JON BLAKE: He coulda been a contender

SOURCE: http://bajaclub.homestead.com/jonblake.html

(extracted from the BAJA BOYS PAGE website, & lightly edited by Paul Contempree)

By Karina…

Unlike the other Baja boys, I have made this page a little more informative, mainly because there isn’t an existing dedicated webpage on Jon. I built one on my libranmonkey site some time back to share picks of Jon with some friends but on this one I have put as much info as possible. There are a few pics so wait for them to download, plus articles from over the years incl. scanned copies.

Jon Blake was born Paul Blake in New Zealand in 1958 and moved to Australia with his parents when he was 13. He spent much of the 80’s being touted as the next contender for Mel Gibson’s chair, there was even mention of a new Mad Max movie in the works.

{ IN ORDER TO ACCESS THE ARTICLES BELOW, CLICK ON THE FOLLOWING LINK;

http://bajaclub.homestead.com/jonblake.html

THIS WILL TAKE YOU TO THE ‘BAJA BOYS PAGE’ WEBSITE.

ARTICLES ON JON:
Links to scanned articles: (large – each may take a while to download).
Snippets: A Country Practice 1984, Freedom, Cleo Bachelor 1986
Snippets: News articles re accident. 1987 and 1995.
Article: Womans Day 23/12/85, one page.
Article: Womans Weekly June 1987, three pages.
Article: New Idea 3/11/1990, two pages.
Article: Womans Day 12/2/96, two pages

Below – typed news articles: UPDATED 2007: Articles and photos relating to Mascots passing – CLICK HERE. }

ACTOR ‘SEEMED DEAD’
By: ANABEL DEAN
6/09/1994
Sydney Morning Herald

A make-up artist on the set of The Lighthorsemen told the Supreme Court yesterday how she kept the actor Jon Blake breathing after a serious car accident on the last day of filming.
Mrs Angela Conte-Langman said she found Mr Blake in the driver’s seat with his head slumped forward. At first he appeared dead but she lifted up his head and held it in a position to make sure he kept breathing.
The Lighthorsemen was the final film made by Mr Blake, who was permanently brain damaged in a car accident south of Port Augusta in December 1986.
Mr Blake’s damages claim, now being heard by Justice Hulme, alleges negligence by the owner of a car Mr Blake had swerved to avoid before running into the back of another vehicle.
Mrs Conte-Langman told the court she had made weekly visits to Mr Blake in hospital for eight months after the crash.
She often gave him face massages and tended his hair as she did on the film set. She witnessed his responses: his clenched fists; his eyes following the words on the page when she read him the newspaper; his face tightening; and his hand squeezing. She said she saw Mr Blake cry and noticed he would fall asleep if he got bored with visitors.
Dr Edward Freeman, a Mona Vale medical practitioner, said Mrs Conte-Langman’s evidence was significant. Mr Blake showed indications of awareness and he should not be placed in an institution.
The hearing continues.

SYDNEY ACTOR IDEAL FOR MAD MAX TV SERIES, COURT TOLD
By ANABEL DEAN
13/09/1994
Sydney Morning Herald

The Academy Award nominee George Miller and film producer Hal McElroy appeared in at the Supreme Court yesterday to give evidence about the special star quality of Jon Blake.
Mr Blake, the Sydney actor described as “the new Mel Gibson”, was permanently brain damaged in a car accident in South Australia on the last day of filming The Lighthorsemen, in December 1986.
Dr Miller, the director who launched the film careers of Mel Gibson and Nicole Kidman, said he had Mr Blake in mind to play the Mad Max character for a television series he was planning.
When he heard of Mr Blake’s injuries, he thought: “My God, I hope he recovers, because I still want to make the Mad Max TV series, and there was no-one else in my mind.”
The NBC network went on to make “a hybrid Mad Max” series called Knight Rider with an actor now starring in Baywatch, purportedly the most watched television program in the world.
“(The Knight Rider star) had a career that went on as a result of that series,” Dr Miller said. “I don’t think he’s a particularly good actor but there’s no doubt he made a lot of money.”
Dr Miller, who was nominated for best screenplay for Lorenzo’s Oil, said Mr Blake had star charisma as a leading man.
He said he was interested in Mr Blake’s development from “a callow youth”in The Restless Years through to his last film.
He noted that Mr Blake had stolen the scene on one occasion from a substantial international star and was able to draw attention with subtle mannerisms.
Dr Miller said Mr Blake had revealed strong charisma in the way he moved, particularly in a scene in the television series Patrol Boat, shooting at a shark with a rifle.
“Plenty of major American stars who can’t act at all have made very substantial careers out of holding a gun,” he said. “I don’t think anybody can say Sylvester Stallone has really been able to achieve great acting.”
He told the judge that female actors tended to have “a shorter shelf life”than males because their sexual charisma was thought to decline after they lost their initial bloom of beauty. “That’s the rather cruel Darwinian world of Hollywood,” he said.
Mr McElroy said he, too, had recognised rare star quality when Mr Blake did a screen test for The Last Frontier in 1985, although he was too young to play the part.
Mr McElroy’s intuition was backed by American network executives who agreed Mr Blake was “an astonishing young man”.
“I’ve seen it in everything he has done: star quality. I think he’s talented, and I still see it in his face since the accident, that there is something happening there that’s extraordinary and irresistible … to an audience,” Mr McElroy said.
Mr Blake’s claim, being heard by Justice Hulme, alleges negligence by Mr Walter Norris, the owner of a car Mr Blake had swerved to avoid before running into the back of another vehicle.
At the time, Mr McElroy said, he believed Mr Blake would have a 60 to 70 per cent chance of reaching considerable success as an actor in the US(earning $1 million to $2 million a movie) and a 30 per cent chance of reaching the superstar bracket.
Mr McElroy said Mr Blake was a very determined, ambitious and intelligent young man with “extraordinarily good looks” – prerequisites to achieving superstardom.
He was like “the smouldering stranger down the street”, blessed with mysterious qualities that female audiences found attractive and male audiences found admirable without being threatened, the court heard.
The case is continuing.

COURT TOLD OF ACTOR’S DEDICATION
By ANABEL DEAN
20/09/1994 Sydney Morning Herald

An actor turned barrister told the Supreme Court yesterday how the actor Jon Blake had been a loner, a man who “marched to his own drum”, but whose film work was thoroughly professional. Mr Tim McKenzie, whose film and television work includes Gallipoli, Police Rescue and Come in Spinner – said Mr Blake was extremely dedicated to his job.
Mr McKenzie said that when cast in The Lighthorsemen together, “without fail, when working with him, he hit his marks and said his lines probably on take one every time”. Mr Blake’s reputation among the other actors, such as Gary Sweet and Peter Phelps, was as someone “who possibly was not a team player but one who would invariably do the best job in the scene that could be done”. “He was also, by reputation, a man who wasn’t clubby, marched to his own drum and contributed to the scenes we were in together in a very personal and unexpected way.” Mr Blake was “a beautiful man … he had a grace about his movements and a style in whatever he did which was hard to describe”,
Mr McKenzie said. Mr Blake, 35, is seeking damages from a South Australian motorist, Mr Walter Norris, after he was severely injured in a car accident on the last day of filming The Lighthorsemen. Mr McKenzie, 34, said he had seen Mr Blake on the night of the accident, in December 1986, but he did not appear to have been drinking. “He wasn’t much of a drinker,” he told Justice Hulme. Since the accident, which left Mr Blake with permanent brain damage, Mr McKenzie had visited him several times. At one stage, “Jon was in bed with his eyes open and making noises while we were there which sounded guttural and sounded like he was trying to talk to us… it seemed as if he was looking straight at us,” he said. Mr McKenzie said his opinion had not been coloured by his wish that Mr Blake should respond. “When you see it, it’s uncanny,” he said. The hearing continues today.

ACTOR ‘BRAIN DEAD FOR 8 YEARS’
By ANABEL DEAN
13/10/1994
Sydney Morning Herald

Jon Blake, the actor once described as “the new Mel Gibson”, suffered brain death at the time of the car crash that ended his career eight years ago, the Supreme Court was told yesterday.
Professor James Lance, professor of neurology at University of NSW, also said he did not think Mr Blake exhibited any cognitive function, and any chance of awareness was “remote”.
Mr Blake, 35, has been under care 24 hours a day at his mother’s home in Castlecrag since the accident on December 1, 1986. The costs are said to have totalled $1.4 million.
Mr Blake’s damages claim alleges negligence by the owner of a car he had swerved to avoid before running into the back of another vehicle. The accident happened near Port Augusta, South Australia, on the last day of filming The Lighthorsemen.
Professor Lance concluded that Mr Blake was in a persistent vegetative state and would have a shortened lifespan. He said there was no economic justification for continuing the high level of care, adding that he would be reluctant to recommend that care be abandoned, in view of the emotional impact on Mr Blake’s mother.
Mr Blake’s care had been impeccable, he said. However, “a lower level of care would be sufficient under the circumstances”.

“This is an eternal dilemma …,” he said. “It’s a matter for the individual, for anyone concerned with him, to appreciate that there will not be recovery, that eventually death will occur, and would perhaps even be the desirable outcome for all concerned.”
Mrs Mascot Blake, 70, said she had heard her son speak and fully believed he was aware. She said she regularly engaged in meaningful eye contact. “I’ve heard him say ‘Mum’ … I always know when I have my son’s full attention, inconsistent though it may have been.”
She agreed that there had been a significant turnover in carers over the years. But she said she had been supplied with “drug addicts” and “thieves”and had always wanted “triple-star care”.
She told the court she had bitterly resented proceedings brought earlier this year by the protective commissioner to have a public guardian appointed over her son.
The hearing continues today.

$10m for a brilliant career that never was.
By ANABEL DEAN
06/12/1995
Sydney Morning Herald

Jon Blake, the 36-year-old actor once described as “the new Mel Gibson”, will receive a record damages payout well in excess of $10 million for severe brain injury received in a car accident nine years ago. In the Supreme Court yesterday, Justice Hulme found Mr Blake had the potential to become an international superstar like Mel Gibson, but it was more likely that he would have achieved the same level of stardom as Nicole Kidman.
His career was tragically shortened after an accident near Port Augusta on December 1, 1986 – the last day of filming The Lighthorsemen – which left him with grievous brain damage and almost complete paraplegia.
The judge found that Mr Blake was not in a persistent vegetative state, but had “a limited degree of awareness”. He said Mr Blake, whose life expectation is about 20 years, should continue to be cared for by his mother at her Castlecrag home. “There was evidence that (Mr Blake) can see, hear, distinguish between television programs and the content of books read to him, and can express likes and dislikes by … blinking and movement of the right thumb, and possibly the right foot,” the judge said.
Justice Hulme found Mr Blake, who played a major role in ANZACS, had a 15 per cent chance of achieving superstardom and a 35 per cent chance of considerable success. He had a 25 per cent chance of moderate success. “(Mr Blake) was a talented actor who had a rare charisma or ‘star quality’ … he would have endeavoured and persisted in an endeavour to succeed in the United States industry. The probability is that his talent would have been recognised there.”
It was not established that Mr Blake was affected by alcohol at the time of the crash but he had been guilty of contributory negligence. He had probably been travelling at a high, but not illegal, speed when he swerved around a car that was stopped, with its lights out, on the wrong side of the road.
The driver of this car, Mr Walter Norris, admitted liability. Mr Blake collided with a utility parked further along the road which had been preparing to turn back and investigate why the first vehicle had stopped.
Mrs Mascot Blake, 71, gave up her career with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra to look after Jon, her only son, and is helped by friends, relatives, and professional carers. She sued for damages for nervous shock, depression and anxiety as a result of her son’s injuries but her claim was yesterday rejected. The judge will fix a final figure for damages on Friday.

Crippled actor awarded $32m despite drunken video claim.
By ANABEL DEAN
12/12/1995
Sydney Morning Herald

The existence of a videotape allegedly showing the actor Jon Blake drunk shortly before he was involved in a crippling car accident was disclosed in the Supreme Court yesterday moments before he was awarded $31.8 million damages.
The award, made by Justice Hulme to the man billed as the next Mel Gibson, was Australia’s highest damages payout.
However, the judge refused the last-minute application to defer judgment and suggested that the videotape could be tested as new evidence at an appeal.
“Given the passage of time to date – eight years since the accident, six years since the case started, and 12 months since it was heard – I do not believe it would be appropriate for me to grant the application,” he said.
Mr Clifton Hoeben, QC, for the State Government Insurance Commission of South Australia (SGIC), had told the court that a man called John Adams had just notified his client of the existence of the videotape.
It was allegedly taken on December 1, 1986, during the “wrap” party to celebrate the last day of filming of The Lighthorsemen, in which Mr Blake had a starring role.
Mr Hoeben told the court the tape allegedly showed Mr Blake being restrained from getting into his car, and apparently indicated that he was drunk.
“We do not know if (the video) exists or if (the man) has access to the video, if he has first-hand knowledge of it or if he has simply heard about it,” Mr Hoeben said.
Last week, Justice Hulme said Mr Blake had not drunk enough alcohol to affect his ability to drive, nor had alcohol contributed to the accident.
There may have been a mistake with a blood-alcohol certificate and a reading of .123 may not relate to Mr Blake.
Mr Blake had, however, been guilty of 25 per cent contributory negligence and had probably been driving at a high speed when he swerved around a car that had stopped, with its lights out, on the wrong side of the road near Port Augusta.
His car had then crashed into a utility parked further along the road which was preparing to turn back and investigate why the first vehicle had stopped.
Mr Blake, 36, who has limited awareness and has almost complete quadriplegia, will receive only $5 million of the payout until an appeal is heard.
The SGIC has said it will appeal against the judgment.
Mr Blake was awarded $31,284,041, more than $29 million of it for future economic loss since he was found to have had the potential to be a “superstar” like Mel Gibson.
Justice Hulme found that Mr Blake had had a 15 per cent chance of superstardom and a 35 per cent chance of considerable success. He had had a 25 per cent chance of moderate success.

What money can’t buy
By Mark Coultan
20/12/1995
Sydney Morning Herald

The controversial $31.8 million payout to former actor Jon Blake has angered the disabled community and raised questions about the current system. Last week, the Supreme Court of NSW made Jon Blake Australia’s best paid former actor. He was awarded an Australian record damages payout of $31.8 million for the injuries he sustained in a car accident in 1986. This compensation puts the 36-year-old somewhat below Paul Hogan and Mel Gibson in the wealth rankings of Australian actors, but just outside the top 200 wealthiest individuals in the country.
Blake will never be able to spend this large sum of money, far less enjoy it. The accident left him a quadriplegic and severely brain damaged. He has only limited awareness, able on occasions to blink, or move his thumb or foot. He needs constant care, and will for the rest of his life.
What distinguished this judgment from that of others who have been severely disabled by accidents is that Jon Blake, the court found, had a glittering film career ahead of him. The court awarded him $29 million as compensation for loss of future earnings.
A handsome man with a promising career, he could have been another Mel Gibson (whose worth is about $50 million, according to BRW magazine). The court heard evidence from director Dr George Miller, producer Hal McElroy, critic David Stratton, and actor Peter Phelps about Blake’s potential. Miller said Blake had charisma, or “factor X”. McElroy said he was “destined for stardom”.
The judge finally put the chances of Blake becoming a “superstar” at 15 per cent, and of being a “considerable success” (in which category Nicole Kidman was placed), at 35 per cent. Justice Hulme’s judgment, which is at least four times larger than any other in Australian legal history, will have to survive an appeal. In the meantime, it has sparked outrage and concern among disabled groups, the insurance industry and the legal profession.
Although there is nothing particularly unusual about the reasoning behind the judgment, the large amount of money involved has brought into the spotlight the (necessarily) speculative methodology used to calculate such sums, and the uncertainty inherent in them. For example, under cross-examination, Hal McElroy agreed that his prediction of success for Blake was based on several assumptions. These included that Blake could develop an accent acceptable in the United States; that he would be happy there; that he would not object to playing stereotype roles; that he would maintain his good looks; that he would not develop destructive vices such as liquor or drugs; and that he would be involved in a successful vehicle to enable him to transfer from the Australian to the American cinema.
In assessing Blake’s chances of pursuing a successful career, the judge applied a 15 per cent discount for the “vicissitudes of life”. These included the chances of him following a different career path or becoming an alcoholic. The judge, perhaps mindful of the reaction that such an enormous award would cause, added a footnote to his judgment. “The quantification of the plaintiff’s damages has been arrived at by applying principles long established for the assessment of damages to a case where the injured plaintiff had a potential to earn vast sums of money – a potential of which, by the defendant’s negligence, he has been deprived.
The presence of some such persons in the community is no doubt something every competent insurer will have factored into premiums.” WHILE people in the insurance industry have been shocked by the size of the judgment, they are not getting carried away by it. Not yet anyway. However, they have warned that similar sized judgments have the potential to increase insurance premiums. The executive manager of the Insurance Council of Australia, Terry McMullan, says that reinsurers, mostly overseas companies, would view the huge payment with concern. (Reinsurers carry part of the risk of insurance companies, effectively cushioning the blow of large claims on individual insurance companies.)
Mr McMullan says: “In Australia we have a very small population, and we do rely heavily on the reinsurance market worldwide.” However, he cautioned that the judgment was a one-off, subject to appeal, which on its own would have few consequences. The president of the Law Society of NSW, Maurie Stack, agrees that the judgment is unusual. He says it is rare for anyone with such high potential earnings to be involved in such an accident.
IN the disabled community, there is anger at the Blake judgment, which highlights the inequities in compensation to people with catastrophic injuries. Blake was awarded so much money because he was able to sue someone – in his case, the driver of the other car involved in his accident. Last-minute assertions that he was drunk were dismissed by Justice Hulme, but the compensation payment included a 25 per cent discount for contributory negligence. Others are not so lucky. If the accident is your fault, you are reduced to being a social security recipient. The other issue that Blake’s compensation award raises is the appropriateness of lump-sum payments.
Dr John Yeo, who has treated many victims of catastrophic accidents in his role as a consultant to the spinal unit at Royal North Shore Hospital, believes that the Blake judgment highlights the need for the introduction of “structured settlements” – where the victim receives payments over the period of his or her life. Dr Yeo is worried that such enormous sums of money will cause a backlash, with attempts to reduce the costs. “Indeed, that’s what they are trying to do with workers’ compensation at the moment,” he says. “What we are trying to do is protect disabled people, their families and at the same time protect the community, because ultimately it’s the community which shares the cost. “If you create discussion in this area, you’ve got to be very careful that you don’t create an atmosphere where people will say: ‘These disabled people are getting more than they deserve.’ ” He says that one of the big difficulties with lump-sum payments is that the judge has to make a decision about how long the individual is going to live, based on medical evidence. “One thing for sure is that for a particular individual, we are going to be wrong. We are going to be too long or short.” Dr Yeo says the compensation can be structured so that enough money is awarded up front to set up the person, and then payments made, say, every three years. “It’s too open-ended an arrangement at the moment. I’ve had patients who had difficulty in maintaining a standard of living, and have had to go back on the pension when the moneyshave run out,” he says. “I’ve had a patient, at least one, and there may be others, who have obviously misused the funds and had to go back on a pension.” Wendy Harris, a quadriplegic who received a lump sum in 1973, fully supports moving away from the big one-off lump sums. “I know a stack of people who have been awarded lump sums who are now wholly and solely dependent on the government welfare system. Some people have blown it; others have made unwise choices where to invest it. “It’s a huge amount of money that they, more than likely, would not have seen in their lifetime, except for their disability.” She says the money is “just a constant headache”, worrying about where to invest it and whether interest rates are going to fall, thus lessening income. One factor against structured settlements is that they are taxed more severely than lump sums. Dr Yeo says this is a challenge for government and the insurance industry. The Insurance Council’s Terry McMullan says the industry supports structured settlements, which would look after victims’ needs over their life, instead of one-off lump-sum payments. He agrees that there have been examples of lump-sum payments which have left victims wanting years after the judgment. “You are going to have to make up our mind if the duty of society is to actually look after a person who has been injured and rehabilitate them, or look after them to the best of our ability, or whether we are going to compensate them for loss of amenity and loss of enjoyment of life and whether we can afford it. “If this kind of settlement is a one-off, we should disregard it. If it’s a trend, then Australians are going to have to make up their mind how much they want to pay for their insurance.”

Alcohol ruling set to cut actor’s $35m payout
By ANABEL DEAN
08/10/1996
Sydney Morning Herald

The record $34.9 million damages payout awarded to Jon Blake, the actor once described as “the new Mel Gibson”, is almost certain to be reduced after a ruling in the Court of Appeal yesterday.
In a unanimous decision, the fledgling star was found to have been significantly affected by alcohol on the night of the car accident, which ended his career in December 1986.
The judgment has the effect of reducing the award to $29.8 million, but only if he succeeds in fighting the second part of an appeal on the damages figure.
Mr Blake suffered grave injuries when he was involved in a crash near Port Augusta, in South Australia, on the last day of filming The Lighthorsemen. The accident left him a severely brain-damaged quadriplegic.
Last year’s Supreme Court trial judge, Justice Hulme, awarded him $45,925,725 but ordered that the figure be reduced by 25 per cent because of the actor’s contributory negligence in driving too fast.
The Court of Appeal has now overturned this earlier decision and ruled that Mr Blake was 35 per cent responsible for the crash.
“The consequence is that not only has it been shown that (Mr Blake) drove his vehicle negligently but that he did so while he was under the influence of alcohol to a significant degree,” the court ruled.
Hospital tests after the accident revealed a blood/alcohol reading of 0.123 grams per 100 millilitres, but Justice Hulme was not persuaded that the certificate related to Mr Blake.
Yesterday, the Appeal Court ruled that the certificate belonged to Mr Blake, and that it recorded his blood/alcohol reading at the relevant time. Omissions and mistakes in the hospital records had shown a laxity in record taking but they did not “reflect in any significant way upon the accuracy of the certificate or the likelihood that the bottles contained the right labels”.
Mr Blake had been driving around a sweeping bend about 11.30 pm when he ran into a car which was stopped on the wrong side of the road with its lights out.
The driver of the car, a South Australian motorist, Walter Thomas Norris, admitted liability but appealed against the apportionment and the assessment of Mr Blake’s damages.
The final amount of damages will be decided following an appeal beginning on November 6.

Actor’s $33m damages cut
By ANABEL DEAN
12/02/1997
Sydney Morning Herald

The record $33 million compensation awarded to Jon Blake, the crippled actor once described as “the new Mel Gibson”, has been overturned in the NSW Court of Appeal and is expected to be cut to about $9 million.
The court will confirm the final amount this afternoon.
Mr Blake, 38, was awarded Australia’s highest damages payout after a car accident on the last day of filming The Lighthorsemen, in December 1986, left him severely brain-damaged and quadriplegic.
The State Government Insurance Commission of South Australia claimed the assessment of damages for loss of earning capacity was grossly excessive and flawed.
Yesterday, the Court of Appeal ruled that the trial judge, Justice Hulme, had used a “fundamentally erroneous” method to calculate $33,384,041.
He had accepted there were four possible career paths with varying levels of success in Australia and the United States. It was calculated that Mr Blake had a 15 per cent chance of following in the footsteps of Mel Gibson and attaining superstar status, a 35 per cent chance of considerable success in Hollywood, a 25 per cent chance of moderate success, and a 25 per cent chance of remaining in Australia to pursue acting.
Justice Clarke, presiding on the Appeal Court, said the possibilities were infinite and the calculation method had failed to take into account that Mr Blake might have disliked Hollywood, or preferred stage acting, or been unsuccessful in the United States or disliked the lifestyle of a film actor.
The chance that Mr Blake “would be the one among a great many to become a superstar was so speculative that it is impossible to assess”.

Appeal court slashes actor’s compensation to $7 million
By LOUISE MARTIN
Sydney Morning Herald/The Age
13/02/1997

The $33.3 million compensation payment to the actor Jon Blake was yesterday reduced to $7.67 million by the New South Wales Court of Appeal.
Blake was awarded the payment when a car crash on the last day of the filming of The Lighthorsemen in 1986 left him severely brain damaged and a quadriplegic.
The State Government Insurance Commission of South Australia said the assessment of damages for loss of earning capacity was excessive and flawed. The Court of Appeal ruled the Supreme Court judge Justice Robert Hulme had used an erroneous method to calculate the payment.
Justice Hulme had said Blake had a 15 per cent chance of attaining superstar status and a 35 per cent chance of considerable success in Hollywood.
Justice Clarke of the NSW Appeal Court said the chance that Blake “would be the one among a great many to become a superstar was so speculative that it was impossible to assess”. — with Sydney Morning Herald

Blake, his mum and his mates.
By BRETT THOMAS
16/02/1997
Sun Herald

JON Blake wasn’t at the court hearing that changed his life last week.
Like every other day since his release from an Adelaide hospital in 1987, he was at the Castlecrag home of his devoted mother, Mascot , while an Appeals Court judge decided on the $33 million compensation awarded to Blake, 38, in 1995.
Blake, who was left severely brain damaged when his car crashed after the wrap-up party for his last movie, The Lighthorsemen, in 1986, can move his legs and, with the help of a speech therapist, says his mother, is trying to talk.
“He’s good,” Mrs Blake said. “He’s down on the floor having a kick and trying terrifically hard to talk. He’s getting there but we don’t have the facilities in this country for the type of specialised things he needs.”
Mrs Blake, hinting that further legal action could be ahead, would not comment on Justice Clarke’s decision to slash the compensation payout by $22 million but friends and colleagues were perplexed by the dramatic turnaround.
“It’s a great pity and a big disappointment,” said producer Hal McElroy, who was one of many in the movie and television industries who gave testimonials on Blake’s talent at the original compensation hearing.
“For a start he had to wait something like nine years for the first decision after suffering tremendously traumatic injuries. It seems extraordinary that the first decision was perceived to be so wrong – this is a significant reduction.”
Actor and author Peter Phelps reckoned his mate wouldn’t have even cared about the money.
“Jon just wanted to act,” said Phelps, who starred with the one-time up-and-coming young star in the fateful The Lighthorsemen. “Even if he got $100 million, I’m sure I’d know what he’d really want – he’d like to keep working in the acting profession.”
Blake was once confidently described by peers and a Supreme Court judge as “the next Mel Gibson”.
But last week’s decision by Justice Clarke – in which future earnings originally based on a stellar, Gibson-like career were amended to those of one of Blake’s Lighthorsemen co-stars.
Now Blake will be known as the actor who might have been the next Gary Sweet or the next Peter Phelps.
One of those men is Actor C, the unidentified young performer whose career path following that film was used as the basis for Justice Clarke’s new ruling in the Appeals Court.
The most likely candidate is Sweet, now Australia’s biggest male television star. According to Business Review Weeklymagazine, Sweet, starring in Channel 10’s new series Big Sky, earned $700,000 in 1995. That’s a great salary by Australian standards but pales into insignificance behind Gibson’s estimated earnings for the same year of $16 million.
Sweet would not comment. A spokeswoman said, however: “Gary Sweet is not Actor C.”

60 Minutes – Channel 9.
The Fight Of His Life: Jon Blake’s Battle
September 19, 1999
Reporter – Jeff McMullen.
Producers – Andrew Corbett-Jones, Cliff Neville.

Jon Blake was once the rising star of Australian film with a career ahead of him so promising that a court awarded him $32 million damages for the car accident that left him brain damaged and paralysed.An appeal reduced that to $7 million %4 still enough, you might think, for Jon Blake to continue receiving the medical care he needs.Not so. As his mother, Mascot, reveals to Jeff McMullen, legal fees as well as bureaucratic and medical costs have whittled away Blake’s nest-egg to the extent there’s only enough to last him the next eight years.She tells of her 13-year battle with bureaucracy to manage her son’s care – a battle she says she is fighting for the hundreds of others who are in dispute with an all-powerful but little known government agency called the Office of the Protective Commissioner.

Film star’s court costs `scandalous’.
By Ben Hills
Sydney Morning Herald
09/09/2000

Last month came the good news. Mrs Mascot Blake was cautiously celebrating her victory in a six-year tug-of-war with the NSW guardianship authorities for the right to care for her terribly injured son, the former movie star Jon Blake.
This week she was devastated to learn that most of the costs of the Supreme Court case, estimated at $750,000, would have to be paid out of Jon’s estate, originally an $8 million damages award which has now dwindled to less than half that.
“I think it is absolutely scandalous that I should have to battle these people all these years, and then when I win, the court should take the money out of his estate, all he has to support him for the rest of his life,” Mrs Blake said.
Jon, now aged 40, has been lying severely brain-damaged and quadriplegic in specially built quarters under their home in Castlecrag for 14 years. He needs 24-hour-a-day nursing, which costs about $6,000 a week.
Jon, once hailed as “the next Mel Gibson”, was injured when his car crashed near Port Augusta.
Ever since Blake was awarded an Australian record $33 million damages in 1995 (it was reduced on appeal), NSW guardianship authorities have taken control of his finances, and have been trying to remove him from his mother’s home. In a series of bitterly fought cases, Mrs Blake, a feisty 74-year-old, has won guardianship of her son, and in August Supreme Court Justice David Hodgson ordered his financial affairs to be taken out of the hands of the Office of the Protective Commissioner and managed by the Perpetual Trustee Company.
However, this week Justice Hodgson ruled that Jon Blake should pay all the costs of the case, apart from those incurred since last August when the office ignored a settlement offer.
This will mean that of the $9.5 million Blake received ($8 million plus interest) five years ago, more than half has been spent.

By 26 he had appeared in Australian TV soaps (The Restless Years, 1977, A country Practice 1984), mini series (Boy in the Bush 1984, Anzacs 1985), telemovies (he played the young Slim Dusty in 1984) and films, including the big World War One movie, The Light Horsemen which was set to launch him onto the hunk hungry American market.

My personal faves were Cool Change, Freedom and Running For The Guns.

The blue eyed, black haired young hunk had the world at his feet. Cleo Magazine named him one of 1986’s most eligible bachelors.

December 1st 1986 saw the final day of filming of the Lighthorsemen in the South Australian desert and Jon decided to drive home. Several cars took off in a convoy. Not long into the journey an oncoming car swerved into the path of Jons vehicle. He swerved to avoid it and smashed into a car parked on the side off the road. The directors of the movie were told not to expect Jon to live thru the night.
His injurys left him with just a graze on his cheek, the internal injuries, fractured bones at the base of his skull, told the full story. He was in a coma for many weeks and when he awoke he was only able to communicate via the blinking of his eyes.
His elderly mother, Mascot, his sole carer, had to fight for custody of him. 9 years after the accident – in Dec 1995, the courts awarded him 31.8mil for damages and future earnings. This was later reduced on appeal to 7.6 mil in February 1997.

Alan Jones radio transcript 2GB.
Jon Blake
22 May 2007

What a terrible story about Jon Blake.
It’s well presented in today’s Daily Telegraph.
This is the young man tipped to be the next Mel Gibson before an horrific car crash.
And now Jon Blake is almost totally paralysed, severe brain damage.
In the 21 years since 1986 when he was injured just hours after finishing filming The Lighthorseman, Jon Blake’s mother never left her son’s side at her Castlecrag home.
Never.
Jon Blake’s son Dustin, a gentle 28 year old who calls his father by his first name said yesterday of his grandmother “She never stopped worrying about
Paul” (Dustin, the son, calls his father by his first name Paul, not Jon).
“She never stopped worrying about Paul and just wanted the best for him. She was just a great person. I loved her so much … I’ve got to step in and
do what I can for him. She always had the best intentions for my father. She did all she could and then some.
“I offered to help as much as I could and now I’d like to do as much as I can.”
Isn’t this awful.
82 years of age, the mother Mascot Blake, died last week.
Her funeral was yesterday.
Jon Blake got a 10 million dollar payout in 1996.
The mother used the money to employ nurses at her Castlecrag home in her round the clock effort to care for her son.
Can you imagine all of that?
And she fought the bureaucracy and everybody who got in her way.
Jon Blake arrived yesterday at the chapel at Macquarie Park, North Ryde and was wheeled inside flanked by nurses and his son.
Mascot Blake was an accomplished musician.
She was once the first violinist for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.
But what a wonderful, wonderful woman.
Friends are quoted today as saying her strength and determination had not diminished with age.
She recently had a broken hip and Dustin, the 28 year old son of Jon Blake said he’d like to hear stories about his grandmother’s life from friends who might not have heard about her death.
Goodness me.
As I often say, the fortunes of this life are not always distributed by choice.

Herald Sun
Tributes for Jon Blake’s Mum.
By Gemma Jones
May 22, 2007

JON Blake’s devoted son has vowed to become his carer and protector after the death of the former promising actor’s mother, who spent 21 years by his side.

Looking frail and gaunt, Blake, who was tipped to be the next Mel Gibson before a horrific car crash ended his career, yesterday arrived at his mother Mascot’s funeral on a stretcher.

Blake’s only child Dustin, who calls his father by his first name Paul, yesterday said he would take over his care from his remarkable grandmother.

Dustin paid tribute to her saying she had lovingly cared for Blake despite bureaucrats who had tried to wrest guardianship from her after he had won a huge payout.

The quietly spoken 28-year-old said he knew his father, who is almost totally paralysed and has severe brain damage, was “very upset” yesterday.

Eight nurses were at the funeral service held in North Ryde in Sydney.

In the 21 years since he was injured in 1986 just hours after finishing filming The Lighthorsemen in outback South Australia, Ms Blake never left her son’s side at her Sydney harbourside home in Castlecrag, Dustin said.

“She never stopped worrying about Paul and always wanted the best for him, she was such a great person and I loved her so much,” he said yesterday.

“I have got to step in and do what I can for him. She always had the best intentions for my father, she did all she could and then some.

“I offered to help as much as I could. Now I would like to do as much as I can.”

Mourners were told of the fight the 82-year-old put up against the bureaucrats who took interest in Blake after he won a $10 million payout in 1995.

She complained in 1995 that when the payout was near suddenly the guardianship board intervened in her son’s care.

Ms Blake used the money to employ nurses in her round-the-clock effort to care for Blake.

Disabled actor farewells mum.
Daily Telegraph
May 22, 2007

ACTOR Jon Blake’s devoted son yesterday vowed to become his carer and protector following the death of Blake’s mother, who had spent 21 years by her disabled son’s side.
Looking frail and gaunt Blake, who was tipped to be the next Mel Gibson before a horrific car crash, yesterday arrived at his mother Mascot’s funeral
on a stretcher.

Blake’s only child Dustin, who calls his father by his first name Paul, said he would take over his father’s care from his remarkable grandmother.

Dustin paid tribute to Mascot, saying she had lovingly cared for Blake even as bureaucrats tried to wrest guardianship off her after he won a payout.

Dustin – a quietly spoken 28-year-old – said he knew his father, who is almost totally paralysed and has severe brain damage, was “very upset”.

Eight nurses were at yesterday’s funeral service.

In the 21 years since 1986, when he was injured just hours after finishing filming The Light Horsemen, Ms Blake never left her son’s side at her Castlecrag home.

“She never stopped worrying about Paul and always wanted the best for him. She was such a great person and I loved her so much,” Dustin told The Daily Telegraph yesterday.

“I have got to step in and do what I can for him. She always had the best intentions for my father – she did all she could and then some. I offered to help as much as I could. Now I would like to do as much as I can.”

Mourners were told of the valiant fight the 82-year-old put up against the bureaucrats who took interest in Blake after he won a $10 million payout in 1995.

She had complained in that year of the Guardianship Board suddenly intervening in her son’s care when the payout was near.

Ms Blake used the money to employ nurses at her Castlecrag home in her round-the-clock effort to care for Blake, who is expected to die within a decade.

“In 1986 Mascot rushed to be by his side. She’s been by his side ever since,” family friend Peter Kennedy told mourners.

“Mascot waged a battle against bureaucracy in which she showed enormous courage and dedication to succeed against all the odds.”

Yesterday mourners waited outside a chapel at Macquarie Park, North Ryde, until Blake arrived and was wheeled inside first, flanked by nurses and his son.

His mother was an accomplished musician and was first violinist for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Friends said her strength and determination had not diminished with age but she was recently slowed by a broken hip.

Dustin said he would like to hear stories about his grandmother’s life from friends who might not have heard about her death.

SOURCE: http://bajaclub.homestead.com/jonblake.html

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