
Hogan then went on to marry his Crocodile Dundee co-star Linda Kozlowski in 1990, with the two starting to date immediately after Hogan’s divorce.
Sadly, Kozlowski filed to divorce from Hogan in 2013, citing irreconcilable differences and moving away from their Los Angeles home.
Hogan has five children with his first wife Edwards, the oldest of which was 14 at the time of their divorce.
Hogan also has one child with Kozlowski, a son named Chance who is currently in Los Angeles, performing in a band.
12. He recently made a movie about his fall from grace called The Very Excellent Mr Dundee
Since Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles was released in 2001, Paul Hogan has been acting sporadically in various movies and television shows.
However, by far the most standout project he has been involved in is The Very Excellent Mr Dundee, a meta-movie dealing with Hogan’s fictionalised response to his diminished career and reputation.
The movie was released onto Amazon Prime in 2020, and follows a fictionalised Hogan as he tries to improve his reputation, the night before he is due to be given a knighthood.
The film stars Hogan alongside other veteran actors, such as Monty Python founder John Cleese and Greece’s Oliva Newton-John.
Unfortunately for Hogan, The Very Excellent Mr Dundee was poorly received, and wasn’t the legacy-cementing piece that he had hoped.
One critic even viciously called it “John Cleese’s worst-ever performance,” and claimed that this movie would come and go without many people watching it. Yikes.
11. He had serious tax issues for years
We’ve already discussed the fact that Paul Hogan felt he had to leave Australia to escape the constant criticism of his relationship from the press.
However, there was also another factor that resulted in Hogan staying in Los Angeles for a full decade, only returning in order to attend his mother’s funeral.
Hogan was one of a group of people linked with a $300 million tax fraud investigation, but the issue was finally settled in 2012 when he agreed to pay “tens of millions of dollars.”
This was after the Australian Tax Office pursued Hogan for about eight years over unpaid taxes of an estimated $150 million. Today, Hogan is estimated to have a net worth of $28 million (according to the most recent figures, from 2015).
In that time, Hogan returned for his mother’s funeral only to be banned from leaving until the money was paid.
As a result of that, Hogan claimed that he was being kept prisoner by his home country.
10. His second divorce was one of the messiest breakups in Australian celebrity history
Despite the majority of Paul Hogan’s success beginning in Australia, Hogan also became a national treasure in the UK.
Hogan appeared in British advertising campaigns and his comedy show became immensely popular in Britain, which meant he was also scrutinised in the British press.
Unfortunately, Hogan fell out of favour with the tabloids in a big way, when it became clear that he was leaving his first wife, Noelene Edwards.
Edwards and Hogan had been divorced once before in 1981, but they famously remarried just one year later.
However, Hogan’s second divorce from Edwards was followed by Hogan publicly dating and later marrying his Crocodile Dundee co-star Linda Kozlowski.
Hogan’s second divorce from Edwards was considered one of the messiest breakups in Australian celebrity history, and it decimated the goodwill Hogan had accumulated in the British press.
9. He had to leave Australia because of paparazzi
With all that said, if the criticism that Hogan faced in the wake of his divorce from the British press was severe, it was nothing compared to what he received at home.
Hogan received brutal scrutiny from the Australian press for the handling of his divorce, and for his choice to marry his co-star.
The invasive nature of the paparazzi, especially their focus on Hogan’s second wife Kozlowski, eventually contributed to their decision to leave Australia.
Delvene Delaney, Hogan’s close friend and former colleague, said of the situation: “It was awful for Linda. Every time she came to Byron Bay there’d be some sneaky paparazzi lurking in the bushes trying to photograph her bare bum.”
Delaney went on to say: “And not only that, she was still painted as this scarlet woman and yet she was legitimately Paul’s wife.”
The couple moved to Los Angeles as a result of the pressure and Hogan has stayed there ever since, though he has said he wants to move home to Australia as soon as his son is old enough to live away from him.
8. He wanted to use only real crocodiles in Crocodile Dundee, but he wasn’t allowed
Paul Hogan had a couple of strict stipulations when he created the character of Crocodile Dundee, with the first being that Mick Dundee should never be a violent man.
Hogan repeatedly said that Mick was not an action hero in the same vein as Chuck Norris, and that he was just a normal guy with no malice or taste for violence.
Paul Hogan’s other stipulation was that real animals should be used in the film wherever possible, which was a rule that was mostly stuck to.
However, there was at least one scene in Crocodile Dundee which never could have been accomplished with real crocodiles, so they had to come up with another solution.
In particular, the scene where Mike places a slab of meat on a stick to bait a terrifying crocodile, the reptile in question is totally fake.
As you may have guessed from the fact that the crocodile then bites a huge chunk out of the boat, the croc was actually an animatronic.
7. He saved lives while working on Sydney Harbour Bridge
There is a famous scene in Crocodile Dundee II, wherein Mike Dundee stops a business person from jumping from a New York City roof.
As surprising as it may be, that scene was actually based on Paul Hogan’s real-life experiences – specifically, what he learned while working as a rigger on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Hogan spent much of his time as a younger person working on the bridge and unfortunately had to deal with many potential jumpers along the way.
Though it has never been officially confirmed, Hogan has claimed to have talked down many people while working on the bridge.
Not only that, but Hogan claims that most of his crewmates also learned how to deal with people in that situation, since it was such a common occurrence.
Tragically, Hogan also said that he failed to save everybody he came across, which is something that affected him deeply.
6. He was given an award for services to Australia in 2016
Paul Hogan has received many accolades over the course of his career, with his awards broadly falling into two categories.
There are the awards that Hogan received throughout the 70s and 80s for his comedy and acting work, and the more recent honours he has received for his overall contributions to entertainment.
Hogan’s first award win came in 1973, when he was awarded the George Wallace Memorial Logie for Best New Talent at the Logie Awards.
Hogan was then nominated for three more Logie Awards in 1975, 1978 and 1987, for Best TV Comedian, Best Comedy Performer and as an entrant in the Hall of Fame respectively. He won in each case, cementing his legacy in Australian television.
Crocodile Dundee in 1987 gave Hogan a fresh spate of awards, including a Golden Globe win and an Academy Award nomination.
Hogan then went decades without any kind of accolades, until he was given the highest honour in Australian television in 2016: the prestigious Longford Lyell Award.
5. Most of his movies have been flops
Paul Hogan had a pretty incredible career trajectory at first, going from an appearance on an amateur talent show to being scouted and offered a recurring slot on the Australian television programme A Current Affair.
From there, executives were so impressed by his natural comedic ability that he was given his own show and soon broke into the world of film.
After Hogan’s emergence onto the silver screen with the smash hit Crocodile Dundee, however, his career took a sharp downturn.
With the exception of the Crocodile Dundee sequels, which were commercial successes despite being critically disliked, Hogan really only starred in flops from then on.
After turning down a crossover between Beverly Hills Cop and Crocodile Dundee, Hogan went on to make Almost an Angel and Lightning Jack, which both failed at the box office and were dismissed by critics.
Hogan then starred alongside Elijah Wood in the 1996 remake of Flipper, which was also a commercial and critical failure.
4. He hated working with the buffalo in Crocodile Dundee
The number one rule of show business is that the show must go on, but the second rule is that you should never, under any circumstances, work with children or animals.
That maxim was proven right in a big way on the set of Crocodile Dundee, with one animal causing particular difficulty.
Surprisingly, it wasn’t the crocodiles that caused major trouble on-set, but the gigantic water buffalo.
To put it bluntly, the buffalo was so big that it could not be made to do things that it didn’t want to do, and the whole cast had to wait around for it.
Hogan admitted in interviews that working with the buffalo was the hardest part of making the film, saying: “If the buffalo doesn’t want to do anything, it weighs 2000 pounds and you know, it doesn’t.”
“So you have to hang around,” he adds. “The Asian Buffalo in Australia with the 8 feet of horns… [That scene in the first film took] all day. It’s like he said, ‘I’ll just sit here. And you can’t do anything about it.'”
3. There was a petition to have him make another Crocodile Dundee
The third Crocodile Dundee movie, also known as Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles, was released in 2001.
Since then, there have been no new instalments in the series. Until recently, the franchise had begun to fall into obscurity.
However, interest in the series was revamped thanks to a 2018 Super Bowl ad, which featured Paul Hogan as his most famous character.
The advertisements were designed to look like they were rebooting the franchise, when instead they were actually a tourism campaign on behalf of Australia.
The Super Bowl advertisement soon had people clamouring for a fourth Crocodile Dundee, with a hashtag demanding another movie trending on Twitter.
It’s unclear if the social media pressure will actually result in another film, but at least in the meantime, we have Crocodile Dundee adverts that also feature Chris Hemsworth and Danny McBride.
2. He’s a self-confessed “bad husband”
Paul Hogan has had his fair share of relationship drama over the years – and, unfortunately, much of it has played out in the tabloids.
Hogan has even threatened to “cave heads” when it comes to newspaper editors like Rupert Murdoch, specifically due to their treatment of his second wife.
With that said, Hogan has also admitted to being a “pretty bad husband,” but for completely different reasons to criticisms leveled in the press.
Instead, Hogan claims to be a bad husband because of his tendency to act like a “hermit” and do everything alone.
Hogan admitted in an interview that he prefers to go for long walks alone, as well as fishing and hiking alone to boot.
All of those solitary hobbies means that he apparently has a tendency to disappear, which doesn’t make him the best husband around.
1. He’s done some pretty hilarious advertising work
Before Crocodile Dundee made Paul Hogan a household name, he already had a fair amount of cultural capital in the UK.
Some people in Britain knew him because they were fans of The Paul Hogan Show, but many more knew him for his advertising work.
First off, Paul Hogan had appeared in a series of print advertisements for Winfield cigarettes with the catchphrase “anyhow, have a Winfield”.
Hogan also ran a series of print and television adverts for Foster’s beer, which made him a recognisable face in almost all British households.
The Foster’s adverts all hinged on hilarious Australian misunderstandings of British culture and questions, and they were hugely successful. One advert had a tourist ask Hogan if he knew the way to Cockfosters, with Hogan looking bemused and replying “drink it warm, mate”.