1. Simon’s first ‘official’ acting appearance came in 1987, a year after he graduated from high school in Ballina, New South Wales.
He appeared inShades of Love: Midnight Magic, a made-for-TV drama aimed at female readers of romance novels.
2. Early in his career he was known as Simon Baker-Denny (his father’s name was Baker and his stepfather’s was Denny).
From around the time he made the Australian TV movie Secret Men’s Business (1999) he has preferred the name Simon Baker.
3. Although his Mentalist character Patrick Jane is less than physically brave, Simon is a fit man who loves to surf and doesn’t shy away from physical roles. In the 1996 Australian TV series Naked he played a rugby player; at the time, he described this role as ‘the best job I’ve had in my life’.
4. Simon likes people to be respectful on the set of The Mentalist – no matter who they are. During the shooting of a scene during a Season 2 episode, the director swore at a female extra who had been placed in the wrong position and was blocking the shot. After seeing this injustice, Baker told the director he wouldn’t continue until an immediate apology was made to the tearful woman.
5. Every actor should make at least one zombie movie, and Simon’s was Land of the Dead (2005). He got to swear profusely, shoot dozens of zombies and escape from numerous near-death situations. And he didn’t even have to wear a three-piece suit.
6. Baker’s small but important role as a struggling actor in the superbly cast movieLA Confidential (1997) finally brought him to the attention of Hollywood, and later led to several supporting roles in US films. Baker looked good in LA Confidential, even as a murder victim.
7. Baker’s favorite shows as a boy were Get Smart and Hill Street Blues. He considers Columbo the greatest TV detective ever.
8. This is an actor who has never taken his professional success for granted, and enjoys being busy. As Simon puts it, “having it all happen at once is much better than nothing happening at all”.
9. Baker’s versatility is not confined to acting: before he made it big in movies he worked as a pub storeman, pizza maker, electrician’s assistant, bricklayer and salesman for time shares. He even spent three months studying to be a nurse.
10. Baker had a leading role in an excellent TV series called Smith, which aired in 2006 and also starred Ray Liotta and Virginia Madsen. Unfortunately, the show was expensive to produce and was cancelled after only a few episodes. If you missed it, there are still some great clips on YouTube.