Dieter Brummer - who starred as Shane Parrish from 1992 to 1996 - was found dead at his home over the weekend. He was forty-five.
Like I always point out in these posts, Home and Away is my favourite soap opera. The period when Brummer played the role of Shane was at a time when I had a shift of loyalty from Neighbours to Home and Away.
Thinking back to that time, Home and Away certainly was winning the Aussie soap battle with characters like Shane and his partner - Angel (Melissa George). I vividly recall my sister's teenage girl mags having Shane and Angel on the cover back then. I even remember the row of mags in the newsagent's shop I worked at with Brummer plastered on title after title. It seemed like there was no room for any other Aussie soap star back then.
In 1995 or 1996, I cannot remember how I found out, but I learned that Brummer was leaving the series. I didn't know how he was going to be written out, but what I remember from the time is Shane had a motorbike accident and I thought to myself 'ah, they're killing off Shane'.
Shane survived the accident after his spleen was removed, so I assumed Brummer was going to leave without his character dying.
How wrong was I?
I cannot recall how long it was after bike accident, but it was at least a few episodes later, Shane was on a picnic with Angel and her son, Dylan when Brummer's character began to feel unwell.
I missed the build up to that part. I walked into my living room and saw Shane unconscious, laying on a rock, with Angel trying to help her husband as other people at the picnic site tried to assist both of them.
It turned out that Shane had caught septicemia and the lack of a spleen turned out fatal.
The scenes following the death still remain with me as it showed most of Summer Bay's community finding out about Shane's passing. It was powerfully moving. And memorable. Especially when you consider that I'm recounting something that aired on my television twenty-five or twenty-four years ago depending on how far ahead the Aussie broadcasts were to us in the UK.
I recall Brummer popping up in Neighbours within the last few years. It was long after his stint as Shane. Seeing him again brought me back to that time of him on the covers of the magazines. That's how I would gauge how popular an actor - or their character - was back then.
Brummer, with the help of Shane Parrish, was a star.